Drink Driving & Immigration Law
Updated: Jun 7
The implications of drink driving on a person who is on a visa?
If you are in NZ on any kind of visa including “resident visa” read on…
The first thing to consider is that it is never a good idea to get behind a steering wheel when you are inebriated. However, if you do make the mistake, the implications are very serious.
The requirement to be of good character
A drink driving charge will inevitably lead you to be not meet the good character requirements. It is your obligation to declare your conviction on your visa application, failing to do so will mean “false and misleading information” which is even more harmful, so the first step is to declare all material facts about your case to INZ in your visa application.
My visa is valid for another year, can INZ take action against me for a DUI conviction now?
The minister of immigration can issue a deportation notice to a temporary class visa holder “for cause,” i.e. s157 of the Immigration Act 2009.
During the assessment of your visa/residency application, INZ may send you a letter of concern (PPI letter) advising you that you don’t meet the character requirements and invite your comments and further information before they make a final decision.
A character waiver is a request generally included with your visa application or in response to a PPI letter from INZ as mentioned above. A character waiver request is a highly specialized area, and you should consider engaging a professional.
Senior immigration officers (schedule level 3 or above) make decisions related to character waiver.
The case officer will take into account all the information and assess factors such as your level of offending, any mitigating information around your case, your nexus with NZ, the chances of your being a threat to NZ public while considering any steps you may have taken such as counselling, courses such as CADS.
If your application gets declined
In case of temporary class visa applications, you may request a reconsideration within 14 days of the decline decision.
In case of residence class applications, you may make an IPT (Immigration and Protection Tribunal) within 42 days of the decision.
The information provided here is general in nature and is not a substitute for professional immigration advice.