Changes to the Culturally Arranged Marriage visa category

New Zealand Immigration Update: January 2020


Until now, individuals in a culturally arranged marriage with a New Zealand (NZ) citizen or resident planning to come to NZ to join their spouse were only eligible for a Culturally Arranged Marriage visitor visa if the wedding took place in NZ. This was impractical, with most culturally arranged marriages occurring offshore. 


Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that a Culturally Arranged Marriage visitor visa may be granted to individuals who have had an arranged marriage within three months of the visa application, regardless of where the wedding ceremony took place.  This is a positive update that means those in culturally arranged marriages have the opportunity to apply for a visitor visa to come to NZ and demonstrate that they are living together in a stable and genuine relationship, and later apply for a temporary partnership-based work visa. 

INZ has also clarified that an individual travelling to NZ to join a partner may be considered a genuine visitor visa applicant. This includes couples in culturally arranged marriages, and less traditional relationships. This update will benefit those applicants looking to stay in NZ longer-term, but who don't yet meet the living together requirements to be issued a partnership-based visa. 

Our advice

Individuals who have recently married a NZ citizen or resident should apply for a Culturally Arranged Marriage visitor visa, within three months of the ceremony.  


Please get in touch with one of our experts today. 


Natasha Rae

Immigration – Senior Associate

+64 3 335 3483

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Jackson Hagen

Immigration – Solicitor

+64 3 385 3480

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Kendal Cosgrove

Immigration – Law Clerk

+64 3 339 5636

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