Process For Getting New Zealand Citizenship After Residency

Process For Getting New Zealand Citizenship After Residency

Getting a New Zealand Citizenship is a significant milestone for many migrants who have made this beautiful country their home. While obtaining Permanent Residency marks a substantial achievement, the journey to citizenship offers its own set of opportunities and requirements. 

This article serves as your definitive guide, outlining various pathways to obtaining New Zealand citizenship, ensuring that you are well-equipped with the knowledge needed to embark on this important endeavor.

Understanding the New Zealand Citizenship Pathways

New Zealand welcomes individuals into its citizenry through various pathways. Here, we explore the most popular routes:

Citizenship by Birth

Citizenship is automatically awarded to anyone born in New Zealand on or after January 1, 2006, provided that at least one of their parents is a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand. This straightforward pathway recognizes the birthright of individuals with familial connections to the country, ensuring that they are afforded the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship from birth.

Citizenship by Descent

Descendants of New Zealand citizens by birth or grant may qualify for citizenship by descent. This pathway allows individuals to apply for citizenship based on their parent’s citizenship status, offering a streamlined process for those with familial ties to New Zealand.

Citizenship by Grant

For those without direct familial ties to New Zealand, citizenship by grant provides a viable pathway to citizenship. This route is commonly pursued by individuals who have resided in New Zealand for a specified period and have demonstrated their commitment to the country’s laws and customs. To be eligible, applicants typically need to have held a resident visa for a minimum period, usually five years, and have met specific criteria regarding their time spent in the country.

Citizenship by Adoption

Individuals who have been adopted by a New Zealand citizen may also be eligible for citizenship by adoption. This pathway acknowledges the familial bonds created through adoption, providing a means for individuals to secure citizenship based on their relationship with a New Zealand citizen.

Citizenship for Special Circumstances

In specific situations, individuals classified as stateless or with exceptional ties to New Zealand may be considered under discretionary provisions. While these cases are assessed on an individual basis, they highlight the flexibility of New Zealand’s citizenship framework in accommodating diverse situations.

Residency Requirement for Citizenship by Grant

To qualify for citizenship by grant, a minimum of five years on a New Zealand resident visa is mandatory. However, this residency isn’t merely about holding the visa. Here are some of the most important aspects to consider:

Physical Presence: You must be physically present in New Zealand for a total of at least 1,350 days during this five-year period.

Annual Residency Requirement: Additionally, you must be present in New Zealand for at least 240 days in each of those five years.

Meeting the Additional Criteria:

Beyond the residency threshold, you’ll need to demonstrate:

English Proficiency: The ability to understand and converse in English is essential.

Good Character: Upholding New Zealand’s laws and values is a prerequisite.

Check Your Eligibility

To ensure a smooth application process, it’s essential to verify that you meet the eligibility requirements for New Zealand citizenship. Utilize the self-check tool provided by the New Zealand government to confirm your eligibility status.

Check Your Eligibility for NZ Citizenship

Preparing Your Documents

Gathering the necessary documents is a crucial step in applying for New Zealand citizenship by grant. Here’s what you’ll need:

Birth Certificate or Birth Record: Proof of your birth, which may include additional documentation depending on your circumstances.

Passport or Travel Document: Valid identification documentation.

Additional Documents: Depending on your situation, you may be required to provide additional documents to support your application.

Identity Referee or Witness: An individual who can vouch for your identity and support your application.

Ensure that all documents are up-to-date and accurately reflect your personal information.

The Application Process

After gathering all the required documents, it’s time to begin the application process.  You have the flexibility to apply online, in person, or by post, making it convenient for applicants of all preferences. The application fees are listed below:

Adults (Aged 16 and Over): $470.20

Children (Aged 15 and Under): $235.10

The Department of Internal Affairs, not Immigration New Zealand, handles citizenship applications. The process entails:

Submitting a Formal Application: Ensure you follow the prescribed application format.

Waiting Period: Upon submission of your application, anticipate a waiting period of 3 to 14 months to receive a decision on your New Zealand citizenship. While the timeframe may vary, rest assured that your application is being processed diligently.

Citizenship Ceremony: A pivotal event where you pledge allegiance to New Zealand through an oath or affirmation.

Obtaining a New Zealand Passport: Upon receiving your citizenship certificate, typically during the ceremony itself, you can apply for a New Zealand passport.

Important Note: Most New Zealand citizens can leverage their status to live and work in Australia.

Embracing Dual Citizenship

While New Zealand embraces dual or multiple citizenship, your home country might not reciprocate this policy. In such scenarios, renouncing your birth citizenship might be necessary to become a New Zealand citizen.

Every situation is unique. To navigate the intricacies of your specific case, consulting a Licensed Immigration Adviser is highly recommended. Talk to our best immigration lawyer in New Zealand and Accredited immigration advisers at Immigration Chambers who are not just experienced in all immigration law matters, but also well versed in new immigration laws and restrictions. 


Obtaining New Zealand citizenship is a significant achievement that opens doors to a myriad of opportunities and benefits. Whether you are eligible for citizenship by descent, birth, grant, adoption, or through special circumstances, each pathway represents a unique journey towards integration and belonging in this diverse and welcoming nation. By understanding the various pathways and requirements outlined in this guide, you can embark on your citizenship journey with confidence, knowing that you are well-prepared to navigate the process successfully. Assess your eligibility for a visa today and take the first step towards realizing your dream of becoming a New Zealand citizen!


How to apply for NZ Citizenship?