Presence in NZ requirements
You need to show you have been physically present in New Zealand for a certain amount of time and that you intend to continue living here.
Your information will be checked when the Citizenship Office assesses your application.
If you are from Samoa or applying for a child, you might not have to meet all 3 requirements.
Most people need to meet all 3 presence in New Zealand requirements to get citizenship.
1. You have been living as an NZ resident for at least the last 5 years
If you have had more than 1 type of visa or permit in the last 5 years:
You can apply for New Zealand citizenship as long as each visa or permit allowed you live here indefinitely.
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident:
You can apply for New Zealand citizenship if you have lived here for at least the last 5 years.
2. You have spent enough time in NZ in the last 5 years
You need to have been physically present in New Zealand for a certain amount of time during the last 5 years. The 5 years are counted backwards from the day you apply for citizenship.
You might not meet this requirement if you have been out of New Zealand for longer than 4 months in any 12-month period. This could be 1 long trip or many smaller trips.
If you are not sure you meet the requirement
To meet the requirement, you need to have been in New Zealand for:
- at least 240 days in each 12-month period, and
- 1,350 days across the 5 years.
If Ana applies for New Zealand citizenship on 17 March 2016, she counts backwards 5 years from that day. The timeline below shows the periods she has been outside New Zealand over this time. She has not been out of New Zealand for more than 4 months in any 12-month period over the 5 years. Ana meets this presence in New Zealand requirement.
Lucas applies in August 2016. The timeline below shows he went on 4 trips between August 2012 and August 2013. These trips add up to more than 4 months out of New Zealand in this 12-month period. Lucas does not meet this presence in New Zealand requirement.
If you have lived in New Zealand for 5 years with a residency visa or permit and are having difficulty calculating the number of days you have been out of the country, use Immigration NZ's online tool:
If you do not meet the requirement
You must intend to live in New Zealand once you become a citizen.
If you are planning to travel or live outside NZ
If you know you are going to live in another country, it must be because you will be:
- working overseas for the New Zealand Government
- working for an international organisation that the New Zealand Government is a member of, such as the United Nations
- employed by a person or organisation based in New Zealand.
You will be asked about your travel plans for the next 12 months. If you will be travelling, you might be asked to prove that New Zealand is your home because you:
- have a job here
- are studying here
- own or rent property here
- have assets here, like cars or furniture.