Give Me A Visa! Thoughts On Visa Applications & BMI

Today I’ve been wrapped up in working on my future visa application for NZ. I don’t plan on applying until August or so but I figured I would work on it a little bit at a time when I had free time. I have to say, it’s so complicated! So many things to gather for proof of our relationship. There will also be a ton of writing involved to explain things so I’m glad I’ve started now!

The most fun part by far is going through photos to “prove” our relationship.


So many happy memories!

We’ve packed a lot of great stuff into the last couple of years. :)

One thing that has stressed me out about the application process beyond just gathering enough proof about our relationship (still a ton of work to do for this!) is the fact that I’m currently over the BMI limit that they generally accept. Since New Zealand has publicly funded healthcare they take into consideration future healthcare costs for all immigrants. From what I’ve read a bmi over 35 will require more tests and sometimes gets a rejection of the application because they believe the person will end up costing the healthcare system over $25,000 in the long run.

This obviously makes sense and for a small country like New Zealand is something they need to keep in check to make things work. Learning this stressed me out because I’m currently still over a BMI of 35! Part of me wants to whine that it isn’t fair to use BMI and just say give me a visa already!  But I’m a grown up and logical and realize that this one is on me and me alone, even if I do think BMI is a bit flawed.

Luckily I’m closer than I was to this goal. I need to get down to 190 or preferably lower to avoid most of the hassles with extra medical tests (or possible rejection) for my future visa application. I’m about 11 pounds away since I seem to have stalled around 201 after finishing LiveFit.  My gym membership actually expired this week and I’m not renewing it until I come back to NZ in July. This means I need to kick it into high gear… without a gym.

So that’s where I stand in the whole living permanently in New Zealand situation. I’ve got to gather up a whole bunch of evidence, write several super long essays of explanation, get friends to write letters about us, save up over a thousand dollars for fees, and lose at least 11+ pounds. Sooner rather than later.  Or by August to be exact.

Oh the things I do for love.


  1. says

    Just out of curiosity, what other “health” related restrictions are placed on potential immigrants? Like, will they let in smokers? People who claim to drink more than the guidelines suggest? What about people who have had DUIs or traffic tickets for speeding? What about people whose parents died from cancer or heart disease? I’m just wondering where they draw the line at who will cost the healthcare system money, and who is an acceptable risk.

    • says

      I honestly don’t know as I haven’t read the whole thing, just the part pertaining to BMI since people on forums mentioned having a lot of problems with it. I know they will reject people with certain bad illnesses but I think only contagious ones and I’m sure they have other things they don’t love but I don’t know what they are. I think those other things they let slide because it’s easier to lie/fudge about habits like smoking than it is to try and refute your weight and height measurements.

    • Sable@SquatLikeALady says


      Seriously though – where do they draw the line? And who decides? Blah.

      • says

        Not sure. They have a medical assessor team of doctors that look over the medical part of applications and either decide or request more tests or reject. They want the healthiest people possible, obviously. Since I’m applying as a partner I might get more leeway since it means a kiwi will stay in the country, but people applying just on their own have way worse chances/luck.

  2. says

    They obviously haven’t heard of Health at Every Size. I mean, you’re a fit young woman! As you say, I suppose they have to draw the line somewhere. It’s just a pity it’s done using such outdated tools. Nevertheless, this is excellent motivation for you!

    • says

      I know, right? I’m a big fan of Health At Every Size and feel pretty good myself. I’m active and lift weights and bike everywhere… but sometimes only the numbers count. And I can deal with that. So yeah… more motivation for sure!

  3. says

    Although like you I’m not a fan of the BMI because I think it is flawed, I get where they’re coming from about health issues because of the health care. But I too wonder where they draw the line as far as other factors. And I would hope in your case they would look at the total picture of you exercising, taking care of yourself, the progress you’ve made, and the the fact that you’re continuing to lose weight. I guess to me if they want proof of your relationship they should want proof of your healthy lifestyle.

    • says

      I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t be a problem. Because my BMI is over 35 though they would make me get extra tests. I know those tests would be fine as last time I got them I was perfectly healthy without any problems. Since I also exercise and am generally healthy in my lifestyle they would approve me. BUT I would have to pay out of pocket for all the tests. And considering I can barely afford the fees to apply and get the first medical done… I really need to avoid that process if possible. It would save me financially and mentally from a stressful situation! But yes others with BMI over 35 have been approved if they are otherwise healthy and trying to be more so… at least from what I’ve heard.

      • Megan C says

        Glad to hear others have made it. That stinks about the extra tests and you having to pay for them. Good luck!

  4. says

    I wonder if there’s a way to get by the BMI thing… I mean, if you need to use evidence to prove your relationship, could you also use the evidence of your blog, gym membership, therapy and that sort of thing to prove that you’re doing awesome at working on health? Might be worth a shot!

    Good luck :)

  5. says

    WOW! Quite a bit to get the Visa!!! YIKES! I see the point though the way you explained it.. I am sure you will get it done! Find things you just like doing & I hope it will all turn out OK! As for Jack Sh*t – always too funny!

  6. says

    I’m in a similar boat to you – married a kiwi and going through the whole process to try and live here. I had it easier though I think since I got a teaching job here so I got a work visa first and could get in easier that way which has given me more time to work on my residency application. It’s all so confusing though! We actually ended up getting an immigration lawyer to help us do everything because we couldn’t get our heads around it and didn’t want to mess it up.

    • says

      I’m on a year long work visa so I have time but it is SO CONFUSING and TIME CONSUMING I’m trying to start early. I don’t want to mess it up either so I may end up getting help but for now I’m just working on the stuff I know I need and can do on my own. It’s a crazy process though!

  7. Rachel says

    Good luck Mary – although I think you’ll find that the NZ visa application process is a million time easier than the US one! Now that is a bastard of a process – just to get a work permit is a nightmare.

    I dont think it is a black and white process to gain residency here and there is a heap of room for grey area – but 5kg isn’t impossible to lose – however if you are referred for blood tests because you don’t meet the BMI criteria I think you will find unless you have other indicators of obesity-related-illness you will probably be ok. You might just have to take a chance – it’s not as if you don’t get to reapply if there is a problem. :)

  8. Jaffa says

    Hi Mary
    I can set your mind at ease about one thing at least. INZ changed the health policy last year so that, as the partner of a New Zealander, you’re considered to be of good health unless you have one of a small list of serious medical conditions (like if you are on dialysis). BMI won’t be a problem.

    The only thing I worry about though is how going back to the US will affect your residence application, given that one of the requirements for residence is that you have to have been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for twelve months or more. Immigration Officers can consider any times you have spent apart, so if there is a valid reason then they may say it’s ok, but if you’re going to be away for several months it’s something I think you should think about. Sorry, I realise I’ve relieved you of one stress only to load you up with another! Good luck though. With all your blogging and twittering you have a good case to offer!

    • says

      Sweet! I’ve gotta be honest, there is SO MUCH information out there that it is hard to sort through what is accurate and current. I already figured BMI wouldn’t keep me out but I still don’t really want to pay for extra tests. ;)

      Well I’m actually applying for both a work and residence visa. From what I can tell regarding the residence visa they want you to explain periods apart (which I can do as they were work related and boss can verify that). Also, we’ve lived together for more than 12 months cumulatively already at this point. Additionally since it takes so long to process a residence visa it’s likely to have been another 12 months with no gaps by the time they get to it (the processing times are crazy!). Yes, gaps could be a problem depending on the case officer but I believe we can prove it was not a problem for our relationship and all we want is to live in the same country. I have toyed with the idea of just applying for another work visa and then another in 1 to 2 more years to save money upfront, but the next time they might question why I didn’t apply for residency this time (was the relationship not solid/permanent/serious about staying in NZ? etc). A lot of it depends on the case officer so I’ll probably keep asking different people at immigration what I should do until I figure out the best answer. Wish me luck though!

  9. says

    Good morning Mary, I have been reading your blog for a while now, and everytime I come on here it’s hard for me to leave. You information is amazing and some things you write are funny. I would love it if you would come to my weightloss blog and post some of your information there, you would be a guest blogger on my blog! The people that are following me are amazing and I am sure that they would love to get to know you as I have Mary!

    • says

      Hi Patsy! That would be awesome! Send me an email and I’d love to in May (once I get past my birthday/going back to the US this month). Cheers!

  10. says

    BMI is bunk. The documentary “America the Beautiful 2″ shows that. Even by looking up BMI on wikipedia, shows that the BMI scale is being used in a manner it was never intended for. BMI is a very old paradigm with no science behind it to back it up. I’m sorry Mary that you have to deal with this. It’s wrong, and it’s not best practice.

  11. says

    wow i didnt know that about the BMI (i did know about the proving your relationship). does the US do the same thing? for the proving you guys are really together, just give them the URLs of your blogs! :)