It is hard to find a more peaceful, safe and comfortable country to live in the world than New Zealand. A stunning variety of beautiful natural landscapes, including clean sandy beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes, geysers and much more, favorable climate, stable industrialized economy, high standard of living and social security of local residents, make the process of immigration to New Zealand for permanent residence a dream of tens of thousands of foreigners from around the world, many of whom seek to eventually obtain New Zealand citizenship.

Citizenship of New Zealand

The population of New Zealand in 2024 is about 5.2 million people. For the most part, local citizens are very friendly, fluent in English and well educated. New Zealand universities offer quality education, though very expensive. The country has created effective programs for business migration and good conditions for entrepreneurship. Permanent work in New Zealand is very popular with migrant workers from all over the world.

Of course, as in any other country, life in New Zealand has some negative sides. For example, high prices for real estate and some medical services, in particular, dental treatment. Significant remoteness from other countries makes it difficult to move frequently. There is a risk of powerful earthquakes. Nevertheless, the positive factors of living on these islands are much more. Next, let's find out how to get citizenship of New Zealand for foreigners in 2024.

Benefits of New Zealand citizenship

A large number of immigrants are legally in New Zealand for a long time and do not hurry to obtain citizenship. However, temporary or permanent residence in the country does not give full rights to foreigners on a par with locals. Let's highlight the main advantages of obtaining a New Zealand passport:

  • The ability to stay in New Zealand forever, without the risk of deportation or a ban on entering the country.

  • Unlimited right to participate in local and state elections as a voter and candidate.

  • Full access to the education system, including the possibility of receiving subsidies and grants.

  • Entitlement to economic, social and certain other preferences available only to New Zealand citizens. For example, the chance to take a job in the public sector.

  • Visa-free travel to most countries of the world, including the guarantee of protection from New Zealand diplomatic institutions during overseas travel.

Important. The legislation of New Zealand allows you to have dual citizenship.

Ways of obtaining New Zealand citizenship

New Zealand passports are regulated by the Citizenship Act of 1977 and are administered by the local Department of Home Affairs. In 2024, there are 3 main options to obtain citizenship of New Zealand. Let's consider the peculiarities of each of them.

By birth

Since 1949, any person born on the territory of New Zealand, as well as the islands of Tokelau, Niue and Cook Islands, automatically receives citizenship. Proof is a birth certificate with the relevant information. An exception is made for children of diplomatic officials. In the case of persons born in New Zealand after 2005, citizenship is granted only if one of the parents has a New Zealand passport or permanently resides in the country. The cost of processing in 2024 is NZ$105.

By descent

New Zealand citizenship by descent can be obtained by persons born outside the country if one of the parents is New Zealander by birth or holds a passport on the basis of granting. Also eligible for citizenship are British subjects who were living in New Zealand in 1948. The cost of applying for citizenship by descent in 2024 is NZ$295.7.

By grant (naturalization)

The most common way to apply for a New Zealand passport for foreigners who do not have ethnic New Zealand roots and were born outside the country is through the citizenship granting or naturalization process. You can check eligibility and apply for New Zealand citizenship by grant at the official website of the Department of Home Affairs –

Requirements for foreigners to naturalize in New Zealand

Naturalize in New Zealand

  1. Having the status of permanent resident of New Zealand or the right to indefinite stay (visa, residence permit).

  2. Residence in the country at the time of application for at least 5 years, of which 240 days annually and 1,350 days in total must be directly on New Zealand territory. In some cases, a minimum of 450 days residence in the last 20 months is allowed.

  3. Demonstration of a firm intention to reside in New Zealand in the future. The presence of permanent employment, real estate and other assets is checked. Exceptions – employment in international organizations or government agencies of New Zealand abroad.

  4. Every applicant for New Zealand citizenship over the age of 14 must be able to speak English at a sufficient level to perform everyday tasks. This means spoken English used for shopping, medical appointments and other everyday situations. Exceptions – disability or severe illness that prevents you from learning the language.

  5. No criminal record within the last 3 years, no jail time over 5 years, and no incarceration any time in the last 7 years. In general, good behavior and compliance with the laws of New Zealand, including traffic rules and payment of taxes is required.

The cost of applying for New Zealand citizenship on grant in 2024 is NZ$470.2 for adults and NZ$235.1 for children under 16.

New Zealand citizenship application procedure

After passing the preliminary test and submitting an application for citizenship to the New Zealand Department of Home Affairs, local officials thoroughly check the documents within two weeks and notify the foreigner about the need to provide additional information or clarifications, if any. No later than one month (sometimes a little more) from the date of submission of documentation, the applicant will receive a letter stating that the application has been approved.

In case of an official refusal to grant citizenship, the foreigner will receive a detailed description of the reasons and instructions on how to proceed in order to reapply. If initially everything is in order, then on average 4 months after the application is approved, the applicant is invited to a solemn ceremony of taking the oath and granting citizenship of New Zealand. Attendance is mandatory for all persons over 14 years of age. The foreigner is presented with a special certificate, on the basis of which a passport is subsequently issued.

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