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Who can give advice?

By law, any person that gives you immigration advice about New Zealand must be licensed by the Immigration Advisers Authority, unless they are exempt.

This includes people giving New Zealand immigration advice from China, India or anywhere in the world.

This page shows you who can give you immigration advice.

While those listed below can legally provide you with New Zealand immigration advice, not all are experts in New Zealand immigration matters.

Licensed immigration advisers and some New Zealand lawyers have specialised expertise in New Zealand immigration matters.

These options are likely to also vary in the level of service they provide and cost.

People can give New Zealand immigration advice without a licence in an informal or family context, so long as the advice is not provided regularly or for a fee. This exemption is designed for once-off assistance to a family member or friend.

Choose your option

Licensed Immigration Adviser

If you need immigration advice, licensed advisers have specialist expertise. They have met competency standards and follow a professional code of conduct.

Competency standards
Code of conduct

The code requires advisers to:

  • be honest, professional and respectful
  • enter into a written agreement with you that sets out clearly what services they will provide you and what they will cost
  • provide you with ongoing timely updates
  • charge fees that are fair and reasonable.

Licensed advisers can help you:

  • explore all your visa options and choose the right visa
  • prepare your visa application
  • settle in New Zealand
  • assess whether you can appeal a declined visa
  • assess your options if you are in New Zealand unlawfully

Your guide to Licensed Immigration Advisers has more information.

New Zealand Lawyer

Website: New Zealand Law Society

A lawyer is permitted to give immigration advice without a licence providing they hold a current practising certificate from the New Zealand Law Society. 

Register of Lawyers is where you can check your lawyer’s certificate and its expiry date.

Some lawyers specialise in immigration matters.

Employees of a New Zealand lawyer or a law firm, who provide immigration advice in the context of their employment agreement, can also give immigration advice without a licence.

New Zealand Law Society is where complaints against lawyers or their employees should be directed to.

Lawyers, licensed immigration advisers or other exempt persons can represent you to Immigration New Zealand or to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal but only lawyers can represent you if you wish to appeal a decision in a New Zealand court or seek judicial review.

Refugee and protection status claimants and people subject to immigration detention may be eligible for legal aid if represented by a lawyer, but not if represented by a licensed immigration adviser.

Immigration New Zealand

Website: www.immigration.govt.nz

You can apply for your own New Zealand visa with assistance from Immigration New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is an official New Zealand Government department.

Immigration New Zealand can help you find visa application forms and guides online.

Useful INZ links

Visa application forms and guides
Information about the visa application process
Contact Immigration New Zealand

Offshore student visa advisers

People who are offshore and provide New Zealand immigration advice on student visa applications only are not required to hold a New Zealand immigration adviser licence.

This exemption does not allow a person to provide advice on pathways to work or residence for an international student.

This exemption does not allow a person to provide advice to secondary or related applicants on any other visa type such as work, visitor or guardian visas.

If an offshore person wishes to provide advice on other visa types or pathways, they must be licensed.

For the student visa exemption to apply, the person providing advice must be out of New Zealand at the time they provide the advice.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Website: Citizens Advice Bureau

Some CABs give advice on immigration and citizenship.

CABs may be able to help you:

  • with general information about coming to New Zealand
  • complete your visa application form
  • get help in your own language by contacting CAB Language Connect.

Community Law Centres

Websitewww.communitylaw.org.nz 

Find your nearest: Community Law Centre

Community Law Centres (CLCs) are independent community organisations that provide legal help for members of the New Zealand public.

CLCs may be able to help you:

  • with general immigration advice
  • complete your visa application form
  • witness and sign most documents
  • find a lawyer or licensed immigration adviser.

Foreign diplomats

Foreign diplomats and consular staff accorded protection as such under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968 or the Consular Privileges and Immunities Act 1971 may provide New Zealand immigration advice without a licence. Not all foreign diplomats and consular staff will have New Zealand immigration knowledge or provide New Zealand immigration advice.

Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968  - New Zealand Legislation

Consular Privileges and Immunities Act 1971 - New Zealand Legislation

New Zealand Members of Parliament

Current New Zealand Members of Parliament (MPs) and their staff who provide immigration advice within the scope of their employment agreement can provide New Zealand immigration advice without a licence.

Not all MPs and their staff will have immigration knowledge or provide immigration advice.  You would need to check with your local MP’s office to see if they provide immigration assistance.

Contact a Member of Parliament

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