Passports & visas 

When will I need a passport?

You need a passport to travel to any other country, even babies need passports. To get a New Zealand passport you must be a New Zealand citizen. A passport is also official photographic identification within New Zealand, and can be used along with a driver licence or 18+ ID card when formal identification is required.

If you are planning on overseas travel, it’s important to check in advance that your passport (and those of the people you will be travelling with) is not going to expire within six months of your date of departure, as some countries won’t allow you to enter without at least six months remaining on your passport.

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How do I get a passport?

You can apply for a new adult or child passport, or for renewal of an adult passport, online or on a printed application form. An application for a child’s first passport must be done on a printed application form.

You can find the online application forms and downloadable printed forms on the Passports website, along with more information about who can and can’t apply online.

If you are aged under 16 years, your parent or guardian will need to apply on your behalf. If you are getting a passport for specific travel, make sure you apply well in advance of your departure date.

You will need a RealMe account if you are applying online, but you can create one as part of the passport application process.

If you are using a printed application for you'll need:

  • two colour passport photos which meet the passport photo requirements
  • someone willing and able to be your proof of identity witness - if you’re applying for a new passport they will need to complete a section of the form
  • to pay an application fee, the amount of which varies depending on whether it is for an adult or a child, and where you send your application. You can pay by credit card, debit card, cheque or money order.

You may need to supply other documentation as well. This will depend on your citizenship status, whether you have previously held a NZ travel document, whether your name has changed since your previously held NZ travel document, and whether your previous passport was lost or stolen. You will find the details on the Passports website.

Once you have sent in your passport application, you need to allow up to ten working days, plus delivery time. You can apply for an urgent passport if you need it sooner.

If you want to know more about getting a New Zealand passport or need help applying for a passport, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help. You can also contact the nearest Passport Office, or you can visit the Passport Office website.

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Who can be a witness for my passport application? 

It has to be a person who:

  • is aged over 16 years,
  • holds a valid New Zealand Passport, 
  • has known you for at least one year but is not related to you, married to you, or living with you,
  • is able to be phoned between 9am and 5pm and
  • is willing to provide personal details such as their date of birth and home address.

For a new passport application, the witness (identity referee) has to complete the Witness section of your application form and the back of each of your passport photos as proof of your identity.

For a renewal of an adult passport, the identity referee doesn't have to fill in any part of the application themselves. You just need to get their details and fill in the appropriate section of the form.

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I can't find a New Zealand passport holder to be my identity witness. What can I do?

If you really can't find anyone who can be the identity witness (also known as an identity referee) for your passport application, contact the Passport Office for advice. 

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I want to get passports for my children. Does the other parent (my ex) need to give consent?

Assuming the children are younger than 16 years old (otherwise they can apply for adult passports themselves), the consent section of each passport application only needs to be signed by either:

  • their mother or 
  • their father or
  • their legal guardian.

A step-parent cannot give consent unless they have been appointed the children’s legal guardian by the court or in a parent’s will.

However, if you are planning on taking your children overseas, you will need to consult the other parent. If the other parent objects to your plans, they would have the right to get a court order preventing your children’s passports from being issued.

For general information about applying for children’s passports visit the Passport Office website.

You can read  about orders preventing the removal of a child from New Zealand on our Parenting after separation website and on the Passports website.   

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What should I do if my passport is stolen or lost while I'm travelling?

Firstly, you will need to report the loss or theft to the local police, and obtain a police report with a police reference number.

Next, contact your nearest NZ Passport office or NZ Embassy, High Commission or Consulate and make a Declaration for a Lost or Stolen New Passport or Travel document. Once notified, they can cancel your lost or stolen passport to prevent it from being used by someone else.

You can then apply for a replacement passport. If you need it for urgent travel, see the next question

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How can I get a passport urgently?

If you urgently need a passport to travel within two days, it’s best to call the Passports Office: 

  • 0800 2250 50 from New Zealand; or
  • 00 64 (4) 463 9360 (if calling from overseas).

It takes around three business days, otherwise it can be quicker to simply apply for your passport online and pick it up from a Passport office in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Sydney or London.

If you are not in New Zealand, Australia or the UK, you can apply for an Emergency Travel Document and submit it to the New Zealand Embassy in the country you are in. More about getting a passport for urgent travel, including getting an Emergency Travel Document, is on the Passports website

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What is a visa, and do I need one to travel overseas?

A visa is permission to enter a country on certain conditions, and can be a stamp in your passport or an electronic record if you have an e-passport. There are many different sorts of visa, for example a visitors’ visa that restricts the amount of time you can spend in a country and what you can do when you’re there, a work visa that allows you to work in another country for certain periods, or a student visa.

To get a visa, you need to make an application to an official from the country you plan to travel to (for example at that country's embassy). There is a contact list of embassies and foreign officials on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

If you hold a NZ passport, you can normally stay in the United Kingdom for up to six months without a visa, and you normally won't need a visa to visit in Australia.

For travel to other countries, it is best to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit.

Remember that even if you don’t need a visa to visit a particular country, you will probably need a visa if you intend to work or study there, so it is always best to consult with the local embassy before making any plans to live overseas.

If you need to obtain a visa, it's a good idea to do it well in advance of your travel date to allow time for them to process your application.

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Can someone visit New Zealand without a visa?

People who have a current passport from a country on the visa waiver list do not require a visa to visit New Zealand for three months or less.

British passport holders can visit for up to six months without a visa, and there are no visa requirements for Australian citizens and permanent residents. 

Even if a visa is not required for entry to New Zealand, you will still have to show:

  • that you can support yourself while in New Zealand;
  • that you meet the character requirement; and
  • evidence that you’ll leave New Zealand, such as plane tickets home.

If you want to work or study in New Zealand, you will need a work or study visa. See our Citizenship and Immigration pages for more information.