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How to get New Zealand citizenship after residency?

A commitment to New Zealand.

Although gaining Permanent Residency in New Zealand is many a migrant’s ultimate goal, some will eventually proceed to a citizenship application and get a New Zealand passport. So, what is the process from permanent residency to citizenship?

Check the different steps

There are various ways to become a New Zealand citizen.

Citizenship by Descent

If you were born overseas but have at least one parent who is a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant, you might be eligible for citizenship by descent. This means you can apply for citizenship based on your parent's citizenship status.

Citizenship by Birth

If you were born in New Zealand on or after January 1, 2006, you are automatically a citizen by birth if at least one of your parents is a New Zealand citizen or resident.

Citizenship by Grant

If your parents are not New Zealand citizens, you are likely to seek citizenship by grant.

This is the most common pathway for individuals who have lived in New Zealand for a certain period of time. To be eligible, you typically need to have held a resident visa for a specified period, usually five years, and have met certain criteria such as time spent in the country and commitments to New Zealand's laws and customs.

More on gaining residency

Citizenship by Adoption

If you were adopted by a New Zealand citizen, you may be eligible for citizenship.

Special Circumstances

In some cases, individuals with special circumstances such as stateless persons or those with a close connection to New Zealand may be eligible for citizenship under discretionary provisions.
You will need to be on a New Zealand residence-class visa for at least 5 years, spending a minimum amount of time each year and over these 5 years, in order to be eligible for New Zealand citizenship.

How can I get New Zealand citizenship by grant?

New Zealand citizenshipTo apply for citizenship by grant, you must have been a resident for at least 5 years, and only travelled out of New Zealand for a short amount of time each year. You must therefore have been present in New Zealand with a Resident visa for a total of at least 1,350 days and for at least 240 days in each of those 5 years. You must also be able to understand and speak English and meet character requirements.

Citizenship applications are assessed by the Department of Internal Affairs, not Immigration New Zealand. These involve an application in the prescribed manner, followed by an official ceremony where the applicant takes an oath or affirmation of allegiance to New Zealand. Once you get your certificate of citizenship, usually during the ceremony itself, you may then apply for a New Zealand passport.

Most New Zealand citizens can also live and work in Australia: see this link for more details.

Can I get dual citizenship?

While New Zealand allows dual/multiple citizenship, your country of origin may not. This would mean you might have to renounce your citizenship of birth in order to become a New Zealand citizen.

More on dual citizenship

Each person's situation is different. Discuss you case with a Licensed Immigration Adviser today.

Different steps

In most cases, people will become New Zealand citizens through several steps:

  1. a temporary (work) visa
  2. a resident visa
  3. a permanent resident visa after 2 years as a resident
  4. eventually apply for New Zealand citizenship after 5 years on a New Zealand resident visa.

Assess your eligibility for a visa today!