Citizenship in New Zealand
Citizenship is a technical term used in New Zealand for a specific status that can be obtained by permanent residents after they have lived in New Zealand for a number of years.
In comparison to the resident visa it will give you limited additional rights: Once you are a New Zealand citizen, you can live in New Zealand indefinitely, travel on a New Zealand passport and stand for parliament.
Other than that however, a resident visa will be the right visa for you when you start your life in New Zealand. It will give you comprehensive cover and full entitlement to live in New Zealand.
There are four ways of becoming a New Zealand citizen, only one of them is relevant for migrants: Citizenship by Grant.
1.Citizenship by birth in New Zealand
You are a New Zealand citizen by birth if you were born in New Zealand before 1 January 2006. If you are born here on or after 1 January 2006, you are a citizen only if at least one parent is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
2.Citizenship by descent
You are a New Zealand citizen if you are born overseas to a mother or father who is a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent, or if a mother or father is a New Zealand citizen by descent and you would otherwise by stateless.
You are a New Zealand citizen if you are legally adopted by a New Zealand citizen.
4.Citizenship by grant
As immigrant to New Zealand you can apply to the New Zealand government to be granted citizenship.
Become an New Zealand citizen by grant
You will have to meet the following criteria to be granted citizenship:
- you already have the right to be in NZ indefinitely (you're a permanent resident of NZ or Australia, or you’re Australian)
- you’ve lived here for at least the last 5 years
- you intend to keep living here
- you speak English, and
- you're of good character
Please note that citizenship is different to permanent residence. You can ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers if you are unsure about the process of becoming a New Zealand citizen.
If your application for citizenship is successful, you will need to attend a citizenship ceremony and take an oath or affirmation in English, at the ceremony you will get your certificate of citizenship.
New Zealand passport
You don't automatically get a New Zealand passport when you are made a citizen, but you can apply for one after you have received your citizenship certificate.
Can you have dual citizenship?
Dual citizenship is available in New Zealand, but whether or not it is applicable in your particular case will depend on the law of your home country.
If you are a German citizen and want to apply for New Zealand citizenship you might lose your German citizenship. A Beibehaltungsgenehmigung has to be obtained from the German state before an application for New Zealand citizenship can be lodged, to ensure that you will be allowed to remain a German citizen. Ask us how we can help you with your Beibehaltungsgenehmigung: Email Dr.Carsten Hallwass.
If you want to move to New Zealand and live here permanently, you need to apply for a permanent resident visa.
Read more about becoming a New Zealand resident through the Skilled Migrant Category:
- How can we help you with finding a job in New Zealand?
- The resident visa application process under Skilled Migrant Category
- Will you be able to claim points for your qualifications?
- Will you be able to claim bonus points for your professional expertise?
- Is your profession on one of the Skill Shortages Lists?
- Do you have to be registered in New Zealand?
- Will you meet the English language requirements?
- Have you reached the age limit of the SMC?
Find out more about working in New Zealand:
- Can we guarantee you that you will find a job in New Zealand if you are using our Job Search Service?
- Can you come to New Zealand to look for a job?
- Will you be able to find a job if you do not have a visa yet?
- Nailing the Job Interview
- The 28 best interview replies!
- Tactics for accessing the Hidden Job Market
- What is the next step once you have a job offer?
- Find an Accredited Employer
- Skill shortages in New Zealand
- How much will you be able to earn?
- Your job must be "skilled" to give you points
Find out about our proven track record: Happy Clients!
Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers
If you want to find out more about obtaining the right visa for New Zealand, contact Julia Cooke, Licensed Immigration Adviser at NZIC.Ask Julia for a Free Assessment