Types of citizenship: grant, birth and descent
There are 3 main types of NZ citizenship. The type you get depends on your situation.
Most people need citizenship to get a New Zealand passport.
If you were born overseas you need to register your citizenship to get an NZ passport.
Citizenship by grant
Citizenship by grant is for people who have come to NZ from another country.
Citizenship by grant can be passed on to children born overseas, as long as it is granted to one parent before the child is born.
Citizenship by birth
You're a New Zealand citizen by birth if:
- you were born in NZ before 1 January 2006.
If you were born in NZ on or after 1 January 2006:
- you're only a citizen if at least 1 parent is an NZ citizen or have permanent residence status.
Your child's citizenship is registered when you register their birth.
Citizenship by birth can be passed on to children born overseas.
Citizenship by descent
Citizenship by descent is for:
- people born overseas, and
- at least 1 parent is a citizen of NZ by birth or grant when you were born.
If you're a citizen by descent you need to register your citizenship to get a passport.
If you have citizenship by descent, you can't pass on citizenship to any children born outside NZ.
New Zealand allows dual citizenship or multiple citizenship — but some other countries don’t.