If you have had your visa application for New Zealand declined, or are facing deportation, we can advise you on your options and assist in the preparation of submissions needed.

Have you recently had your visa declined? Are you currently unlawfully in New Zealand as a result, unable to lodge a new application and facing deportation? Or have you been served with a deportation liability notice for other reasons, such as a conviction?

Unlawfully in New Zealand

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence and many clients only seek legal advice after finding themselves in exactly this situation. However, it is still possible to request and obtain a new visa, and become lawful in New Zealand once more, if the correct steps are taken in a timely manner.


When unlawfully in New Zealand, it is not possible to lodge a new visa application in the usual method. Instead, any effort to legalise your status must be done through a section 61 request or a request to the Minister of Immigration for a special direction. Neither require a standardised set of documents or forms. Instead both are wholly bespoke, consisting of whatever submissions you wish to present. In turn, INZ and the Minister of Immigration have absolute discretion as to whether and how they assess those submissions and do not have to give any reasons for their decisions. 

During the initial assessment process we will be able to determine whether or not we believe there are circumstances which would warrant the submission of a section 61 request or a special direction application to the Minister. There is a very high threshold imposed for both and so, for ethical and professional reasons, we will only receive and accept instructions to lodge such requests where we believe the circumstances support a sound chance of obtaining a favourable result.


Where the circumstances appear favourable, we will work with you to collate the relevant information and documentation to prepare targeted submissions regarding your particular situation. 

Deportation Liability Notices


In some instances a temporary or resident visa holder in New Zealand may suddenly find they’re liable for deportation. A person’s deportation liability can arise for a number of reasons, but most often it is as a result of being convicted of an offence in New Zealand. This is a serious matter and therefore it is imperative that a person who is served with a Deportation Liability Notice (DLN) seeks legal advice as soon as possible.

Once served, an individual has 14 days from the date of service to provide a response to Immigration New Zealand demonstrating good reasons why their DLN should be cancelled. The visa holder also has the right to lodge an appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal within 28 days of being served with a DLN. It is important therefore that professional assistance is sought promptly given these timeframes.


We regularly represent clients who have received a DLN, covering a variety of scenarios from students who have breached the conditions of their visa by failing to attend their classes, to resident visa holders who have been convicted of driving with excess breath alcohol within two years of being granted residency, right through to those who have been imprisoned for a serious offence or have overstayed for many years. 


The key to managing these types of issues is obtaining legal advice at the earliest possible stage; certainly prior to making any “good reasons” request to Immigration New Zealand to cancel deportation liability and if possible, as soon as a risk of deportation is identified. This applies irrespective of whether the visa held is temporary or resident class, as even low level traffic offences can trigger deportation liability for both.


If you are looking for assistance to provide a full response to Immigration New Zealand contesting your liability for deportation (either before or after being issued with a DLN) or to lodge an appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, please contact us immediately. This is a serious matter and you will require professional assistance.

How Saunders & Co can add value:

  • Knowing and advising clients on what steps need to be taken when their lawful status in New Zealand is jeopardised
  • Drafting submissions to INZ for section 61 requests, overturning deportation liability and humanitarian appeals


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