How can you become a citizen of New Zealand?

Citizenship in New Zealand

Citizenship is a technical term used in New Zealand for a specific status that can be granted to migrants after they have lived in New Zealand for a number of years.

Once you are a New Zealand citizen, you can live in New Zealand indefinitely and travel on a New Zealand passport.

When you start your life in New Zealand as a new migrant to our country, a Resident Visa will be the right option for you. It will give you comprehensive rights and full entitlement to live in New Zealand.   

Migrants can become New Zealand citizens 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 are of good character.

Please note that citizenship is different from permanent residence.

You can ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers if you are unsure about the process of becoming a New Zealand citizen.  

There are three other ways to become a New Zealand citizen, but none of them is available for migrants:

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 be stateless.

3. Adoption

You are a New Zealand citizen if you are legally adopted by a New Zealand citizen.

The Citizenship ceremony

If your citizenship application is successful, you will be invited to attend a citizenship ceremony and take an oath or affirmation in English. At the end of the ceremony, you will receive your certificate of New Zealand citizenship.

Getting a New Zealand passport

Once you have been granted New Zealand citizenship you can apply for a New Zealand passport. .

Can you have dual citizenship?

Dual citizenship is available in New Zealand, but whether or not you can obtain dual citizenship will depend on the law of your home country.

For example, if you are a German citizen and want to apply for New Zealand citizenship you might lose your German citizenship.

German citizens have to apply for a 'Beibehaltungsgenehmigung' from the German authorities to ensure that they can retain their German citizenship, before their application for New Zealand citizenship can be lodged.

Please feel free to ask us how we can help you with your New Zealand Citizenship application, by sending us our Free Assessment form and telling us about your plan to become a New Zealand citizen.

Read more about character:

Read more Visa FAQ's:

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Which Visa is Right for You?

Read more about the Points System:

Read more about health:

Read more about Critical Workers:

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The Skill Shortage Lists

Do you want to migrate to New Zealand?

Base your move on solid grounds: Ask us for a Free Assessment first!