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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.

Most people need to meet all 3 presence requirements to get citizenship.

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 presence requirements.

Requirements for Samoan citizens

Requirements for children

What are the presence requirements?

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.

3. You intend to keep living here

You must intend to live in New Zealand once you become a citizen.

You must also meet the language requirements and character requirements.

Use the self-check tool

The self-check tool will tell you if you meet the presence, language and character requirements.

Check you meet the requirements for NZ citizenship

Example scenarios

Example 1

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.

Diagram showing how the presence requirement can be met

See a larger version of the image (PNG 12KB)

Example 2

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.

Diagram showing how the presence requirement may not be met

See a larger version of the image (PNG 20KB)

If you are planning to 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, or
  • employed by a person or organisation based in New Zealand.

If you are planning to travel outside NZ

You will be asked about your travel plans for the next 12 months. If you plan to travel, you may be asked to prove that New Zealand is your home because you:

  • have a job here
  • are studying here
  • own or rent property here, or
  • have assets here, like cars or furniture.

If you do not meet a presence requirement

If you know you do not meet this requirement but feel your situation is special, contact the Citizenship Office.

Freephone: 0800 22 51 51 (New Zealand only)

Email: citizenship@dia.govt.nz

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