Once you’re settled in New Zealand you may decide you’d like to become a Citizen. As well as demonstrating your commitment to your new country, Citizenship gives you a range of benefits.
They include the right to travel freely overseas and return on a New Zealand passport, full access to economic rights, and full access to educational scholarships and awards that are reserved for New Zealanders.
There are two main routes – Citizenship by Descent and Citizenship by Grant. Both are administrated by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
You may qualify for Citizenship by Descent if you were born overseas but one of your parents was a New Zealand citizen.
But generally, Citizenship by Grant is the way for most migrants. It may pay to note the requirements for children under 16 are slightly different.
In general terms, the requirements are:
While the Department of Internal Affairs “reserves the right to interview all applicants”, very few applicants are actually called to one. You will however be required to attend a citizenship ceremony.
To see whether you’re likely to satisfy the requirements for New Zealand Citizenship you can use the online ‘citizenship calculation tool’.
There are various fees involved at various stages in the process. The Department of Internal Affairs has a list of the costs involved.
To help ensure you send the right documents when you apply, the Department of Internal Affairs has various Guide Sheets. They also have useful information on how to get documents from overseas if you don’t have the originals.
There are English language versions for people from English-speaking countries (including South Africa and Zimbabwe), for people from other African countries, and for people from India. Translated versions are available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Khmer, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese.