How to Write a Winning Genuine Relationship Letter for Immigration

Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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A well-crafted support letter can be a powerful tool in demonstrating that the relationship is genuine. This guide will walk you through the key elements that you will need to think about when writing such a letter. If you still have questions, contact Immigration Lawyer NZ.

Understanding the Purpose of a Genuine Relationship Letter

Relationship support letters play a crucial role in the immigration process for New Zealand, especially for spouse visa applications. They can also be used to support a general visitor visa application if the partner is coming from a non-visa-waiver country and lacks eligibility for a partner visa. These letters come in two main types:

  • those composed jointly or individually by the applicant and the sponsoring partner; and
  • those written by friends or family members who can attest to the authenticity of the relationship.

We recommend the relationship letter be written individually, i.e. one from the applicant and one from the partner providing sponsorship, but if it is too much work, writing and signing one letter jointly will suffice.

When assessing these letters, case officers focus on the narrative flow and the chronological context it provides. They aim to understand how the relationship initially started, evolved, and reached significant steps such as engagement, moving in together, or marriage. This perspective allows them to gauge the genuine commitment shared between the partners.

The purpose of the letters cannot be overstated. While supporting documents like passports, certificates, and photographs are essential, they often lack the depth needed to truly understand the lives and emotions of the applicant and their partner. These letters offer a unique opportunity to provide richness and genuineness to your story, allowing the case officer to gain more insight into your relationship and ultimately enhancing your application's credibility.

Key Elements for a Genuine Relationship Letter

Here are some of the main points we advise our clients to include in writing this letter in support. Depending on your preferred approach, you may choose to present these points as separate sections within your letter or integrate them as sub-topics within the timeline of your relationship, whichever method aligns more logically and flows naturally with your unique situation.

1. Relationship History

The history should cover when you first met up to the present time, as well as future plans. Explain your relationship in chronological order so that the department of immigration can observe the progression. Please always make sure to include relevant details such as specific dates, locations, and the names of those involved to provide a comprehensive account of your relationship.

Be sure to include important stepping stones and events such as your first date, any noteworthy celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries, making the decision to get married, and instances of travelling together or embarking on adventures. Mention the date of moving in and the address, as this is one of the most crucial milestones in a partnership visa application.

2. Perception of the Relationship

One of the primary objectives of your letter in support is to convince the immigration officer regarding the enduring, committed, and exclusive nature of your relationship. Put emphasis that your relationship is authentic, that you have weathered challenges and are looking forward to spending the rest of your lives together.

Beyond presenting a factual account of your relationship, take the opportunity to bring out your personal perspectives. Discuss how you both perceive your relationship, your feelings towards it, to each other and the direction in which you see it heading. Express your genuine emotions and the depth of your commitment. You can talk about experiences that have deeply touched you as a couple and solidified the bond.

3. Challenges and Obstacles

It's important to acknowledge that no relationship is without its challenges, including occasional disagreements or setbacks. Some immigration officers may question the authenticity of your relationship, which appears to have no issues.

If you wanted to address this, you could briefly mention that, like any couple, you have faced challenges and disagreements from time to time. However, emphasise how you have worked through these issues maturely and with a shared commitment to strengthening your partnership.

If the relationship was affected by factors outside of your control, for example, maintaining a long-distance relationship, travel restrictions and separation due to COVID-19, mention how your unwavering commitment to each other made it possible to overcome and keep your relationship thriving, even when circumstances made it difficult.

4. Public Recognition

Within your letter, it's essential to underline the recognition and support your relationship receives from friends and family members. Explain how they are not only aware of your partnership but also endorse and encourage it. This can be a solid testament to the legitimacy of your relationship and the valuable network of support you have built around it.

In some cultures, societal norms or legal constraints may make it challenging for individuals in same-sex or LGBTQ relationships to disclose their partnerships openly. It's important to clarify within your letter that, due to cultural factors, you may not have openly shared your relationship status with a broader audience.

Likewise, premarital "living together" arrangements are forbidden due to cultural values, and you may have chosen not to disclose it to your family and friends. You will need to provide the relevant context while highlighting to the immigration officer that your relationship is genuine and committed regardless (with suitable supporting evidence).

It's important to understand that open marriages, open relationships, or polygamous relationships will not be approved. Immigration authorities look at exclusivity as one of the key factors when assessing whether a couple's relationship is genuine. Even if you genuinely believe that the relationship works for the parties involved, Immigration New Zealand will not consider it to be a committed relationship.

5. Other Matters

Consider your individual circumstances when deciding which points to include in your letter. There's no need to disclose everything; the point is to write a compelling letter of support for the purpose of a spousal sponsorship application. Instead, focus on highlighting your strengths rather than dwelling on weaknesses.

  • Describe the division of responsibilities and daily tasks within your household, including who takes charge of cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning, lawn maintenance, and handling rubbish disposal.
  • Explain whether your income is pooled into a joint bank account from which expenses are drawn, or if you maintain separate individual accounts and contribute equally, or in another arrangement. And point out whether you have any joint assets or liabilities. This will illustrate your commitment to shared financial responsibilities and highlight your financial interdependency.
  • If either or both of you have children from previous relationships, discuss how you manage this aspect of your life. Detail your roles and responsibilities in caring for and raising these children, and emphasise how your blended family functions harmoniously.
  • Remember to include accurate and up-to-date contact information, including full name, mobile number and email address. This ensures that immigration authorities can easily reach you if they need to schedule an interview or seek further clarification during the application process.

Getting Support Letters from Friends or Family Members

Obtaining letters from friends or family can be a pivotal aspect when applying for a visa to New Zealand. These letters serve as endorsements of your relationship and can significantly contribute to a positive outcome for your application. These individuals should not only understand your relationship with your partner but also have known the couple for a considerable duration to give their story more weight.

The letters aim to provide immigration officials with an external perspective on your relationship. Your friends or family members, who are aware of the relationship and how long they have known you and your partner, can attest to the authenticity of your bond. Their letters allow Immigration NZ to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of your relationship, improving the credibility of your application.

When asking your friends or family to write a letter of support, encourage them to include their contact information and their relationship with your partner (e.g. went to school together, work colleague, etc). Highlight that the letter should emphasise positive aspects of your relationship, such as when you decided to get married, how long they have known you as a couple, or when they've been to the place where you are currently living together.

The letters will act as an additional layer of relationship documents, which will strengthen your case and increase the chances of a successful immigration application to INZ.

Sample Letter for Immigration NZ

Our sample letter is coming soon.

We Can Make the Process Simpler For You

Navigating the complexities of the immigration law process can be daunting, and that's why we're here to simplify it for you. We are highly recommended by many as qualified immigration lawyers who can be your trusted guide on your visa journey.

If you've faced a visa refusal in the past or require any further information on the application process, consulting an immigration lawyer can make a world of difference. Our knowledge and experience can be invaluable in addressing any challenges that may arise. Whether you're aiming for a resident visa or any other immigration status, we can provide personalised guidance tailored to your unique circumstances.

To take the first step towards making your application smoother and more successful, we encourage you to book a consultation with us. Our insights and support can significantly enhance your chances of a positive outcome, ensuring the process is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Frequently asked questions

As for your own letter, there is no set requirement around how long it should be, but we recommend at least two pages of A4-sized paper. Many have a lot to talk about and go around three to four pages long. For friends and family, support letters can be about one page.
There is no specific requirement as to how many you should get, but usually we recommend at least five who can provide different perspectives. For example:
  • One from applicant's family;
  • One from sponsoring partner's family;
  • One from applicant's best friend;
  • One from sponsoring partner's best friend;
  • One from applicant's co-worker;
  • One from sponsoring partner's co-worker.
No, there is no requirement for the letters to be notarised or witnessed. They should contain, however, the date the letter is signed, the full name of the person writing the letter, and the person's contact details.
No, there is no such requirement. The letter could come from someone based offshore or someone in New Zealand on a temporary visa or a resident visa.
If the document's original language is not English, it will need to be translated.
Unless you can write neatly and legibly, we recommend that you type it up on a computer, print/sign it, and then scan it into a digital file. INZ does accept documents signed digitally, so you can save it as a file and then paste your signature file instead if you don't have access to a printer/scanner.
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author headshot Michael Yoon
Last modified on 29 April 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.
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