Summary of Terms

Good character

To grant you a New Zealand visa we need to be assured that you and any family included in your application meet our character requirements. We make this requirement to protect the well being and security of New Zealanders.

As a general rule, we carry out character checks on everyone 17 years or over included in residence applications or applying for temporary entry for 24 months or longer. We may also undertake a character check on anyone else that we consider may not meet our character requirements.


Providing evidence of good character
If you will be in New Zealand for a total of 24 months or longer you'll have to provide police certificates as evidence of your good character.  See who is required to provide a police certificate for more information.


We need certificates from:


  • your country of citizenship (unless you can prove you never lived there)

if you are applying for residence:

  • any country you have been in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, whether in one or more visits. If you are already in New Zealand, for example, under our Work to Residence category, this includes obtaining a police certificate from the New Zealand police,

if you are applying for a temporary entry visa:

  • any country you’ve lived in for 5 or more years since turning 17.


See how to obtain a Police Certificate for information on what to do.


If for some reason you cannot get a Police Certicate, contact the Immigration New Zealand office at which you will be lodging your application.

Related Links

See Character requirements
Want to see the wording of the immigration instructions?  Go directly to the Operational Manual.