In New Zealand, residence and citizenship are different. If you are granted residence, you retain your original citizenship. However, after you've lived here for a certain period of time you may apply for New Zealand citizenship and the right to hold a New Zealand passport.

New citizenship requirements

New citizenship requirements came into effect in April 2005. As a result, you may need to have lived in legally in New Zealand for five years (formerly three years) before applying for citizenship, depending on when you were granted residence.

For official New Zealand Government information on citizenship requirements, visit the Department of Internal Affairs website.

Citizenship by birth in New Zealand from 2006

From 1 January 2006, children born in New Zealand (or in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau) will acquire New Zealand citizenship at birth only if at least one of their parents:

  • is a New Zealand citizen; or
  • has permanent residency (i.e. is entitled to be in New Zealand or Australia indefinitely); or
  • is entitled to reside indefinitely in the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue.

For more information see the citizenship by birth questions and answers.

New Zealand allows its citizens to hold multiple citizenships. However, some other countries do not allow this. You should check with the authorities of the country/ies for which you currently hold citizenship before applying for New Zealand citizenship.

The Department of Internal Affairs administers citizenship in New Zealand.

Successful applicants attend a public citizenship ceremony where they take the oath or affirmation of allegiance.

If you are a New Zealand citizen but you wish to travel on a non-New Zealand passport, you can apply to INZ for an endorsement of your New Zealand citizenship. This will allow you to enter New Zealand as a citizen using a different passport.

Read more about the General Requirements for a Grant of Citizenship in New Zealand: The Department of Internal Affairs

Source: Immigration New Zealand