Becoming a New Zealand Citizen allows you to live in the country indefinitely and enjoy all the privileges that people living in New Zealand have. Learn more.
September 13, 2022
Citizenship is a technical term for a resident of a particular country. Every country has different criteria according to how they grant you citizenship. In New Zealand, the applications for citizenship are evaluated by the Internal Affairs Department, not Immigration NZ, which handles visa applications.
When you apply to become a New Zealand citizen, you are assessed according to the rules governing citizenship. You should be aware of the criteria and ensure your situation matches the standards.
The Benefits of New Zealand Citizenship
Once you are awarded a citizenship certificate of New Zealand, you can live in the country indefinitely and enjoy all the privileges that people living in the country have, from free education for children through to high school, subsidised healthcare, and voting rights.
If you have questions about your pathway to New Zealand citizenship, immigration advisers are there to help. Malcolm Pacific Immigration has decades of experience supporting migrants through their immigration and citizenship process.
Types of New Zealand Citizenship
There are three types of New Zealand citizenship, each with different criteria depending on your circumstances.
New Zealand Citizenship by Birth
If you are born in New Zealand before January 1st, 2006, you qualify to be a New Zealand citizen. This type of citizenship is known as citizenship by birth.
If you were born in New Zealand after the first of January 2006, the government amended the regulations for individuals. Meaning an NZ-born child has to meet either of these criteria:
One of your parents is a citizen of New Zealand.
One of your parents has a visa that authorises them to stay in New Zealand permanently (Resident Visa or Permanent Resident Visa).
Citizenship by Descent
If one of your parents holds New Zealand citizenship (as they were born in NZ) but you weren’t born in New Zealand, you can be eligible for citizenship by descent. This could mean either your parents were citizens by birth or citizenship was granted to them.
If your child/children are born outside New Zealand, you cannot simply transfer citizenship to them. Your child will need to apply for their own citizenship by grant.
Citizenship by Grant
You could be eligible for citizenship by grant as a resident of New Zealand. There are requirements such as time spent as a resident in NZ, being a person of good character and speaking English. More detailed information can be found at Malcolm Pacific Immigration.
Once you have been awarded citizenship, any child of yours born in New Zealand after you became a citizen can automatically qualify to be a kiwi.
What Are the Criteria to Be a New Zealand Citizen?
The criteria you need to meet and the documents you need to provide depend upon the type of citizenship you’re looking to apply for. We advise you to get in touch with experienced immigration advisers for further advice to ensure you have everything you need to support your application.
Documents to Prove Citizenship by Descent or Birth
Your birth certificate is needed if you were born in New Zealand.
Your parent's NZ birth certificates, if you are applying for citizenship by descent.
Criteria for Applying to Citizenship as an NZ Resident
If you were not born in New Zealand and your parents are not citizens of New Zealand, you can apply for citizenship by Grant. The criteria that you need to meet are:
You must prove that you intend to live in New Zealand permanently. For this, you need to show the three things mentioned.
You have been living in New Zealand for five years or more. For permanent residents and Australian citizens, you qualify after your 5-year residence.
You have to be physically in New Zealand for 1350 days in the past five years. So it means you have stayed at least 240 days every year in New Zealand.
You are planning to reside in New Zealand after your citizenship is granted.
Prove That You’re of Good Character With a Clean Past:
Criminal or other illegal activities in New Zealand or overseas could hinder any application. Speeding or parking tickets do not hold any significance. If you have been involved in breaking the law overseas or in New Zealand, then you have to write an explanation letter with your application. You also have to answer questions honestly regarding your crime. Take advice from an expert if this applies to you.
If you were not involved in any unlawful activities, then you still might need to attach a police certificate from the place you were resident before New Zealand. This might be necessary if you have been out of New Zealand for more than four months in the past three years or more than 12 months in the past four to twelve years.
English Language Ability
You should be able to speak English conversationally. You will be assessed for your English speaking skills during your application if English is not your first language.
Cost of Applying for a Citizenship
When you have successfully collected all your documents, apply for citizenship in New Zealand. You also have to pay the fee for citizenship by a grant which is as follows
● For the age group 15 years or below: $235.10
● For the age group 16 years or above: $470.20
It is an online application, and the process can seem confusing. Don’t just push submit. Speak to an expert if you are unsure before lodging the application.
Your Citizenship Certificate and Application for a Passport
After submitting all of your documents with the fees, you have to wait for your citizenship application to be accepted. It usually takes about 6 to 18 months to process your application, depending on the number of applications in the queue. After it is accepted, you will receive your citizenship certificate.
Then, through this citizenship certificate, you can apply for a New Zealand passport. To get a New Zealand passport, you have to apply separately after becoming an NZ citizen.
Know the Latest Immigration NZ News
Ensure you keep up to speed with the latest policy changes and immigration NZ news to stay well informed. It helps to inform you of any changes to citizenship or visa criteria, New Zealand’s border, schemes going on with different countries, and many more.
If you have more questions about how to apply for your New Zealand citizenship, then get in touch with Malcolm Pacific Immigration, as we are licensed immigration advisers nz.
Otherwise, by ensuring you dot your “i's and cross your ‘t”s, we hope to welcome you into our country as a New Zealand citizen.
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Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our team is on standby, ready to help.
Our highly experienced licensed Immigration team will take away the stress and worry of navigating the complicated world of New Zealand Immigration. All you need to do is get in touch. Our employer team is on standby, ready to help.
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for migrant workers who are living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave who are eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else they will miss out on this one off opportunity.
January 9, 2023
Skilled Migrants Opportunity
Today the government announced a pathway to residence for people living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave eligible to apply. The second wave can apply from 1 March 2022. The deadline to lodge an application is 31 July 2022 or else you miss the boat.
January 9, 2023
New Employer Accreditation Process
The government has moved the introduction of the new employer accreditation process across to mid-2022. At the same time, the Minister of Immigration announced new work visa rules for migrant workers who are already in New Zealand and working full time.
January 9, 2023
Skilled Migrant Changes
The government has increased the median wage to $27 per hour from 19 July. Any Skilled Migrant residence application lodged after this date will need to include a skilled job offer that pays at least $27 per hour. For some lower-skilled occupations, the minimum pay rate increases to $40.50 per hour.
Employers of migrant workers must become accredited from 1 November 2021 before work visa applications can be processed. Most employers are not accredited. Those that are accredited will have to roll into the new system when it goes live in late September.
January 9, 2023
Work Visa Rules
From mid-2020 (delayed)
Government to negotiate and introduce Industry Sector agreements setting minimum conditions for industries that heavily rely on overseas workers. Sectors include; residential care, meat processing, dairy, forestry, road freight transport, tourism, and hospitality. Construction, horticulture, and viticulture may also be included.
Skilled occupation "Dairy Cattle Farmer" spilt into three occupations. New occupations are: "Dairy Farm Manager", "Assistant Dairy Farm Manager" and "Dairy Herd Manager". Each sit at different skill levels, therefore, the award of points will depend on pay rates, job tasks and other requirements.
Dairy Cattle Farmer job offers are now assessed by three new occupation descriptions: Dairy Farm Manager, Assistant Dairy Farm Manager and Dairy Herd Manager. Pay rates and job tasks will determine how long a work visa is valid. Take advice.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool for six months (to be reviewed in April 2021). Invitations to Apply for Residence remain suspended. The last selection from the Skilled Migrant pool took place on 18/03/2020.
Introduction of "Oversupply" and "Undersupply" occupation lists used to assess Essential Skills Work Visa applications when a job offer pays less than the median wage.
Employers offering jobs to migrant workers where an occupation is on the "Oversupply" list will not get Skill Match reports issued by Work & Income. Solid evidence of genuine attempts to find a local to fill the job will be critical for approval.
Anyone invited by Immigration NZ to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category where their invitation is dated between 1 November 2019 and 15 April 2020 (inclusive) has now been granted an additional six months to lodge their residence application.
Regional Skill Shortage List goes live. 15 regions around New Zealand list occupations reflecting local skill shortages in each region. The labour market test is not mandatory provided the job offer matches the occupation and region plus the visa applicant has qualifications and/or work experience set out on the list.
The government has deferred the fortnightly selection of Expressions of Interest from the Skilled Migrant pool. This means Invitations to Apply for Residence are also suspended. Malcolm Pacific Immigration does not anticipate selections to resume until after the general election held on 17 October 2020.
Immigration NZ is now prioritising Skilled Migrant Residence applications where the main (principal) applicant meets the criteria:
Has employment paying double the median wage which is currently NZD $51 per hour OR NZD $106,800 per annum; OR Has New Zealand occupational registration and is required to hold valid registration to lawfully carry out their job.
The government recently added more occupations that are now to be regarded as skilled employment and may qualify for job offer points under the Skilled Migrant Category. In order to qualify for points, the job must be paying at least the current median wage (or higher for certain occupations) at the time the residence application is lodged.
From 1 November 2021 anyone who is not a NZ citizen must be fully vaccinated (unless exempt) before travelling to New Zealand. Fully vaccinated means your last dose of vaccine was given at least 14 days before travelling and it was an approved vaccine.
January 9, 2023
Applications for employer accreditation closed at the end of June 2021. Applications lodged before the closure date are still being processed. New applications for accreditation open on 9 May 2022. The process will be quite different to what employers have experienced in the past. Businesses will need to meet minimum standards.
January 9, 2023
2021 Resident Visa
Wednesday, 1 December is fast approaching and it is estimated that around 16,000 individuals and families can apply in the first wave for the 2021 Resident Visa opening next month. It is exciting for the thousands of people who have been waiting patiently to become residents that finally the finish line is in sight.
The first wave of applicants can apply from 1 December 2021. Around 16,000 applications are expected in this first wave. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. In total, the government expects approximately 110,000 applications that will include about 165,000 people.
The second group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 March 2022 are those who hold an eligible work visa and either meet "Settled", "Skilled" or "Scarce" as set out above. In total Immigration NZ estimate around 110,000 people will qualify to apply for this visa.
The first group of workers who can apply online for the 2021 Resident Visa that opens on 1 December 2021 are those that on 29/09/2021:
Had lodged a residence application under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) or Residence from Work category; OR Had lodged an SMC Expression of Interest (EOI) in the SMC pool that included at least one dependent child aged 17 or above.
People who were lawfully in NZ (or in Australia when the travel bubble closed between April and July 2021) on 29/09/2021 need to meet the visa eligibility criteria:
Workers in NZ who held an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and on the day they apply for residence; OR Applied for an eligible work visa on or before 29/9/2021 and the work visa application is subsequently approved and still hold an eligible work visa on the day they apply for residence.
The government has introduced a limited pathway to residence for people who are already living and working in New Zealand. Applications open on 1 December 2021 for the first wave of people eligible to apply. The second wave opens on 1 March 2022. The deadline to apply for the 2021 Resident Visa is 31 July 2022.
A small number of critical health workers (taking up jobs for six months or longer) or specialist workers (taking up jobs that are for longer than six months) who were granted border exemptions may also have eligibility for the 2021 Resident Visa. They will need to have arrived in NZ and lodge a 2021 Resident Visa application.
July 4. Applications open for the new Accredited Employer Work Visa.
July 31. Applications for the 2021 Resident Visa close.
August. Skilled Migrant Residence category scheduled to reopen.
August. A new pathway to residence for people earning 200% or more of the median wage.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
January 9, 2023
Policy Decision Key Dates in 2022
February 13. Fully vaccinated Kiwis plus certain other travellers entering NZ from the rest of the world* can skip MIQ.
April 30. The border starts a phased reopen to fully vaccinated foreign nationals.
April 30. The Productivity Commission reports back to the government on immigration settings.
May 9. Applications open for mandatory Employer Accreditation.
*Excludes high-risk countries.
January 9, 2023
Work Visa Categories Closing
The work visa categories set to close are:
Essential Skills Work Visa
Essential Skills Work Visa – approval in principle
Work to Residence (Talent – Accredited Employer)
Work to Residence (Long Term Skills Shortage)
Silver Fern Job Search Work Visa (closed October 2019)
Silver Fern Practical Experience Work Visa.
January 9, 2023
The Green List
In order to address labour shortages in New Zealand's crucial industries the NZ government has implemented a "Green List" of sought-after high-skill occupations. This list offers a prioritised pathway to residency.
There are qualification and/or occupational registration requirements to meet. Occupations are broken down into two tiers:
Tier 1 - direct pathway to residence
Tier 2 - requires a period of two years or longer before applying
The recent additions in May 2023 across many sectors can be found here