Visa News
March 26, 2023

How to Apply for NZ Citizenship

Understand the process & documents you need to provide to apply for NZ Citizenship & where to get advice if you need help.
How to Apply for NZ Citizenship

Introduction: Overview of New Zealand Citizenship and the Benefits of Becoming a Citizen

New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful country, with stunning landscapes and friendly people. It's no wonder that many people look to become citizens of this nation. Becoming a New Zealand citizen offers many benefits, including eligibility for certain jobs and greater travel opportunities through the New Zealand passport. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about applying for New Zealand citizenship including the eligibility criteria, the application process, pathways and more.

Types of Citizenship

There are three ways to obtain New Zealand Citizenship, these are:

Citizenship by Birth:

To be a citizen by birth, you would have to be born in New Zealand before 1 January 2006. If you were born in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006 you are a citizen by birth if one of your parents was a New Zealand citizen or had a visa which allowed them to live in New Zealand permanently.

Citizenship by Descent:

To be a citizen by descent, you may be eligible if you were born overseas and at least one of your parents is a New Zealand citizen by birth or by grant when you were born.+

Citizenship by Grant:

To be eligible for citizenship by grant, you were born outside of New Zealand or born in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006 to parents that were not New Zealand citizens or residents at the time of birth.


Eligibility Requirements for Applying for New Zealand Citizenship

To be eligible for NZ citizenship, applicants must meet certain criteria. These eligibility criteria are:

  • You must be a permanent resident of New Zealand or have held a residence visa for at least five years.
  • You must have been physically present in New Zealand for at least 1350 days during the five years prior to your application.
  • You must have spent 240 days of each of those five years in New Zealand.
  • You must demonstrate that you are of good character.
  • Have had no criminal convictions in the last 5 years.
  • You must demonstrate that you have an adequate knowledge of English.
  • You must demonstrate that you intend to continue to live in New Zealand or maintain a close and continuing association with the country.

There is an eligibility exception for children aged 15 years where they do not have to be present in New Zealand for at least 1,350 days if their parent meets this requirement.

Children aged 13 years and under are exceptions to the character requirement.   

It is important to note that any time spent in New Zealand before residency does not count towards the 1350-day presence requirement. 

What Happens if You Don’t Meet One of the Citizenship Eligibility Criteria?

If you do not meet the New Zealand citizenship eligibility criteria listed above, it can be very difficult to obtain citizenship.

In cases where you do not meet the requirements, this will need to be explained in your application which will be assessed by a case officer. Further information may be requested from you and processing times for your application may be extended. The case officer will provide a recommendation to the Minister of Internal Affairs who gives the final decision for your case.  

If you do not meet one of the eligibility criteria, it is recommended to contact a licensed immigration adviser to discuss your current circumstances and whether your application will be successful. 

Malcolm Pacific NZ Immigration advisers are experts in New Zealand immigration law and Citizenship Applications, call us today for a free consultation.

Visa Pathways that Lead to Citizenship in New Zealand:

New Zealand is a country that offers many visa pathways to citizenship, depending on your individual situation. In most cases, you must find a pathway to obtain Residence of New Zealand based on your current circumstances.

There are several visas that lead to residence, examples of these are:

After 5 years of holding a Resident Visa, you may be able to apply for citizenship in New Zealand if you meet the above-mentioned eligibility criteria.

It’s important to note that citizenship application processing times can vary depending on individual circumstances so it’s best to get advice from a licensed Immigration adviser if you need help understanding the New Zealand Immigration process and eligibility requirements.

Malcolm Pacific Immigration are a firm of NZ Immigration Advisers that want to make your dream of living in New Zealand a reality. Our skilled team of professionals have the knowledge and expertise to assist you with all aspects of the immigration process.

If you’re ready to take the next step, contact us today for a free consultation.

Pathways for Australian and Pacific Residents to Become a New Zealand Citizen

Currently, there are no specific citizenship categories specific to Australian residents.

Australian residents would have to apply for citizenship under one of the three New Zealand citizenship categories.

For Samoan residents, you are eligible for the Samoan Citizenship by Grant if you came to New Zealand after 14 September 1982 and hold either of the following:

  • a resident permit
  • a resident visa
  • a New Zealand permanent resident visa
  • Australian citizenship or an Australian permanent resident visa.

Under this category, applicants do not have to be in New Zealand for at least 1350 days during the 5-year period prior to your application.

How to Apply for New Zealand Citizenship: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

The first step to applying for New Zealand citizenship is to determine if you are eligible. You must ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria mentioned above before continuing onto Step 2.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Once you have determined that you are eligible, you will need to fill out all the required documents needed to apply for NZ citizenship, most are now available online.

NZ Citizenship application documents include:

  • Completed New Zealand Citizenship Application Form
  • A completed ‘Declaration by Applicant’ form
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs of yourself, taken within the last six months to be used as an identity check.
  • Proof of identity, such as a valid passport or birth certificate
  • Evidence of your current residence status in New Zealand, such as a resident visa, work visa or student visa
  • Evidence that you have been living in New Zealand for the past five years, such as travel records and/or employment records
  • Evidence that you are of good character
  • Any other supporting documents required by the Department of Internal Affairs
  • Police certificates may be required in certain situations where you have spent more than 4 months in any country other than New Zealand since obtaining residency.
  • If English is not your primary language, evidence that you can communicate in English to an acceptable standard such as evidence from an English language test or results from an approved English language course.


Step 3: Submit Your Application and Supporting Documents

Once you have gathered all the required documents, you can submit your application and supporting documents to the Department of Internal Affairs. You can do this online or by post. If submitting by post, make sure that all documents are properly authenticated before sending them off. 

Step 5: Wait for a Decision from Immigration new zealand

It is time to wait for a decision from Immigration New Zealand. This process can take up to one year depending on the complexity of your case and current processing times at Immigration New Zealand. Once they have made their decision, they will notify you via mail or email with their decision.


The Cost Involved in Applying for New Zealand Citizenship

The standard application fee is $470.20 NZD for adults aged 16 years and over, and $235.10 NZD for children aged 15 and under.

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship is where you are a citizen of two different countries at the same time. 

You are allowed to have dual citizenship in New Zealand, however other countries may not allow it.

If you are already a citizen of a foreign country, you should check if that country allows dual citizenship before applying for citizenship in New Zealand. Check the other country’s rules first, in some cases you may have to ask for permission. 

Do You Need Help with Your NZ Citizenship Application?

Becoming a citizen of New Zealand is an exciting opportunity that comes with many benefits and privileges. To be offered New Zealand citizenship, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and provide necessary documentation. 

From this article, the process of applying for New Zealand citizenship should be easier to understand and navigate. If you still have questions regarding your application or if you are not sure if you are eligible, Malcolm Pacific Immigration can help. 

Malcolm Pacific Immigration is committed to providing clients with the highest quality of service and immigration expertise. If you are applying for New Zealand Citizenship and require immigration advice, contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration today.

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