How long can you stay in New Zealand on your visa?

You can find the date of your visa on your visa approval letter or passport – this is the date till when Immigration New Zealand has approved your stay in the country. You are not allowed to stay in New Zealand once your visa expires.

You have two options once your visa expires:

  • Leave New Zealand right away
  • Make a Section 61 request for a special temporary or resident visa. You can avail this provision of the New Zealand Immigration act only in special cases

What happens if you overstay in New Zealand after the expiration of your visa?

In plain terms, you are breaking the law by staying in New Zealand after the expiration of your visa. Here are some of the risks of overstaying:

  • You cannot study or work and must pay for your health care costs.
  • You may be banned from entering the country again if you live for 42 days or more without a valid visa.
  • You will be at the risk of detention or deportation.

If your family or other New Zealand residents help you with your illegal stay, they:

  • Are committing a crime as per the Immigration Act, and
  • May be risking their immigration status

The risk of you being deported and facing a ban on future travel to New Zealand goes up dramatically as you stay more days in the country after your visa expires.

Do not put your own and other people’s immigration status at risk if you have overstayed the length of your visa. Get in touch with an experienced immigration expert immediately to avoid deportation and make a section 61 request. Book a 100% free consultation with our Auckland based immigration advisers to protect yourself.

How can you request a Section 61 extension?

You must make a Section 61 request in writing, explaining your circumstances in detail and provide evidence supporting your application. You must attach a copy of your passport’s personal details page to your Section 61 request – no need to submit the original passport.

Here is the information that you must include with your section 61 request:

  • Your personal information, such as your name, birth date and INZ (Immigration New Zealand) client number.
  • Your contact information, including your postal address, phone number and email.
  • A detailed note explaining the reason for you overstaying in New Zealand after the expiration of your visa.
  • Your personal situation that supports the reason for you wanting to extend your stay, such as work or family commitments.
  • An explanation of how the country may benefit from your extended stay – this is especially needed if you are requesting stay for a long period.
  • The kind of visa you are seeking and for how long.

How does Immigration New Zealand process Section 61 requests?

Immigration New Zealand does not process Section 61 requests the same way as assessing other visa applications. All Section 61 requests are handled at the Manukau Area Office by a senior INZ immigration officer.

What’s more, the immigration officer is under no obligation to consider your extension request. He/She does not even have to:

  • Provide the grounds for their verdict.
  • Make any further enquiries with regards to the information you have provided supporting your request or any other information known to INZ about your case.
  • Grant a visa matching the type or length you have requested.
  • Grant a particular visa even though you may be meeting the criteria for the same.

What happens if your Section 61 request is denied?

If your section 61 request is denied, you become illegal in New Zealand immediately – this means that you must depart the country as soon as possible to avoid deportation proceedings.

Can you appeal the section 61 decision? Well, you really cannot get the Section 61 verdict overturned. The best you can do is request the High Court to do a judicial review of INZ’s decision. However, the judge will not consider your personal situation as part of the review – they will only consider the decision-making process adopted by Immigration New Zealand.

Where can you get help with your Section 61 request?

Professional Visa Solutions is a team of immigration experts working out of our Auckland office, so you can walk right in and have a personal consultation with our experienced immigration consultants to discuss your unique circumstances.

We have been helping our clients with their Section 61 requests for a long time. We understand the ins and outs of the process of a Section 61 request, and our priority is to protect you from the long-term harmful effects of the overstay – such as detention, deportation or getting banned from future entry into New Zealand.

Protect your immigration interests by working with our dedicated immigration advisers. Book a 100% free consultation today.