A noncommercial collection of information about citizenship, dual citizenship and multiple citizenship

[Please refer to How to Read a Country Entry for help interpreting this material. It was produced prior to March 2001 as part of a US government report entitled Citizenship Laws of the World. The accuracy and depth of these country listings varies significantly, and some information may be incorrect. At best, this page presents only part of the story for a particular country. Additional information for this country may be available in Country Information]


CITIZENSHIP: Citizenship is based upon the Constitution of New Zealand, dated January 1, 1949. New Zealand is a member of the British Commonwealth (See United Kingdom); thus, New Zealanders born before January 1, 1949, have had a variety of citizenship status under British and New Zealand law. Questions concerning persons born before January 1, 1949, should be directed to the Embassy. (UKC-Commonwealth)

BY BIRTH: Child born in the territory of New Zealand after January 1, 1949, regardless of the nationality of the parents. Exception: Child born to foreign diplomats while they are posted to New Zealand, unless one parent is a New Zealand citizen.

BY DESCENT: Birth outside of New Zealand on or after January 1, 1978, and at the time of birth, one parent was a New Zealand citizen other than by descent (such as by birth in New Zealand or through a Grant of Citizenship). Application for official recognition of this status must be made before the person attains the age of 22.

REGISTRATION: New Zealand citizenship may be granted to persons in the following categories: Foreign national who marries a citizen of New Zealand and intends to establish residency in the country. Child born abroad, at least one of whose parents is a citizen by descent.

BY NATURALIZATION: New Zealand citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person is at least 18 years old, has been resident in country for at least three years, is of good character, knows the language and customs, and intends to permanently settle in the country.

GRANT OF CITIZENSHIP: A person may apply for a Grant of New Zealand Citizenship after having resided as a permanent resident in New Zealand for a least three consecutive years. This applies to spouses of New Zealand citizens.

SECTION 10 GRANT OF CITIZENSHIP: The Minister shall authorize the grant of New Zealand Citizenship to any person who was born outside of New Zealand from January 1, 1949, to January 1, 1978, and whose mother was a New Zealand citizen other than by descent.



VOLUNTARY: Voluntary loss of citizenship is permitted by law. Renunciation of citizenship requires that a person be 18 years of age or older, of full mental capacity at the time of application, and recognized by another country as a citizen. The Embassy should be contacted for required paperwork.

INVOLUNTARY: There are no laws concerning involuntary loss of New Zealand citizenship. Given that New Zealand recognizes dual citizenship, those concerned with the possibility of dual citizenship should not assume naturalization by another country caused their previous citizenship to be lost by default.

ANY QUESTIONS concerning citizenship, or requests for renunciation of citizenship, should be directed to the address below:

Embassy of New Zealand Consular Section 37 Observatory Circle, NW Washington, DC 20008

Embassy/Consular Telephone: 202-328-4800 Fax: 202-667-5227



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