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New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs : Services : Grants of New Zealand Citizenship in Other Situations Skip to Access Key assignments for this site
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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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Grants of New Zealand Citizenship in Other Situations




If are unable to fulfil all of the general requirements for a grant of New Zealand citizenship, you may still qualify if you can prove that one of the following situations applies to you. You are a: Each of these situations is described in more detail below.

Person in exceptional circumstances
The Minister of Internal Affairs is able to grant citizenship to a person who has exceptional circumstances, if the Minister is satisfied it would be in the public interest to do so.

The exceptional circumstances requirement is very difficult to meet. The public interest requirement means that the granting of citizenship must provide some "advantage" or "benefit" to New Zealand.

An assessment is made on a case-by-case basis. Generally, we do not accept holiday travel as an exceptional circumstance.

If you feel your circumstances are exceptional and that your getting citizenship would benefit New Zealand please
contact us to discuss your case.

The Minister may also reduce the ordinary residence requirement or waive the requirement that an applicant be able to speak English in certain situations, including where an applicant would suffer undue hardship in meeting the requirement. The Minister considers all of these cases on their own merit. The Citizenship Office recommends that people should not rely on these provisions and should only make an application where they feel they can meet all the requirements of the Act.
Person born or adopted outside New Zealand between 1 January 1949 and 31 December 1977 whose mother was a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent when you were born

A person born outside New Zealand on or after 1 January 1949 and before 1 January 1978 and whose mother was a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent when they were born is eligible for a grant of New Zealand citizenship.

To apply for a grant of New Zealand citizenship you need to complete an
application form, pay the fee and supply the following original documents:
  • Your full birth certificate (showing your parent's names);
  • Any change of name documents for you, if applicable (e.g. deed poll or marriage certificate);
  • Your mother's full New Zealand birth certificate or citizenship certificate;
  • Any change of name documents for your mother, if applicable (e.g. deed poll or marriage certificate).

Adoption Overseas
If you were adopted overseas on or after 1 January 1949 and before 1 January 1978 and your adoptive mother was a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent when you were adopted you may also be eligible for a grant of citizenship. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances.

Person born or adopted outside New Zealand to a New Zealand parent
People born or adopted outside New Zealand on or after 1 January 1949 and before 1 January 1978 whose father was a New Zealand citizen otherwise than by descent, may be citizens by descent. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances.

People born or adopted outside New Zealand since 1 January 1978 to a New Zealand parent may be citizens by descent.

Citizen of Samoa
Any applicant who is a Samoan citizen may be considered for a grant of New Zealand citizenship under the
Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982. In order to be eligible under this Act you must prove that:
  • You are a Samoan citizen; and

EITHER
You have lawfully entered New Zealand on or after 15 September 1982 and can provide evidence that you are entitled to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.

OR
You were present in New Zealand at any time on the day of 14 September 1982. If this is the case you must produce the following as evidence:
  • Your passport recording that you entered New Zealand before 14 September 1982 and left after that date or have continued to live in New Zealand; AND/OR
  • A letter from your employer confirming that employment records establish that you were at work on 14 September 1982; AND/OR
  • A letter from your school confirming that the school records establish that you attended school on 14 September 1982.
To help us establish whether you fulfil any of the above requirements you must answer the relevant question in the application form. If you cannot fulfil the above requirements you may still qualify for a grant of New Zealand citizenship under the Citizenship Act 1977.

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Last updated: 13/09/2005