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Passports - Uruwhenua

Click here for Maori language version

(Statement on the use of macrons)

Service overview

The New Zealand Passports Office issues passports to New Zealand citizens in accordance with the Passports Act 1992. Except as provided in the Act, every New Zealand citizen is entitled as of right to a New Zealand passport. It takes 10 days to process a standard application, or three days if you use our urgent service.
The requirements for applying for a passport are different depending on whether:
New! Changes to New Zealand Passport and Citizenship Overseas Service From 1 April 2004 New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) posts will no longer issue full validity manual passports or first time passport applications. The MFAT posts will also no longer process applications for citizenship by descent, though they will continue to be issued by the Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand, Sydney and London. These changes are being implemented to improve the security and integrity of the New Zealand passport and streamline citizenship by descent application procedures.

New Fees Effective 1 September 2003
Important notice for holders of New Zealand passports issued in the period 1993 to 1997

Important notice for New Zealand passport holders visiting the United States
The US State Department has announced that from 26 October 2004 all New Zealand citizens travelling to, or through, the United States of America (USA) must have a machine-readable passport to satisfy US visa waiver requirements. The visa-waiver programme allows citizens of certain countries to enter the USA without a visa for a specified period, subject to the rules of their programme.

The US visa-waiver programme applies to passport holders from 27 countries, including New Zealand, if they are travelling to, or through, the USA for travel or business purposes for a maximum period of 90 days. These countries are defined by the USA as 'visa-waiver' countries.

All New Zealand citizens travelling to, or through, the USA from 26 October 2004 who do not hold a machine-readable passport must either:
  • Obtain a machine-readable passport or,
  • Obtain a US entry visa, which currently costs US$100. In this situation, keep your current non machine-readable passport and apply for a US entry visa. Information on how to apply for a US entry visa is provided on the US Embassy website at: www.usembassy.org.nz.
Passports that are not machine-readable will continue to qualify holders for the visa waiver programme until 26 October 2004. Holders of such passports are advised to apply for a machine-readable passport well in advance of that date if they intend to travel to the USA. The Department of Internal Affairs issues machine-readable passports at all its offices in New Zealand as well as in Sydney and London. Passports issued at Ministry of Foreign Affairs' offices are not machine readable.

To obtain a machine-readable passport send your application and fee to the New Zealand Passport Office in Wellington. If it is more convenient you may send your application and fee to the Sydney Passport Office, or the London Passport Office (see Application Form downloads below).

Credit card payment is only available through the Wellington, Sydney and London Passport Offices. Refer to "How to Contact Us" in this website for the relevant postal address.

If you are unsure if your current passport is machine-readable, check the following guidelines.

If your passport is a machine-readable version then the passport number will begin with:
  • either the letter X, L, N, or F
  • or the letters AA or AB
If your passport is a non machine-readable version then the passport number will begin with:
  • either the letter J
  • or the letter M
If you are still unsure, contact our Free Phone Number 0800 22 50 50 (+64 4 4748100 if calling from outside New Zealand), or ask your travel agent who should be able to advise you.

Most non machine-readable passports are likely to have been issued outside New Zealand, Australia or the United Kingdom.

Non machine-readable passports remain a valid travel document and can continue to be used for entry into other countries according to existing visa arrangements.

What should you do if you have a non machine-readable passport or want to obtain a new machine-readable passport?
Download the appropriate New Zealand passport application form (see Application Form downloads below).

There are different fees for applications depending on whether they are lodged in New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom or at a New Zealand Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. Information on current fees is listed in each of the New Zealand passport application forms referred to above. If you require further information about passport fees contact us.

Application Forms

Once the application form is downloaded to your computer, you can print it, then complete it using a pen and return the form and accompanying material to us by mail. Forms are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. You can download a free version from the Adobe site. Hard copy versions are available from the Passports Office.

Application Form DownloadsIf you cannot download a form, or would like a paper form sent to you, please contact us.

Relevant law
Passports Act 1992 and subsequent amendments - 1987, 1991, 1994, 2002, 2003 (Search statutes by alphabetical listing)

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Last updated: 26/03/2004