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Get your child a New Zealand passport when born overseas

If you are a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant and have a child overseas, you can register them as a citizen by descent and get them a New Zealand passport.

What you need to know

If you were born in New Zealand or have been granted citizenship, you can register your child as a New Zealand citizen by descent and get them a New Zealand passport.

Your child is a citizen by descent when they are born or adopted, but to get your child a New Zealand passport you must register them.

If you are a citizen by descent you can travel on a New Zealand passport and are entitled to live and work in New Zealand. You mostly have the same rights as any New Zealand citizen.

Who can get it

If you are a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant, any children you have outside New Zealand are citizens by descent.

To get your child a New Zealand passport, you need to register their citizenship. You can order them a passport at the same time when you fill out the form.

Once you turn 16, you apply for citizenship as an adult.

Get yourself a New Zealand passport when born overseas

If you are a citizen by descent and have a child outside New Zealand

Citizens by descent cannot pass on New Zealand citizenship to any children they have outside New Zealand.

If you want your child to be a New Zealand citizen, you have 2 options:

  • apply to be granted New Zealand citizenship, or
  • apply for your child to be granted New Zealand citizenship.
Citizenship by grant for yourself

You can become a citizen by grant before your child is born outside New Zealand. You must meet the requirements.

Changing from citizenship by descent to citizenship by grant

Citizenship by grant for your child

You can apply for your child to be granted New Zealand citizenship. Include a letter with the application form that explains why your child should be granted citizenship even though they do not meet the requirements. You should include any evidence you have.

The letter and evidence could cover:

  • if your child can show a link to New Zealand
  • if your child has longstanding family or whakapapa ties to New Zealand
  • if your child has family living in New Zealand who are citizens
  • the circumstances of you being a citizen by descent
  • why you want your child to be a New Zealand citizen
  • anything else you think is important.

Apply for NZ citizenship

If you need more information, contact the Citizenship Office.


Phone: +64 4 462 0651 (outside NZ)

Freephone: 0800 22 51 51 (NZ only)

If you’re thinking about international surrogacy

Under New Zealand law, children born using a surrogate are unlikely to have any legal relationship with the commissioning parents — the person who gives birth to the child and her partner (if she has one) will be considered the child’s legal parents.

The commissioning parents will need to become the child’s legal parents for the child to be eligible for New Zealand citizenship — the child will not automatically be a citizen by descent. In New Zealand this is achieved through adoption.

Adopting a child born via surrogacy

Before you start the surrogacy process you should talk to a lawyer and to the Citizenship Office, Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children, and Immigration New Zealand.

Citizenship Office

Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children

Immigration New Zealand

Getting a New Zealand passport

You can order your child a New Zealand passport at the same time as you register their citizenship by descent.

How long it takes

It takes up to 12 weeks plus delivery to process a complete application to register your child’s citizenship and order them a passport.

Urgent applications cost more and take up to 10 working days. You cannot make an urgent application if your case involves an overseas adoption.

Applications may require checks with external agencies to verify the descent claim. In some cases external checks can take months to complete. We will contact you directly if this applies to your application.

What it costs

Registering your child’s citizenship by descent and ordering a passport costs NZD$329.40, AUD$313.00 or GBP£164.00.

How to apply

Documents you need

You must bring or send original documents — not copies.

You need to include these 2 documents with your child’s application:

  • your child’s full birth certificate with their parents’ names
  • 2 passport photos that meet the photo requirements.

Passport photos

If you do not have your child’s full birth certificate, you need to get it from the country where your child was born.

If your child’s name was changed outside New Zealand

Send the original name change certificate with your application. This could be a deed poll certificate, adoption order or other document.

If your child was adopted outside New Zealand

If you adopted your child outside New Zealand, talk to the Citizenship Office about what you need to do.

Contact the Citizenship Office

If your child has changed their gender identity

You can choose to have a different gender on your child’s citizenship certificate than what is shown on their birth certificate.

Choose the gender on your citizenship record

If your documents are not in English

There are 2 ways you can get your documents translated:

  1. Get the documents translated by a translation agency in New Zealand or send the Citizenship Office your original documents. If you do not have professional translations of your documents, the Citizenship Office will get in touch with you to arrange these, if required.
  2. Get the documents translated by a government agency or court in the country that issued the documents.

Complete the application and sign the form

The New Zealand citizen parent needs to include their most recent New Zealand passport number.

Application for New Zealand citizenship by descent and passport — child (PDF 734KB)

Who has to sign the form and why

If the claim to citizenship is through the mother, the father does not have to sign the form. This is because you do not need to provide information about the father to verify who the mother is.

If the claim to citizenship is through the father, you have to prove he is the father. So, both parents need to give consent for their information to be collected and used to verify the claim.

When you sign the form, you’re not consenting to the registration of citizenship. You’re consenting to the collection of information about you, to check if your child is eligible for citizenship.

If the other parent cannot fill in the form

If the other parent has died, provide their death certificate.

If you are not in contact with the other parent or they cannot fill in the form, talk to the Citizenship Office.

Contact the Citizenship Office

What the witness does

The witness fills in the witness section of the application form. They also write your child’s name and the date on the back of 1 of the photos, and then sign it.

The witness must:

  • be over 16
  • have known your child for at least 1 year, or since birth
  • not be related to your child or part of your child’s extended family
  • not live in the same house as your child.

The witness must also have a current or expired New Zealand passport, or be a:

  • registered medical professional, like a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist or physiotherapist
  • registered teacher, like a primary or secondary teacher or university lecturer
  • minister of religion
  • lawyer
  • police officer
  • kaumatua.

Submit your application form

Submit your completed form with your supporting documents and payment to the Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand, Sydney or London.

You can courier, post or deliver the application in person.

Contact the Citizenship Office

4. Pay the fee

Table 1: Fees

  If lodged in New Zealand If lodged in Sydney If lodged in London
Citizenship application NZ$204.40 AUD$165 GBP£86
Citizenship and passport application NZ$329.40 AUD$313 GBP£164
Urgent citizenship and passport application NZ$544.40 AUD$566 GBP£297

In addition to the registration and passport application fees, you must also pay for the cost of courier delivery. The amount you need to pay will depend on your current location.

Passport courier costs

You can pay by:

  • Credit, debit or prepaid gift card (for example Prezzy card) — add your payment details to the form.
  • EFTPOS — only available when you visit an office in person.
  • Money order — only available if you are applying from overseas.

After you apply

Getting your documents back

If you bring your application into a Department of Internal Affairs public counter, your original documents are copied, certified and given back to you straight away.

If you post or courier your application, the Citizenship Office couriers your original documents to you with your child’s citizenship certificate and passport, if you applied for one.

If your application is declined, the Citizenship Office sends you a letter and includes your original documents.

When you find out about your application

The Citizenship Office contacts you if they need more information.

If your application is successful, you are couriered your child’s citizenship certificate and passport, if you applied for one.

If your application is declined because your child does not have a claim to New Zealand citizenship by descent, the Citizenship Office emails you or sends you a letter. You may not get a refund.

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw your application at any time. You may not get a refund.

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