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Types of citizenship: birth, descent and grant

There are 3 main types of New Zealand citizenship: by birth, by descent and by grant.

To get a New Zealand passport, you need to be a citizen.

The type of citizenship you can get depends on your situation.

Citizenship by birth

If you were born in New Zealand before 1 January 2006

You are a New Zealand citizen by birth.

If you were born in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006

You are only a citizen if, when you were born, at least 1 of your parents was:

  • a New Zealand citizen, or
  • had a visa that allowed them to reside in New Zealand indefinitely.

Check if you are a citizen

Your children’s citizenship — if you are a citizen by birth

  • Your children who are born in New Zealand are automatically New Zealand citizens. Your children’s citizenship is registered at the same time you register your baby’s birth.

Citizenship by descent

You might be eligible for citizenship by descent if you:

  • were born overseas, and
  • have at least 1 parent who was a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant when you were born.

Register your citizenship

If you are a citizen by descent, you need to register your citizenship to make it official and to get a passport. 

Check if you are a citizen

Register as a citizen by descent and get a passport

Your children’s citizenship — if you are a citizen by descent

  • Your children who are born in New Zealand are automatically New Zealand citizens. Your children’s citizenship is registered at the same time you register your baby’s birth.
  • You cannot pass citizenship to any children who are born outside New Zealand. They will need to apply for New Zealand citizenship by grant.
  • As a citizen by descent, you can also apply for citizenship by grant. If you are successful, any future children you have who are born outside New Zealand can register as citizens by descent.

Citizenship by grant

You might be eligible for citizenship by grant if you were born:

  • outside New Zealand, or 
  • in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006 to parents who were not New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. 

Check if you are a citizen

Check you meet the requirements for NZ citizenship

Your children’s citizenship — if you are a citizen by grant

Dual citizenship

New Zealand allows dual citizenship or multiple citizenship — but some other countries do not.

Dual citizenship

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