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Section 61 requests

You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires. If you are currently living unlawfully in New Zealand, meaning that your visa has expired, one option that you have is to apply for a visa under section 61 of the Immigration Act.


This is usually a last resort and to be able to be successful in this request, you must have a very strong reason for being allowed to stay in New Zealand.


Immigration New Zealand has “absolute discretion” in these cases, which means that there are fewer restrictions on them and you have no appeal rights if you’re turned down. 

Image by Marco López

If you stay after your visa expires

You are breaking the law if you stay after your visa expires. You:

  • cannot work or study, and will have to pay for your health care

  • may not be able to come back to New Zealand again if you are here without a visa for 42 days or longer

  • risk being detained or deported.

Your actions can also affect other people. For example, if family members or other people help you to stay in New Zealand they:

  • commit an offence under the Immigration Act, and

  • may put their own immigration status at risk.

Actions you can take after your visa expires

You can:

  • leave the country immediately, or


  • make a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act, but only if you believe you have a special case.

Making a Section 61 request

Requests under Section 61 are only granted in some cases. Immigration New Zealand cannot grant you a visa under Section 61 if you have already received a deportation order.

How INZ assesses your request


The process for assessing your request is different from assessing a visa application. 

Under the law, the officer has no obligation to consider your request and does not have to:

  • provide any reasons for their decision


  • make any enquiries about the information you provide in support of the request or about other information INZ holds about you


  • grant a visa of the type or length you asked for — for example, they can give you a visitor visa instead of a work visa


  • grant a specific visa even if you seem to meet the criteria for that visa.

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