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Resolving Medical and Character Concerns in NZ Visa Matters

Facing medical and character issues in your New Zealand visa application? Don't worry, McSweeney Immigration Law is here to assist you. Our experienced team specializes in navigating these complexities, ensuring your journey to a successful visa is smooth and stress-free. Trust us to resolve your concerns and pave the way for your New Zealand adventure.

Medical Issues

Immigration New Zealand have specific health requirements that must be met for an applicant to be deemed an ‘Acceptable Standard of Health’ (ASH); this standard differs depending on whether an applicant is applying for a temporary or resident visa. 

We are regularly engaged by applicants who have encountered health issues with their applications, and, are able to provide informed opinion on the best course of action for dealing with these; and, in many cases gauge the chances of success from the outset.

Given the strict requirements, and the unclear, and often inconsistent way these are interpreted by INZ, it is important to provide the correct information throughout. Our involvement will often see us liaising with medical specialists on a client’s behalf to obtain documentation that directly addresses potential concerns relating to immigration policy – we are clear on what needs to be addressed and will make sure you are given the best chance of a successful outcome.

Applicants that do not meet the health criteria may be considered for a medical waiver. In assessing whether a medical waiver should be granted, an immigration officer will undertake a balancing exercise that looks at whether an applicant’s particular circumstances justify the waiving of the medical requirement. There is a reasonable amount of discretion afforded to immigration officers when arriving at a decision on whether a medical waiver should be granted, so its critical to present all relevant documentation correctly, and as favourably as possible.

If you are required to provide additional medical information to INZ, or, you are unsure if you have a condition/s that will cause issues, we suggest you seek professional advice on your options; and a plan for the way forward – it is essential you get competent advice in this area, and we believe we are among the very best at delivering this.

Character Issues

The length of stay and the type of visa you are applying for will determine whether you will need to demonstrate you are of good character by producing a police certificate with your application. 

For those with certain convictions, the ability to obtain a visa for NZ will often be compromised, depending on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred.

Immigration NZ’s focus here will be on whether an applicant is of good character, and does not present a risk to NZ’s security, or international reputation. Those deemed to have serious character issues cannot be issued a visa, unless by special direction from the Minister of Immigration; a special direction will be required in the following scenarios - where an applicant has been:

  • convicted of an offence and sentenced to 5 years or more imprisonment.

  • convicted in the last 10 years of an offence for which they were sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months or more.

  • subject to a period of Prohibition from entering New Zealand.

  • removed, excluded, or deported from any other jurisdiction.


Additionally, a range of character issues exist that mean some applicants will normally be ineligible for a visa. However, in these cases an immigration officer has the discretion to waive the character requirement.

We regularly advise and act for clients seeking the character requirement be waived in their application. This is an area that requires experience, skill and the ability to apply immigration policy to a client’s individual circumstances. Therefore, we advise those with character issues (or potential issues) to seek professional advice from a qualified lawyer on this subject; given what is at stake, it is important to be advised by an expert. We understand how INZ will be approaching any character issue you may have, and can advise appropriately on the way forward.



Tim McSweeney

Immigration Lawyer


Kera WanG

Senior Consultant

Head of Asia Business


Kim Saran Lee

Immigration Lawyer


Danica Bandojo

Immigration Consultant


Sophya Guimarães

Immigration Consultan

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