Giving immigration advice for New Zealand – what can travel agents legally do

All South African visitors to New Zealand now require a visitor visa. This recent change may increase the number of client requests you receive for New Zealand immigration advice.

A client might come to you for advice on how to get a visitor visa or relocate to New Zealand, how to fill out a visa application, or ask you to represent them to Immigration New Zealand.

What can ywe do?

Did you know that only licensed or exempt advisers can legally give New Zealand immigration advice? Exempt individuals include current New Zealand lawyers and Immigration New Zealand staff.

As a travel agent based in South Africa you can:

  • Provide information to clients directly from an Immigration New Zealand visa form or the Immigration New Zealand website;
  • Fill in a visitor visa form for a client, under their direction. This means that they tell you what to write on the form, you do not advise them;
  • Submit the application to Immigration New Zealand, as long as you haven’t provided advice;
  • Direct clients to the Immigration New Zealand website so they can complete the visa application themselves;
  • Direct clients to the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority (IAA) website where they can find a licensed immigration adviser in their area.

What can’t we do?

Travel agents who are not licensed or exempt cannot:

  • Advise a person on what New Zealand visa they are best to apply for or qualify for;
  • Advise a person how best to answer a question in a New Zealand visa application form;
  • Represent a person to Immigration New Zealand;
  • Use knowledge or experience in New Zealand immigration matters in any other way to advise, direct, assist or represent a person in regard to any immigration matter relating to New Zealand, whether directly or indirectly, and whether or not for gain or reward.

Don’t risk giving unlawful New Zealand immigration advice.

It’s important that you are honest to Immigration New Zealand when you assist clients with visa applications and declare your help. If you or the client is not honest, the visa application may be declined and Immigration New Zealand may refuse to deal with you in the future. 

Becoming licenced

There is more information available on the IAA website about becoming a licensed immigration adviser.  People from all countries, including South Africa, are able to become licensed New Zealand immigration advisers following a course of study that can be completed online.

The IAA Fact Sheet for Travel Agents can be found here. If you need further information or have any questions, please email info@iaa.govt