Permanent Residence after 21 April 2005

If you applied for and received permanent residence after 21 April 2005 you are required to fulfil the following requirements.

You are required to have:

  • Been present in New Zealand for a total of at least 1,350 days during the 5 years immediately before you make your application; and
  • Been present in New Zealand for a total of at least 240 days in each of those 5 years, with a Permanent Resident Permit issued by the New Zealand Immigration Service; and
  • Fully met any conditions imposed by the New Zealand Immigration Service in regard to your Permanent Resident Permit.
  • Please Note: If you can show that there are exceptional circumstances that warrant a reduction, you may be considered as long as you have a minimum presence in New Zealand of 450 days with a Permanent Resident Permit in the 20 months before you make your application.


You must intend, if granted New Zealand citizenship, to continue to reside in New Zealand. Otherwise, you must intend to enter into or continue in one of the following: Crown Service under the New Zealand Government; or Service under an international organisation of which the New Zealand Government is a member; or Service in the employment of a person, company, society or other body of persons resident or established in New Zealand.

How is the requirement assessed?

You must indicate on the application form whether or not you intend to continue to reside in New Zealand. Important things you need to know Please note, if you travel overseas after lodging your application, the processing may not be completed until you return to New Zealand.


You must have sufficient knowledge of the English language.

How is the requirement assessed?

You must be able to demonstrate that you can manage independently in everyday situations. We will be looking at your standard of education and the nature of your employment and any face-to-face communication that you have had with the Citizenship Office. Important things you need to know We may require you to attend an English language interview. The purpose of this interview will be to assess your ability to meet the English language requirement.

Good Character

You need to be of good character. Please note that except in very rare circumstances you will be disqualified from meeting the good character requirement if:

  • You have been in prison for 5 years or more; or
  • You have been sentenced to an indefinite term of imprisonment capable of running for 5 years or more; or
  • Within the previous 7 years you were subject to a sentence of imprisonment of less than 5 years; or
  • Within the previous 3 years you were convicted of an offence but did not receive a sentence of imprisonment.

How is the requirement assessed?

To determine whether you are of good character the Minister will consider the answers you have given on your application form. We will also complete background checks with the New Zealand Police and other agencies.

Important things you need to know

Changes to answers given in the application form

If there is any change in your circumstances that affects the answers you give on your application form then you must let us know in writing as soon as possible. If you choose not to, your ability to get New Zealand citizenship or your ability to continue to be a New Zealand citizen, if granted, may be affected.

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004

Some people with previous criminal convictions in New Zealand may be able to conceal their criminal record under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004. A person may be eligible to conceal their record if they have:

  • Had no convictions within the last 7 years.
  • Never been in prison (or other custodial sentence).
  • Never been detained in a mental institution instead of being sentenced.
  • Not been convicted of certain specified offences (e.g. relating to sexual offences).
  • Paid all fines, costs, compensation and reparation imposed by the court.
  • Never been disqualified indefinitely from holding or obtaining a drivers licence.

If you are eligible under the clean slate scheme you may answer any question about your criminal record by stating that you do not have a criminal record. If you are uncertain whether you are able to conceal your record or would like further information please contact the Ministry of Justice.

Please note that the clean slate scheme only applies to convictions in New Zealand.  Any conviction you may have received outside New Zealand must be disclosed.