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Citizenship - Raraunga

Requirements for New Zealand Citizenship

New Zealand Citizenship by Descent

General Requirements for a Grant of New Zealand Citizenship

Grants of New Zealand Citizenship in Other Situations

How to Apply For Grant of New Zealand Citizenship

Approved Translation Agencies

Citizenship Ceremonies

Citizenship by Grant Frequently Asked Questions

Denial and Confirmation of New Zealand Citizenship

Citizenship Application Fees and Forms

Important Notices

Citizenship Grants Policy Manual

How to Contact Us

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New Zealand Citizenship by Descent



If you were born outside New Zealand on or after 1 January 1978, and one of your parents was a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent at the time of your birth, then you may have a claim to New Zealand citizenship by descent. See details below for:

Additional information
  • If your parents were not married or in a civil union (recognised in New Zealand) when you were born you may be required to provide extra information. Please see our paternity information for more details.
  • Citizens by descent who were born before 1978 do not need to register their citizenship. However, you may wish to apply for a Confirmation of New Zealand Citizenship as official evidence that you are a New Zealander. Please contact us for more information.
  • If you were adopted outside New Zealand by a person who was a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent, you may be a New Zealand citizen by descent. However, the adoption must fit several criteria. Please contact us for more information.

Definition of a New Zealand Citizen "otherwise than by descent"
A person is likely to be a New Zealand citizen "otherwise than by descent" if they:
  • Were born in New Zealand; or
  • Were adopted in New Zealand on or after 1 January 1949 by a New Zealand citizen parent; or
  • Received the grant of New Zealand citizenship; or
  • Were born outside New Zealand on or after 1 January 1978 and one parent was a New Zealand citizen who was on overseas service; or
  • Were a British subject who was born before 1 January 1949 and was:
      o ordinarily resident in New Zealand throughout 1948; or
      o naturalised in New Zealand before 1949; or
      o born in Samoa before 1949; or
      o married to a man who automatically became a New Zealand citizen on 1 January 1949.
If you are not sure whether you or your parent(s) are New Zealand citizens otherwise than by descent or you want more information on citizenship otherwise than by descent please
contact us.

How to Register Citizenship by Descent
To register citizenship by descent you must:
The processing time to register citizenship by descent is 20 working days from receipt of a correctly completed application.


Documents Required
Most citizenship by descent applicants do not need to provide supporting documents such as, the claim parents New Zealand birth, marriage, civil union or citizenship certificates, to prove the claim to New Zealand citizenship by descent. In ALL cases the birth certificate of the person being registered is required. Please check the documents required below or
contact us for more information.

All documents supplied must be original documents (not photocopies). If you have an application form that states that you do need to provide the claim parents documents, then you must do so. Alternatively you can download a new form or contact us to send a new form to you.

Applicant's birth certificate
The birth certificate of the person being registered (which shows parents details) is required in ALL cases.

Applicant's passport
In addition to the documents required in the application form, all applicants 5 years of age and over are required to provide their most recent passport. For further information please
contact us.

Claim Parents Proof of Citizenship
You will not need to send documents if the claim parent:
  • Was born in New Zealand; or
  • Has New Zealand citizenship by grant; or
  • Has confirmation of New Zealand citizenship by other means.

    You will need to send documents if the claim parent:
  • Was born in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau.

    Proof of Marriage or Civil Union for Parent and/or Applicant
    You will not need to send documents if the claim parent or applicant:
  • Was married in New Zealand; or
  • Entered into a civil union in New Zealand.

    You will need to send documents if the claim parent or applicant:
  • Was married outside New Zealand; or
  • Entered into a civil union outside New Zealand (recognised in New Zealand).

    Change of Name by Statutory Declaration or Deed poll for Parent or Applicant
    You will not need to send documents if the claim parent or applicant:
  • Was born in New Zealand and changed their name in New Zealand.

    You will need to send documents if the claim parent or applicant:
  • Was born in New Zealand and changed their name outside New Zealand; or
  • Was born outside New Zealand and changed their name in or outside of New Zealand.

    Adoption Order
    This is required where the person being registered has been adopted outside of New Zealand.

    Deeds of Paternity
    These are required when the claim to New Zealand citizenship is through the father and the applicant's parents were not married or in a civil union (
    recognised in New Zealand) when the applicant was born.

    Current Passports of both Parents
    These are required only when deeds of paternity are to be completed.


    Establishing Paternity for New Zealand Citizenship Purposes
    Establishing paternity is the legal term for determining who is the father of a child under New Zealand law.

    If your claim to New Zealand citizenship by descent is through your mother then it is not necessary to establish who is the father. But if paternity is not established then your father's name will not be added to your records.

    If your claim to New Zealand citizenship by descent is through your father then we must establish paternity. In general, your father is assumed to be the man your mother was married to when you were born.

    If you were born in Australia, Fiji or the United Kingdom, and your parents were not married or in a civil union (
    recognised in New Zealand) when you were born, paternity is established by your father being named on your birth certificate. If your father is not named on your birth certificate or you were born in another country, paternity is usually established by getting both your parents to complete deeds of paternity forms.

    You will also need to provide both parents passports.


    Application Fees

    Registration of New Zealand Citizenship by Descent (if processed in New Zealand)NZ$200.00
    Registration of New Zealand Citizenship by Descent (if processed in Sydney)A$180.00
    Registration of New Zealand Citizenship by Descent (if processed in London)GBP73.00

    Payment must be made with the application. We recommend that you do not send cash in the mail.

    If you are applying from outside New Zealand and wish us to return your documents by courier please
    contact us for the current courier fee.

    Payment can be made by:
    • Credit Card - You can use Visa, Bankcard or Mastercard. Please complete the relevant section on the application form.
    • Personal Cheque - Personal cheques must be in New Zealand currency drawn against a New Zealand bank account. Make cheques payable to 'Department of Internal Affairs'.
    • Bank Draft - Bank drafts must be in New Zealand currency drawn against a New Zealand bank. Make bank drafts payable to 'Department of Internal Affairs'.
    • Money Order - Money orders are available from New Zealand Post shops. Make money orders payable to 'Department of Internal Affairs'.
    • EFTPOS/Cash - We accept EFTPOS and cash if you visit one of our offices.


    Application Forms
    Please see the form downloads below. Once the form is downloaded to your computer, you can print it, then complete it using a pen and return the form and accompanying material to our office.

    Application forms on this website are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. You need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view or download the form. You can download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from the
    Adobe site.

    Alternatively hard copy versions of these forms are available from the Citizenship Office.

    Note: As of 1 October 2005, the fee for the translation of documents is NZ$45.00 per document.
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    Last updated: 19/06/2006