How to Become a New Zealand Citizen?


Getting a New Zealand citizenship can seem rather difficult from afar, but with the correct guidelines, it is extremely easy to obtain. In general, there are three broad ways of becoming a New Zealand citizen. The whole process of pursuing a New Zealand citizenship solely depends upon your eligibility. Let us look at the broad pathways available:

Citizenship by Birth

The babies born in New Zealand to parents, from which one parent [at the least] is a permanent resident or citizen are eligible for an automatic citizenship. The children who are born to New Zealand parents outside of the country are also eligible for citizenship by descent and need to register their status for obtaining a passport.

Citizenship by Grant

Citizenship by grant is the most common, famous, and direct pathway for migrants to become the citizens of New Zealand. It is somewhat similar to citizenship by naturalization where the applicant becomes eligible to become a citizen after living within the country for a specific period of time. For getting a New Zealand citizenship the applicant must have lived in New Zealand for at least five years on a valid resident visa like:

  • A family or partner visa
  • A skilled work visa
  • A Samoan quota resident visa
  • A pacific access category resident visa

Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by investment also falls under the umbrella of citizenship by grant. For this kind of citizenship, the applicant will need to meet the respective residency requirements and also fill out the application form. The interesting thing to note here is that in this kind of investment, rather than coming to New Zealand and living and working in New Zealand, an investment needs to be made. The investment can be in stocks, bonds, or in the form of property. The Active Investor Plus is a kind of visa that requires the applicant to make an investment of at least NZD $15 million and spend at least 117 days in New Zealand across the 4 year conditional visa period to become eligible for a New Zealand citizenship or permanent residency.

Now that we have discussed the basic pathways, let us also have a look at an exception here.if the prospect is an Australian citizen, then the person can live, travel, and work indefinitely in New Zealand without even applying for a work visa.

Let us now go through some basic eligibility requirements.

  1. The applicant must be living in New Zealand for at least five years.
  2. The applicant will need to have spent at least 240 days in New Zealand per year which makes it a total of 1350 days for the past five years.
  3. The applicant will need to demonstrate English language proficiency through an IELTS exam or a school certificate.
  4. The applicant also needs to be of good character with no previous criminal or offensive charges against him/her.
  5. The applicant also needs to provide a police background check on him/her from the country/countries he has previously lived in.
  6. With the application, the applicant needs to attach:
  • birth certificate
  • Existing passport
  • Passport photo which is less than 6 months old
  • Application form

It would be absolutely unfair if we do not discuss and skip the amazing benefits of having a New Zealand citizenship.

The benefits of having a New Zealand citizenship

  1. Right to obtain a New Zealand passport
  2. Right to receive social security benefits
  3. Right to access publicly funded healthcare system
  4. Sponsor a family member’s visa application
  5. Run for the public office
  6. Right to vote

Visa processing time and fee

After submitting the application, from 4 to 19 months can be taken by the Department of Internal Affairs to review it. This time depends on the ease with which your information can be automatically verified. If there have been changes in the name, any gaps in residency, or any missing documents, then the process can be delayed.

If the applicant’s application is indeed successful and the New Zealand citizenship is granted then the applicant will be required to attend an official citizenship ceremony. An oath and affirmation of allegiance will be required by the applicant and will be granted a citizenship certificate. The applicant can then apply for a New Zealand passport which takes around two weeks and costs around NZD $199. The whole process and guide listed above is also of the same and great help for the people seeking a detailed guide on immigration to New Zealand from Pakistan.

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