My Limited Visa is due to expire, what can I do?

By Bradley So | Immigration Law

My Limited Visa is due to expire, what can I do?

Limited Visas are often granted to people that have a potential risk of remaining in New Zealand unlawfully after their visa expires. It is Immigration New Zealand’s (INZ) way of giving you an opportunity to come to New Zealand for an express purpose even when they see potential risks within your application. This often happens if INZ believes that you are not a “bona fide” applicant (for example, you have not travelled to New Zealand before or you do not have sufficient ties to your home country). If your Limited Visa is due to expire, read on and find out what you can do about it.

Express Purpose

An express purpose is required for the granting of a Limited Visa. This means you need to clearly explain a specific reason as to why you need to come to New Zealand and you will also need to state exactly how long you intend to stay in New Zealand for and provide evidence of that specific reason. For example, you may be a mother wanting to visit your child and attend their prize-giving event while they are studying in New Zealand as an international student You would need to inform Immigration New Zealand and provide evidence of the event (such as an invitation from the school).


Your Limited Visa comes with many conditions:

• You must leave New Zealand no later than the Limited Visa expiry date;

• You cannot apply for a different kind of visa while you are in New Zealand;

• You cannot request a special direction under section 378 or make a section 61 visa request while you are in New Zealand (it does not matter whether it is before or after your Limited Visa expires); and

• You do not have appeal rights.

If your Limited Visa expires and you remain in New Zealand unlawfully then you will become liable for deportation immediately. This is not beneficial to you as it shows INZ that the risks that they are concerned with are justified. It is best to keep your unlawful period as short as possible and leave voluntarily. It does not necessarily mean that you can never come to New Zealand again, as the reason for being unlawful will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Extending Your Limited Visa

If you discover that your express purpose is likely to take longer than you anticipated, you can apply for a further Limited Visa for the same express purpose. It is best to apply for an extension on your Limited Visa as soon as possible, as handing in a further Limited Visa application does not enable you to stay in New Zealand unlawfully while it is being decided. In other words, you will not be granted an interim visa while your extension application is being processed.

Applying for a New Visa

If your Limited Visa is due to expire and you have achieved your express purpose, then we recommend you return to your home country. This could potentially be of advantage to you as it will demonstrate to INZ that you can keep a good travel record and potentially diminish any risk-related concerns that they have with you. This may assist you with your future visa applications to New Zealand.

At Queen City Law we understand that not all applications are straightforward, if you require clarification or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This information was accurate as at June 2015

We have taken care to ensure that the information given is accurate, however it is intended for general guidance only and it should not be relied upon in individual cases. Professional advice should always be sought before any decision or action is taken.