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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 with 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 www.immigration.govt.nz 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 the day the decision on your application is made or 6 months, whichever happens first.

In a situation where you are on an interim visa and your application gets declined, you become unlawful. If possible, avoid going on an interim visa i.e. apply well in time.

The detailed reasons to avoid interim visas (if possible are as follows)

  • If your application is declined while you are on an interim visa, 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.

Alternatively if you get a decline decision while your visa is still current, you may

  • Make use of the reconsideration provision that is available i.e. having your application assessed by another immigration officer.

  • Make an alternative application, either a similar or a different kind.

What if the unexpected happens?

If your visa application does get declined, please go through the following steps

Please read the decline letter carefully – Immigration would explain the reasons for 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 advise – It pays to check with an immigration adviser. Immigration NZ have 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

Reconsideration Request (within 14 days)

Ask another immigration officer to review the decision especially if there is new supporting information or the decision that has been made by the previous immigration officer does not appear to be in line with the policy guidelines. A reconsideration can be done only for temporary (non-resident visa applications) and only if you are in NZ lawfully after the decline of your previous application. You need to be lawful in the country to use this option, though.

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.

Complaints process

If you happen to become unlawful in NZ post the decline of your visa application, your adviser can take help of the client complaint resolution process (CCRP). It is a three stage process and the complaints can be taken to the ombudsman at the highest level. However, the grounds for making use of CCRP needs to be determined by your adviser. CCRP process is available in situations where you are unlawful in the country as well as for Residency applications.

IPT Appeals (within 42 days of becoming unlawful or deportation order)

In case of a declined residency application or where there may be humanitarian considerations , the decision made by INZ can be challenged by making an appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT).

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.


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