Visa News
September 13, 2022

How to Apply for Your New Zealand Citizenship

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.
How to Apply for Your New Zealand Citizenship
How to Apply for Your New Zealand Citizenship

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.

There are various benefits of New Zealand citizenship. You can travel in and out of the country freely using a New Zealand passport to travel around the world.

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:

Residence Criteria:

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.

Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest NZ immigration news and updates.

The Bottom Line

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.

Get started with a free assessment today

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