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Identity Policy

(including Citizenship Policy)

The Department of Internal Affairs administers these three key acts:

  • The Passports Act 1992 establishes the right of New Zealanders to hold a New Zealand passport. It sets out the grounds for the issuing, recall and cancellation of passports (and other travel documents, such as Refugee Travel Documents), and defines offences concerning the misuse of passports and fraud in relation to passports.
  • The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 provides for the registration of births, deaths and marriages. Responsibility for these functions rests with a statutory officer, the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, whose obligations and powers are described in the Act. This is distinct from the Marriage Act 1955, which deals with the procedures and criteria for people marrying in New Zealand, for New Zealanders marrying overseas, and for the appointment of marriage celebrants. The Registrar-General is responsible to the Minister of Justice on these matters, as the Ministry of Justice is responsible for the Marriage Act.
  • The Citizenship Act 1977 sets out:
    - the rights of individuals to New Zealand citizenship by virtue of birth in New Zealand
    - the terms and conditions upon which migrants may apply for and be granted New Zealand citizenship
    - the extent of transmission of New Zealand citizenship to the overseas-born descendants of New Zealanders
    - the circumstances in which New Zealanders may renounce their citizenship
    - the circumstances under which individuals may be deprived of their New Zealand citizenship.

Our Identity Policy team is responsible for providing administrative and strategic policy advice to the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Government in relation to these Acts.

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Last updated: 12/09/2002