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Immigration & refugees

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If you’re here illegally: Understanding your options

Overview

If your visa has expired, this means you’re now here illegally (in immigration law, this is called having “unlawful status”, or being here “unlawfully”). Once your status becomes unlawful, you generally have no right to apply for a new visa, and you may have to leave the country. However, you do have some options:

  • you can apply for a visa as a special case under section 61 of the Immigration Act,
  • you can appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal on humanitarian grounds.

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Immigration

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Immigration New Zealand

www.immigration.govt.nz

Immigration New Zealand is the government organisation that deals with visa applications and other immigration issues. It’s part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/policy-and-law/how-the-immigration-system-operates

You can read Immigration NZ’s Operational Manual at www.immigration.govt.nz/opsmanual

Immigration and Protection Tribunal

www.justice.govt.nz/Tribunals/immigration/immigration-and-protection

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