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Most people apply for New Zealand citizenship by grant once they have held a resident visa and/or permanent resident visa for five years and met certain other conditions. Citizenship applications are handled by the Department of Internal Affairs, not Immigration New Zealand, so information about New Zealand citizenship can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website.

Citizenship can be granted in one of three ways:

  1. Citizenship by birth

  2. Citizenship by descent

  3. Citizenship by grant

Citizenship by birth only applies if you were born in New Zealand to a parent who was a New Zealand citizen or resident at the time of your birth.

Citizenship by descent can be applied for if you were born outside New Zealand to a parent who was a New Zealand citizen by birth or by grant at the time of your birth. Citizens by descent cannot pass down citizenship by descent. However, they can also apply for citizenship by grant, which will allow any future children born outside New Zealand to apply for citizenship by descent.

Citizenship by grant can be applied for if you meet the presence in New Zealand requirements. You must have lived in New Zealand as a resident for at least five years at the date of applying and have been physically present in New Zealand for at least 240 days in each of the five 12-month periods. You must also have lived in New Zealand for a combined minimum total of 1,350 days across the five years.

If you have a query about applying for citizenship, please contact us so that we can confirm your eligibility and advise you on the costs and procedure to apply.

Services: Services


Need guidance? Professional Immigration Services offers obligation-free initial assessments to help clients better understand their situation and prospects. Whether you've received a concern letter from Immigration New Zealand or just need help planning your future, we will facilitate your needs and help get you to where you need to be.


Based in Christchurch city, Professional Immigration Services provides high quality, reliable advice in relation to New Zealand visa applications and other immigration-related matters. Equipped with in-depth industry knowledge and experience, Evelyn Dyer is a Licensed Immigration Adviser who has special expertise in a range of complex immigration issues. She is renowned for her caring attitude towards clients, fast response times and high level of personalised service. If you're looking for an immigration adviser who takes the time to listen to you and understand your whole situation, Evelyn is the adviser for you.


Unlike other areas of law, the immigration industry in New Zealand is fast-moving and dynamic. Sometimes, policy changes are introduced quite literally overnight, so we are constantly updating our knowledge and clarifying grey areas with Immigration New Zealand's management team. If you're interested in keeping up to date with New Zealand immigration law and policy changes, keep an eye on our Blog page for the latest in immigration news, tips and articles.

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