You are not a citizen until you have made your oath or affirmation at a citizenship ceremony.
Before the ceremony
Your ceremony is held by your local council. It normally takes 3 to 5 months, after you have been approved, before you hear about your ceremony.
You get a letter about 4 weeks before your ceremony.
If you move house before you get your letter, you need to tell the Citizenship Office.
The letter tells you:
- the date, time and place of the ceremony
- how many guests you can bring
- the statement you read out at the ceremony.
If you can not go to that ceremony, you can ask the Citizenship Office about going to the next one. But you must attend a ceremony within 1 year of getting your approval letter.
The ceremony can take a couple of hours. There might be speeches or performances and the national anthem is usually played.
You will make an oath or affirmation statement to say you are loyal to New Zealand. You are told what to say on the day.
You choose which statement you want to make in your application:
- an oath of allegiance — which is a religious statement, or
- an affirmation of allegiance.
Oath of allegiance
“I (say your name) swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of New Zealand, her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of New Zealand and fulfil my duties as a New Zealand citizen. So help me God”.
Affirmation of allegiance
“I (say your name) affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of New Zealand, her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of New Zealand and fulfil my duties as a New Zealand citizen.”
You get your certificate at the ceremony.
Children under 14 do not have to attend a ceremony. But if you are a family applying for citizenship together, you can all attend the ceremony and get your citizenship certificates at the same time.
People who do not have to go to a ceremony
You do not have to go to a ceremony if you are:
- under 14
- already a citizen by descent
- intellectually disabled and can not understand the oath or affirmation.
You can still choose to attend a ceremony if you want to.
You can apply to have a private ceremony instead of attending one at your local council. These have to be approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs.
To apply, you need to send a letter to the Citizenship Office:
Department of Internal Affairs
PO Box 10680
You have to have a good reason, like you:
- had the requirement to speak English waived when you were granted citizenship
- have a physical disability that means you can not get to the public ceremony
- need to go overseas urgently on an NZ passport, or
- are representing New Zealand and need to be a citizen urgently.
You need to provide proof that you need a private ceremony. Examples of this might be:
- a medical certificate if you have a disability, or
- a letter from a sports organisation if you need to travel urgently for a competition.