Section 61 Requests
Having an expiration date on your visa should not surprise you – all countries have it and expect you to leave the country before your travel documents become invalid. However, in special cases, New Zealand gives you a chance to make your overstay legal and avoid deportation – you can make a Section 61 request to turn lawful again.
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You are not someone to break the law intentionally. However, you had to continue living in New Zealand beyond the expiration date of your visa due to some unavoidable circumstances. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has not yet issued a deportation letter to throw you out, and you want to set things right before it gets too late – make a Section 61 request to turn your stay into a legal one.
Are you in New Zealand on an expired visa?
To be very candid, you are an illegal immigrant if you did not leave the country before your New Zealand visa expired. By overstaying your welcome, you are exposing yourself to the following:
- You cannot attend school or work
- You must pay for health care even if you were previously eligible for a government-sponsored program
- You face the risk of being banned from the country forever if your stay has extended beyond 42 days of visa expiration
- You may be detained or deported
Anyone helping you in living in New Zealand illegally is a criminal under the country’s immigration law and may lose their immigration status.
Save yourself and your family the embarrassment of going through immigration problems stemming from your overstay – get in touch with our highly qualified and experienced team of immigration experts. They can help you avoid deportation while reinstating your legal status by making a Section 61 request and getting INZ approval. Get started by booking a 100% free consultation.
What is the process of making a Section 61 request?
Your section 61 request must be in a written form, explain your circumstances thoroughly and carry the evidence to support your case. Here is what INZ needs you to include with the application:
- Photocopy of the personal information page from your passport
- Information identifying yourself, like your name, date of birth, and INZ client number
- Contact information such as physical mailing address, email address and phone number
- A detailed note describing the circumstances that led to you staying in New Zealand after the expiry of your visa – include your work and family commitments if they were a contributing factor
- A description of benefits to New Zealand by extending your stay in the country – this is especially needed for requests made for stays of more extended periods
- Type and length of visa being requested
You do not have to pay any fees when making your Section 61 request. INZ will collect the charges only after your application is approved – the authorities will get in touch with you to obtain payment details if you did not provide the information at the time you made the request.
How does INZ reach decision on a Section 61 request?
Processing of Section 61 requests is unlike how INZ processes other visa applications – your Section 61 request is assigned to a senior Manukau office immigration officer. The immigration officer can use his/her discretion to consider your request for an extension. The discretionary powers vested in them for processing Section 61 requests preclude them from:
- Having to explain why they approved or rejected your application
- Any obligation of asking for clarification related to the information you provide or known to INZ that may impact your case
- Approving the type and length of visa requested
- Granting an NZ visa though you may meet its criteria
What should you do if your Section 61 request is rejected?
Your stay in New Zealand becomes unlawful the moment INZ rejects your Section 61 request, and you must leave the country immediately.
Moreover, you cannot appeal the INZ decision to get it reversed. You may approach the High Court for a judicial review, but the judge will only look at the INZ process to reach their verdict, not the circumstances that made you overstay in the country.
What if you need help for making a Section 61 request?
Immigration Advisers NZ has a team of licensed immigration professionals working at our Auckland office – this means you can visit us for a confidential discussion of your case. We have a long history of helping our clients with the most complicated Section 61 requests and can help you restore your New Zealand dream. Contact us for a complimentary consultation session – 100% free.