There isn’t a straightforward legal procedure that can open the way to obtaining the New Zealand citizenship by marriage, but this can be achieved through several visa types.
Thus, if you want to obtain New Zealand citizenship through your partnership/marriage with a local citizen, then you will want to apply for specific visa types that will be presented in this article.
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What are the ways to acquire New Zealand citizenship?
From the start, you should know that New Zealand recognizes three main ways to gain citizenship, namely the citizenship by descent (which means that you can provide information that you are related to a New Zealand citizen), by birth (obtained by those born here or born overseas from New Zealand parents) or by grant.
The citizenship by grant is the one which can offer the right to New Zealand citizenship by marriage, as the citizenship by grant prescribes several ways to acquire citizenship for foreigners who have become permanent residents and who are not of New Zealand descent.
For more details, please address to our immigration lawyer in New Zealand.
Citizenship by marriage is a legal option that is available for foreigners across the world, without any limitations, as long as the respective foreigners meet all the requirements.
Thus, the rules are the same if you immigrate from USA to New Zealand to reunite with your partner/spouse or you relocate here for the same purpose from European countries or from elsewhere.
Our team can present the rules of law regulating this legal procedure and you can also rely on our lawyers if you need information on the requirements for residency in New Zealand that you must fulfill.
All foreign applicants must comply with certain rules regarding their residency, amongst numerous other basic conditions that must be proven in the citizenship application process.
When can a foreigner apply for a partnership visa in New Zealand?
The right to immigration to New Zealand for the purpose of becoming a citizen based on the relationship with a New Zealand citizen can be granted as long as there is a clear proof on having a relationship with the said partner.
The New Zealand immigration law defines a partnership as a relationship between two persons of the same or opposite sex and who can prove their relationship is a civil union, a marriage or a stable relationship.
This is why the New Zealand immigration authorities will want to obtain specific evidence, in the form of documents or other things that can be used as evidence, on the relationship of the two persons.
This is a mandatory step when the foreign partner will apply for a partner visa, that can open the way to New Zealand citizenship by marriage.
What are the minimum conditions for the grant of New Zealand citizenship?
If you want to migrate to New Zealand for the purpose of obtaining citizenship, regardless if you want to obtain it by marriage, work or other types of situations that are prescribed by the national law, you are legally required to comply with minimum conditions, which will be presented in this section.
Please be aware that you must meet the following:
- adult applicants must have an age of minimum 16 years old at the moment of application;
- citizenship can be granted after becoming a permanent resident (which means that the person has been living here for at least 5 years);
- here, there are 2 scenarios – you either have spent at least 1,350 days in New Zealand in those 5 years, or either 240 days per year, in the 5 year period;
- you are able to pay a visa processing fee of $470,20;
- you have a witness that also has an age of at least 16 years old, according to the requirements of the New Zealand Government.
Regardless if you apply for New Zealand citizenship by marriage or through other legal means, you must also prove that you are of good character, that you have a general understanding of the responsibilities and the privileges provided by the New Zealand citizenship, but also that you can speak English, which is the national language of the country.
Obtaining visa for New Zealand citizenship by marriage
There are few types of visas that one can apply for in the process of immigration in New Zealand.
For the entire list of visas available for this particular situation, you can request more details from our immigration lawyer in New Zealand. In the following section, we will present information on the Partner of a New Zealand Resident Visa.
You can apply for this visa if your partner is a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. Also, one can apply for this visa in the case in which the couple has been living outside New Zealand for more than 5 years, and one partner is a New Zealand citizen.
Please mind that if the latter condition applies, the partner who is a New Zealand citizen must be overseas at the moment when the application is made or, if he or she has returned to New Zealand, the date of return must of maximum 3 months prior to the moment when the application is made.
Through this visa, the applicant can obtain the right to permanent residency in New Zealand and, ultimately, the right to citizenship. It is a visa that provides numerous rights, including of working and studying here, but also of bringing children with an age below 24 years old to live in New Zealand.
The children with an age of maximum 24 years old have to be dependent children – and they do not have to apply for separate visas, as they can be included in the same visa application. For more details on other ways to acquire New Zealand citizenship by marriage, please contact our immigration lawyer.
Assessment of the partnership under the partner visa
Persons who want to apply for the Partnership visa will need to comply with many rules. Some of them refer to providing enough evidence on the partnership of the spouses (if marriage is involved).
The New Zealand immigration authorities will look at the following:
- the duration of the partnership (relationship, marriage or other types of recognized partnerships);
- how other people close to the 2 view this relationship and if they know about its existence;
- the commitment the partners show to each other into having a long lasting relationship;
- children arrangements – if the couple has children.
Besides these, the living arrangements are of importance, thus, the couple will have to provide evidence on the next:
- information about the place where the couple lives together;
- the period of time since the couple has been living together;
- information regarding ownership of the property – the couple owns together a property, the property is owned only by a partner, the property is a rental, etc.;
- details concerning the financial situation of each partner, and how the financial obligations are met by each partner and whether the partners support each other from a financial point of view;
- details related to the daily life together, the division of the household tasks, etc.
As an applicant of a Partner visa, which can open the pathway to New Zealand citizenship by marriage, you are also required to provide information concerning your health.
In general, a visa applicant must present some documents that attest a general state of good health. For this, medical examinations are imposed. Here, 2 situations can appear:
- the applicant needs only a medical examination;
- the applicant will also need a chest x-ray.
Whether a person must fulfill just 1 or the 2 conditions varies based on the place where the person arrives from, as well as the type of visa he or she needs (in general, for those who arrive here for visas issued on a short-term basis, of maximum 6 months, the 2nd condition is not necessary).
In general, the 2nd condition is imposed to persons who migrate to New Zealand from countries where the incidence for tuberculosis is not low.
However, please mind that foreigners who arrive here under visas that grants them the right to permanent residency, the obligation to meet the 2 health requirements will be maintained, regardless of the place where the person arrived from.
What is the data on citizenship in New Zealand?
The Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand gathers the data on the persons who have become citizens of this country. Statistically speaking, Australian citizens have the highest rate of acquiring citizenship.
This is due to the fact that New Zealand and Australia have very close connections, and Australians can easily gain citizenship in New Zealand if they had a parent who was a New Zealand citizen.
According to the statistics, in 2020, 31,870 foreign nationals acquired citizenship in New Zealand. Compared to the previous years, this accounted for a decrease, which was connected with the Covid-19 restrictions and social issues (in 2019, 44,413 persons acquired citizenship).
From the total number (31,870), the large majority represented citizenship by grant, of 20,434 (this also includes New Zealand citizenship by marriage).
The highest number of citizenships awarded by grant was observed for British nationals, who accounted for 3,521 persons (from the total of 20,434). If you want to find out more details on how to acquire citizenship, we invite you to contact our immigration lawyer in New Zealand, for information and legal representation.
If you want to apply for citizenship in New Zealand in 2023, please mind that you have to pay processing fees, regardless of the type of citizenship you apply for. In 2023, according to the New Zealand Government, applicants have to pay a fee of $470.20.
The fee is charged for all adult applicants who have an age above 16 years old. In the case of minor applicants with an age below 16 years old, the citizenship processing fee charged in 2023 is of $235.10.
Persons interested in the procedure have 3 main options to apply for citizenship in 2023 – 1) online, 2) by post, 3) in person. Regardless of the means preferred, all applicants must prepare the necessary documentation and forms, in accordance with their situation (minor or adults above 16 years old).