Citizenship 


Where do I get my birth certificate? 
How long does it take to get a birth certificate?
How do I become a New Zealand citizen?
How long must I have lived in New Zealand before I am eligible for New Zealand citizenship?
Can I be a NZ citizen and a citizen of another country at the same time?
Although I live in New Zealand I am not a citizen. How do I prove this when I apply to renew my overseas passport?


Where do I get my birth certificate? 

You can call Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) on 0800 22 77 77 (or from outside NZ call
64 4 463 9362), as in many cases you will be able to order it over the phone (in which case you will need to pay with your credit card or debit card).

If you call BDM and are told that you can't order it over the phone, you can order one by filling in a request for a birth certificate and having it signed by a trusted referee. 

A trusted referee is someone at least 16 years old, who is one of the following:

  • Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages
  • Commonwealth representative
  • Member of the Police
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Registered medical doctor
  • Kaumatua
  • Registered teacher
  • Applicant’s employer
  • Minister of religion
  • Lawyer
  • Notary Public
  • New Zealand Honorary Consul

A referee cannot be:

  • Your partner or
  • A relative or part of your family group or
  • A person who lives at the same address as you

You can post the signed form and payment to your nearest Births, Deaths and Marriages office.

Another option, if you have a realme login, is to order it online through Births Deaths and Marriages Online. (realme is a logon service which allows you to securely access multiple Government online services with a single username and password.)

You can call Births, Deaths and Marriages on 0800 22 52 52 if you have any questions.


How long does it take to get a birth certificate?

From the time your order for the birth certificate is received, it usually takes about 8 working days for the certificate to be issued.  You will also need to factor in delivery time.  Birth certificates cannot be issued until a birth has been registered.


How do I become a New Zealand citizen?

There are four ways you can be a New Zealand citizen:

Citizenship by birth in New Zealand

  • you are a NZ citizen if you’re born before 1 January 2006 in NZ, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau or the Ross Dependency. 
  • if you are born on or after 1 January 2006 in NZ, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau or the Ross Dependency, then you’re a citizen if at least one of your parents are a New Zealand citizen or entitled to be in New Zealand indefinitely at the time of the birth.

Adoption

  • you can become a New Zealand citizen if you’re legally adopted by a NZ citizen

Citizenship by descent

  • you are a New Zealand citizen if you’re born overseas on or after 1 January 1978 to a parent who is a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent

Citizenship by grant

  • you can apply to the New Zealand government for a grant of citizenship

If you want to become a New Zealand Citizen, you will need to apply to the New Zealand Citizenship Office of the Department of Internal Affairs for a grant of citizenship.  This usually involves:

  • Paying an application fee
  • Providing
    • a birth certificate
    • a marriage certificate or a marriage dissolution order
    • evidence of any formal name changes
    • the documents or passport you used to enter New Zealand

You may be asked to have an interview with an Internal Affairs representative.

The application will normally take approximately four months to assess, and you’ll be sent a letter with your outcome. To find out more, citizenship requirements and application forms are available online at the Department of Internal Affairs website.


How long must I have lived in New Zealand before I am eligible for New Zealand citizenship?

To be eligible for New Zealand citizenship by grant, you must have:

  • New Zealand residence (i.e. hold a residence permit, a residence visa, or a permanent residence visa issued by Immigration New Zealand, or you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident) and
  • had New Zealand residence for the last five years, and
  • lived in New Zealand for at least 1350 days - with New Zealand residence - during the five years immediately before your application, and
  • lived in New Zealand for at least 240 days - with New Zealand residence - in each of those five years

So, if you have lived in New Zealand for five years but only had New Zealand residence for three years, you would probably not yet be eligible for New Zealand citizenship. Similarly, you would probably not be eligible if you have had New Zealand residence for four years but spent most of that time out of the country.

Can I be a New Zealand citizen and a citizen of another country at the same time?

While New Zealand lets you have dual citizenship, the other country’s regulations might not allow it. So to get a dual citizenship, it will depend on your situation. More information on citizenship requirements and application forms are available online.
 

Although I live in New Zealand I am not a citizen. How do I prove this when I apply to renew my overseas passport?

Some countries do not allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship e.g. China. If this applies to you, your country’s passport office may ask for proof that you are not a New Zealand citizen when you apply to have your overseas passport renewed.

You can apply for a Denial of New Zealand Citizenship document from the Department of Internal Affairs Citizenship Office. To do this, complete an application form and send it to your nearest Citizenship office. You’ll need to include a photocopy of the inside of your passport - the page which has your photo on it - and the fee. See the Citizenship website for more details.