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Obtain New Zealand Citizenship by Descent

Obtain New Zealand Citizenship by Descent

A person is entitled to obtain New Zealand citizenship by descent in the case in which the said person is related to New Zealand citizens. However, not all persons who are related to someone who is a New Zealand citizen or who has obtained the New Zealand citizenship can apply through this legal pathway.

If you plan to immigrate from USA to New Zealand for the purpose of obtaining citizenship by descent, please mind that you will have to follow the procedure presented below. You can also apply for citizenship by birth (where applicable) or by grant.

The latter is the citizenship that is available for most foreigners who do not have any connection to New Zealand and they simply relocate here for the purpose of remaining in this country.

How can one qualify for New Zealand citizenship by descent?

The main requirement, according to the law on immigration in New Zealand, is for the applicant to have a parent who is a New Zealand national. In order to be eligible, the applicant must have had a parent who was a New Zealand national at the moment when the applicant was born.

The parent can be a New Zealand national by descent or by grant – the latter defines the legal situation in which a foreigner receives the New Zealand citizenship after obtaining NZ permanent residency, without having blood ties with New Zealand persons.

Residence in New Zealand can also be obtained on a permanent basis in the situation in which a person applies for the Dependent Child Residence Visa. This is available for persons who have an age below 24 years old.

The visa grants them the right to permanent residency, the right to study and the right to work (if they meet the age requirements). If the child is a New Zealand descendent, the visa application formality is not necessary.

The applicant can apply for citizenship by descent if he or she was born outside New Zealand, as persons who are born in New Zealand from New Zealand citizens will automatically receive the nationality. Our immigration lawyer in New Zealand has prepared a short list of important aspects you should know in this case:

  • when applying for citizenship, you will need to pay a fee of NZD$ 240,4 (for the citizenship registration);
  • if you want to obtain the New Zealand passport, the application fee for citizenship and passport is of NZD$395,4;
  • the fee for the issuance of the citizenship and the passport for children below 15 years old is of NZD$315,4;
  • a foreigner can be eligible to obtain citizenship by descent if he or she was born outside New Zealand on or after 1 January 1978;
  • starting with 10 December 2001, applicants are no longer required to register their citizenship, but the registration is mandatory when requesting the issuance of a New Zealand passport.

What is the law on citizenship by descent in New Zealand in 2022?

Foreigners interested in the procedures for citizenship in New Zealand or those who live here as permanent residents and who can qualify for citizenship by descent should know that the main rule of law regulating citizenship matters is the Citizenship Act 1977, amended in 2000 and which can be found here. The act provides the legal framework for any legal matter related to citizenship – who is entitled to obtain it, in what conditions, the right to dual citizenship, legal situations when one can lose the right to New Zealand citizenship and so on.

The regulations on how to obtain citizenship in 2022 have not been changed, but we mention that if you received the citizenship in New Zealand, you may be required to participate in a citizenship ceremony. However, this procedure can be affected in 2022 by the Covid-19 regulations applicable in New Zealand. For instance, if you have received the citizenship certificate by courier or mail, this means that you will not be required to perform any additional steps, but the ceremony can be held in specific conditions.

Below, you can watch a short presentation on how to obtain New Zealand citizenship by descent:

If you need information on other aspects concerning citizenship, besides the ones on how to obtain New Zealand citizenship by descent, our immigration lawyer remains at your disposal for in-depth legal advice. Matters concerning citizenship by descent are regulated under the Section 7 of the Act.

What is the procedure for citizenship by descent for children under 16 years?

Persons who are above 16 years old are entitled to represent themselves in the process of obtaining New Zealand citizenship by descent; according to the legislation on immigration in New Zealand, for persons below this age, other procedures will apply, as the approval of the parents is necessary.

When preparing the application for citizenship as a minor under 16 years old, the application form will need to contain the approval of one of the parents, who has New Zealand nationality. If both have the citizenship, the child can be represented by either one of the parents.

The law requires that the documents submitted by the applicants (regardless of their age) will be in their original versions (the applicants will receive back their documents once the procedure is completed). For minor children under the age of 16, the following documents have to be submitted: the birth certificate, two photos, all the documents showing the change of name of the child – where applicable, and if the child is adopted, the adoption documents.

The parent representing the child will also have to submit certain documents, such as: the passport ID number (or another ID number issued by the New Zealand authorities, in the case in which the parent does not have a New Zealand passport), documents showing the change of name (however, if this event took place in New Zealand, one is not obligated to submit such papers, as the local institutions will be aware of the modifications); our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can offer more details.

If you need additional information on how to obtain citizenship by descent, we invite you to contact our immigration lawyer in New Zealand, who can represent you in this procedure; our lawyer can also advise you when preparing the set of documents, based on your particular situation.

Currently, persons who want to relocate to New Zealand for the purpose of becoming a permanent resident or a citizen still have to comply with certain Covid-19. Although in 2022 most of the countries have renounced the Covid-19 border controls, in New Zealand there are still some requirements.

For instance, starting with 1st of May 2022, persons arriving from visa waiver countries can self-test against Covid-19 upon their arrival in the country.

If you are interested in other options for entering the country and remaining for long-term purposes, we can provide details on the investor visa in New Zealand.