• Ishvinder Singh

Visa Declined ?

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

Visa Declined

What should you do if your visa application is declined?

A visa application being declined is one of the worst fears come true. Something that is is accompanied by extreme stress and anxiety. Professional advise may help.

Hopefully, the following information would be useful to you

Avoid that last-minute application

With visa applications, like everything else in life, it pays to be well in time. Please allow Immigration enough time for processing. You can check the processing time for most applications on the branch home pages on or you can ask your adviser for an expected time frame.

If your current visa expires while your new visa application is still processing, you will be granted an interim visa. While interim visas keep your status lawful and in some cases allow you to continue working.

It expires 21 days after the day the application is declined or six-months, whichever happens first.

The 21-day timeframe is for you to make arrangements to leave NZ lawfully after that you become unlawful and liable for deportation.

Important lesson

If possible, try and avoid going on an interim visa i.e. apply well in time, so that you get a decision while your current visa is still valid.

  • If your status becomes "unlawful" in NZ. Any further applications that you make have to be made under Section 61 (which has its own set of limitations)

  • That means that you lose the right to apply for a reconsideration of the application by another immigration officer.

What are my options now that my visa application has been declined?

In case of Residence Visas, you may appeal the decision to Immigration and protection tribunal (IPA) there is no right for reconsideration of a residence class visa application.

In case of Temporary class visa applications, you may request INZ for a reconsideration, a reconsideration request can be made in writing within 14 days of the decline decision. Reconsideration means that your case will be looked at by another case officer who may either confirm the original decision or in case there may be an error, may reverse the original decision. It is worthwhile to provide additional evidence or information, though INZ may choose not to consider fresh information.

Tips for reconsideration

  • Please read the decline letter carefully; Immigration would explain the reasons for the decline and also provide a copy of the relevant immigration instructions which may not have been met. Please read them carefully and if you have any doubts or feel that the decision is not right, call immigration right away or see an adviser.

  • Have you explained everything; Think, if there is anything that may not have been explained to the immigration officer and perhaps an important piece of information may be missing?

  • Have you provided all the necessary information? Is there something i.e. a piece of evidence that you have missed, that would have added a substantial amount of weight to your case. Sometimes applicants may be dealing with evolving situations, there may be some information that may have become available that was not a part of the original application or response to immigration officers questions?

  • Seek immigration advice; It pays to check with an immigration adviser. Immigration NZ has a very robust process in place. However, like every system, there is a chance of a human or systemic error. Immigration advisers are trained to read and interpret immigration policy. Your adviser can let you know if the decline decision is in confirmation with policy or otherwise AND based on the merits of the case your immigration adviser may suggest one of the following

What if I am outside the 14-day timeframe or my reconsideration request has been declined?

It is incumbent upon you to leave NZ once your visa application has been declined, however as each case is different, there are some options available, especially in the cases where there are exceptional circumstances or humanitarian issues.

Section 61 Request

A person who is unlawful in NZ lose his / her right to make a normal visa application. However, a person who is unlawful may make a "section 61 request" as long as there is no deportation liability notice against him/her.

Section 61 requests are not like normal visa applications and INZ make decisions under absolute discretion i.e. there is no reason provided for accepting or declining a Section 61 request.

The decision here lies with INZ and they have "absolute discretion" in choosing to accept or decline your request.

IPT Appeals (within 42 days of the decline of the original application OR reconsideration request)

In situations where there may be exceptional circumstances of humanitarian nature, you may choose to make an IPT appeal.

IPT is a highly specialised area and while you may make an appeal yourself, it is a good idea to engage a professional.

Other options

On a case by case basis your immigration professional may advise you to make a complaint to the ombudsman, in cases for example where INZ may have made a significant error and failed to rectify it.

In some situations, ministerial intervention may be warranted.

A visa decline is certainly not a desirable outcome however, should it happen there are ways and avenues that you can explore. It pays to speak with a trained professional and some advisers offer a free initial consultation.


The above information is highly general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.

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