What is a Character Waiver NZ?

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) knows everyone’s different, and sometimes, past mistakes don’t define who we are now or who we can become. A character waiver is like a second chance for people who’ve had some trouble in the past but are ready to do better. It shows INZ cares and understands, giving a chance for those who’ve made positive changes or have special circumstances. This waiver lets them apply for an NZ visa, showing they’re moving in the right direction.

Who is Eligible?

To get a character waiver, INZ carefully looks at each case. They won’t give waivers for really serious character issues as specified under sections 15 or 16 of the Immigration Act 2009, like major crimes or considerable security problems.

But for smaller issues, like minor crimes, past immigration mistakes, or instances of providing misleading information in past applications, they might consider it after a thorough review.

Reach out to us today, to find out how we can assist you in reaching your immigration goals.

Factors Considered by INZ

When Immigration New Zealand looks at a request for a character waiver, they think about a few important things:

Time Passed Since the Incident

They consider how long it’s been since the problem happened. Usually, if it’s been a while, it shows the person might have changed and won’t do it again. They often see [5 years] as a good time for someone to change, but it depends on the severity of what happened and the person’s situation.

Context and Nature of the Incident

They look closely at what exactly went down, like how serious it was and what led to it. They think about if the person was forced into it, was under a lot of stress, or wasn’t thinking straight at the time.

Applicant’s Current Circumstances

  • How Connected You Are to New Zealand: If you have family, a job, or are involved in the community here, it helps your case. It shows you’re committed to being a good part of New Zealand.
  • Why You’re Applying: They also think about why you want the visa. Whether it’s for school, being with family, or work, emphasising the applicant’s intentions and needs.

Integrity in Previous Visa Applications

  • Accuracy of Information Provided: INZ checks if you’ve ever given false information or left out important details in previous visa applications.
  • Intent: INZ also thinks about why you did it. Whether it was on purpose or just a mistake matters a lot in the decision-making process.

This careful evaluation helps INZ understand the situation better, which helps them decide how risky the applicant might be and if they can change for the better. They use empathy and a deep understanding of human behavior to make fair decisions.

Application Process and Documentation

Information about the Character Waiver application process and the documents needed for the application.

How to Apply

Applying for a character waiver means you need to give details and a strong explanation of previous events or character issues. Here’s what you need to provide:

  • Detailed Descriptions: Tell everything about what happened, like when and where it happened, and what the situation was like.
  • Reasons for Consideration: Explain why you think you should get the waiver. Maybe you’ve focused on recovering, changed your lifestyle or done good things for the community since the incident.

Supporting Documents

You might need to provide:

  • Letters from people who can say good things about your character.
  • Proof that you’ve been working to get better, like going to counselling or doing volunteer work.
  • Any other papers that show what happened in the incident and how you’ve changed since then.

Ready to Begin Your Kiwi Journey?

Book My Free Consultation


Years of Expertise


Visa Success Rate

Flat Fee

& Transparent Pricing

Character Waiver Process at ICL

Getting through the complexities of a character waiver needs careful thinking and knowing the ins and outs of immigration rules. ICL Immigration provides expert help in this tricky process. Here’s how we can support you:

Step 1: Checking Eligibility

We look into your situation to see if a character waiver could work based on what’s happened before and what’s going on now.

Step 2: Getting Documents Ready

We help gather and sort out all the papers you need to back up your request for a waiver, making sure everything is clear and convincing.

Step 3: Submitting Your Application

We make sure your application is all set, follows the rules, and gets sent in on time.

Step 4: Keeping in Touch with INZ

We stay in contact with INZ to see how your application is going and answer any questions they might have.

Step 5: Continuous Support

ICL Immigration sticks with you even after you apply, helping you get ready for interviews and handling any problems or appeals that might pop up.

Our goal is to help you succeed in getting a character waiver. We’ll support you in interviews, help with extra paperwork, and explain any setbacks or appeals along the way.


years of experience


satisfied clients


visa approval rate

Flat Fee


Importance of Good Character for New Zealand Visa

Having a good character is crucial when applying for temporary visas like work, student, or visitor visas in New Zealand. It means you haven’t been involved in any crimes, haven’t lied on visa applications before, and don’t pose a threat to New Zealand’s safety or order. This rule helps keep everyone safe and ensures that the immigration system works properly.

Disclosure Obligations

When you apply for a visa, it’s super important to be honest about anything that might affect how they see your character. This means telling them about any crimes you’ve committed, being involved in criminal activities before, or if you’ve ever given false info in a visa application. Being truthful shows you’re serious about meeting the visa’s character rules.

Character Waiver Considerations

Sometimes, INZ might say it’s okay to overlook small character problems. If they give you a waiver, it means even if you have a little hiccup in your character, they might still let you get a visa, as long as you meet all the other rules. But remember, it’s totally up to INZ, and they’ll decide based on your situation and how strong your case is for the waiver.

Client Testimonials


Success Stories


What is a character waiver?

A character waiver is a special permission granted by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) that allows individuals who do not meet the usual reasonable character requirements to be considered for a visa. This waiver can override specific character issues that might otherwise prevent a visa from being granted.

Who needs a character waiver?

Individuals with specific character issues, such as past criminal convictions, immigration infringements, or problems with providing false information in previous applications, might require a character waiver to qualify for a New Zealand visa.

What character issues disqualify me from receiving a character waiver?

Character issues described in sections 15 and 16 of the Immigration Act 2009, which include severe criminal offences and security threats, generally disqualify applicants from receiving a character waiver.

How do I apply for a character waiver?

To apply for a character waiver, you must submit a detailed explanation of the character issues along with your visa application, explaining the circumstances and any mitigating factors. You should also include any relevant supporting documents.

What factors does INZ consider when assessing a character waiver application?

INZ considers factors such as the severity and nature of the offence, the time elapsed since the offence, your conduct since the offense, and how truthful you have been in your application.

Can a character waiver be applied to any type of visa?

Yes, a character waiver can be applied to both temporary and residence visas, depending on the circumstances and the specific requirements of each visa category.

What happens if my character waiver is denied?

Your visa application will likely be denied if your character waiver is denied. However, you may seek advice on whether there are other legal avenues or future actions you can take to address the refusal.

How long does it take to process a character waiver?

The processing time for a character waiver can vary depending on the complexity of the case and INZ's workload at the time of application. It is generally advisable to allow extra time for applications involving a character waiver.

Can I appeal a character waiver decision?

If your character waiver and visa application are denied, you may have the option to appeal based on the grounds of the decision. It's advisable to consult with an immigration adviser or lawyer to explore your options.

Does obtaining a character waiver guarantee that my visa will be granted?

Obtaining a character waiver does not guarantee that your visa will be granted. It allows your application to be considered despite the presence of character issues. Your application must still meet all other relevant criteria to be approved.

Disclaimer: The information provided is subject to change based on New Zealand government policies. For the most current information, please refer to Immigration New Zealand or contact ICL Immigration for updated guidance.

Connect with Us

Free Consultation Booking Form

Please note: We are committed to responding to your query as quickly as possible. Please provide complete and accurate information about your situation and needs. We appreciate your help.