Get yourself a New Zealand passport when born overseas
What you need to know
If you were born overseas and at least 1 of your parents was a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant when you were born, you can register as a citizen by descent and get a New Zealand passport.
Who can get it
If you were born overseas and at least 1 of your parents was a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant when you were born, you are a New Zealand citizen by descent. To get yourself a New Zealand passport, you need to register your citizenship. You can order a passport at the same time by ticking a box on the form.
If you are under 16, you apply for citizenship as a child.
What it means to be a citizen by descent
If you are a citizen by descent, you:
- can travel on a New Zealand passport
- are entitled to live here indefinitely.
But you can not pass on NZ citizenship to children you have outside NZ.
If you live in NZ for at least 5 years, you can change your citizenship to become a citizen by grant.
To become a citizen by grant, you need to apply.
Getting a New Zealand passport
You can order a New Zealand passport at the same time as you register your citizenship by descent.
How long it takes
It takes up to 50 working days to process a complete application to register your citizenship and order 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 citizenship by descent and ordering a passport costs NZD$410.40, AUD$406 or GBP£229.
How you apply
Once you turn 16, you apply for citizenship as an adult.
If you were born before 1978
1. Documents you need
You must bring or send original documents — not copies.
You need to include these 3 documents with your application:
- your full birth certificate with your parents' names
- your current passport or photo ID
- 2 passport photos that meet the photo requirements.
If you do not have your full birth certificate, you need to get it from the country where you were born.
If you do not have a passport
If you do not have a current passport, you can send another photo ID or a certified copy of your current driver licence. If you do not have a current photo ID, include a note with your application explaining why.
To get a certified copy, you must have your original document copied, stamped and initialled by:
- a staff member at a Department of Internal Affairs public counter in Auckland, Manukau, Christchurch or Wellington
- an authorised staff member at a New Zealand embassy or consulate
- a police officer
- a court registrar.
If you changed your name or were adopted
If you have ever changed your name outside New Zealand, include name change documents like a marriage or civil union certificate.
If you were adopted outside NZ, talk to the Citizenship Office about what you need to do.
Phone: +64 4 463 9361 (outside NZ)
Freephone: 0800 22 51 51 (NZ only)
If you have changed your gender identity
You can choose to have a different gender on your citizenship certificate than what is shown on your birth certificate.
If your documents are not in English
There are 2 ways you can get your documents translated.
- Get the documents translated by a translation agency in New Zealand, 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.
- Get the documents translated by a government agency or court in the country that issued the documents.
2. Complete the application form
You need to fill in the application form with both of your parents. Your NZ citizen parent needs to include their most recent New Zealand passport number.
If your parent can not fill in the form
What the witness does
You need to get someone to witness 1 of your passport photos.
The witness fills in the witness section of the application form. They also write your name and the date on the back of 1 of the photos, and then sign it.
The witness must:
- be over 16
- have known you for at least 1 year
- not be related to you or part of your extended family
- not live in the same house as you.
The witness must also have a current or expired NZ passport, or be:
- a registered medical professional, like a doctor, nurse, dentist, pharmacist or physiotherapist
- a registered teacher, like a primary or secondary teacher or university lecturer
- a minister of religion
- a lawyer
- a police officer
- a kaumatua
- your employer.
3. Submit your application form
Send 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.
4. Pay the fee
|Application||If lodged in New Zealand||If lodged in Sydney||If lodged in London|
|Citizenship and passport||NZ$410.40||AUD$406||GBP£229|
|Urgent citizenship & passport||NZ$616.40||AUD$648||GBP£366|
If you want your documents sent to a different country from the one where you lodged your application, you need to add a courier fee.
You can pay by:
- Credit, debit or prepaid gift card (for example Prezzy card) by adding 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 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 citizenship certificate and passport, if you applied for one.
If your application is declined because you do not have a claim to NZ 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.