New Zealand Citizenship

If you have chosen New Zealand as your new home, you may now be thinking about becoming a New Zealand citizen. You can become a New Zealand citizen by meeting certain requirements, including:

  • Having permanent residence in New Zealand
  • Being settled in New Zealand for the last five years
  • Being able to speak English (certain exceptions apply)
  • Being of good character
  • Intending to reside permanently in New Zealand


To be eligible for a grant of New Zealand citizenship you must have permanent residence (or be an Australian citizen or permanent resident). Permanent residence means that the Workforce Group (Immigration Service) has allowed you to live in New Zealand permanently.

How is the requirement assessed?

Important! There has been a recent law change regarding permanent residence.

Responsibilities and Privileges

Becoming a New Zealand citizen means you will undertake responsibilities and you will enjoy the same privileges of a person born in New Zealand. You must be aware of these responsibilities and privileges.


  • To obey and promote the laws of New Zealand (this includes registration as a voter and fulfilment of tax obligations).
  • Not to act in a way that is against the interests of New Zealand.


  • Foreign travel and freedom to return to New Zealand on a New Zealand passport.
  • Full economic rights;
  • Some public service positions may only be held by New Zealand citizens;
  • Ownership of rural land is difficult for people who are not New Zealand citizens.
  • Full access to education;
  • Only New Zealand citizens qualify for;
    • subsidised fees;
    • some scholarships and awards;
    • financial assistance from some overseas universities.
    • Access to international sport;
      • Some sports require that international players are citizens of the country they represent.

Other Requirements for Applicants Aged Under 16

If you are under 16 throughout the entire application process and your parent(s) are New Zealand citizens or have applied and are able to fulfil the requirements for a grant of New Zealand citizenship, you may not have to meet the ordinary residence requirement.

Consent to apply

Applicants under 16 need the consent of their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to apply. If the consent of only one parent is available please contact us. Applicants under 14 years old are not required to meet the English, character and knowledge requirements. Successful applicants, over 14 years old must attend a public citizenship ceremony where they take the oath or affirmation of allegiance. Successful applicants under 14 may attend a ceremony if they wish.