Moving To New Zealand: How To Get New Zealand Citizenship

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About New Zealand

New Zealand is an island country located in the continent of Oceania. It is known for many things such as spectacular sceneries, Maori culture, wine, food, sports, and of course, it’s the home of the movie “Lord of the Rings”. New Zealand is named as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, its beautiful landscapes is just breathtaking and so magnificent. It is home for 4.7 million New Zealanders or Kiwis, where majority of ethnicity are European. New Zealand is composed of scenic landscapes, green hills, snow capped mountains, subtropical forests and sandy beaches. Interestingly, the country has very low crime rates compared to elsewhere in the world, it has few endemic diseases and it claims to be the world’s least corrupt country. Sounds like an attractive place to live in, right? If you plan to relocate to New Zealand permanently, this article might help you get your dream come true. Read on to learn more.

  • New Zealand allows dual/multiple citizenship
  • New Zealand passport holders can visit 162 countries visa-free, this includes France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea and United Kingdom.
  • New Zealanders enjoy certain benefits such as Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Benefit, Maternity payment, Rent assistance, a low income Health Card, Parenting Payment and Commonwealth Senior’s Health Care Card
  • It has a very competitive and relatively approachable tax system wherein citizens don’t pay any tax from inheritance, general capital gains, payroll, social security and health care.
  • As per World Bank, New Zealand is one of the most business friendly countries in the world. It has a straightforward and competitive flat tax rate of 28%.
  • New Zealand’s spectacular scenery and nice weather is a good place to retire to.
  • There are plenty of job opportunities in New Zealand available for expats.
  • The country is composed of multicultural society including Europeans and Asians, and their official language is English, so getting along can be easy.
  • It’s one of the safest countries in the world with very low crime rate and high religious tolerance
  • It has small population hence it’s basically “uncrowded”. Most places are peaceful and most cities don’t even worry about traffic. 

How to be a New Zealand Citizen

Generally, there are 3 ways to be a New Zealand Citizen, these are by grant, by descent and by birth.

Citizenship by Grant: this type of NZ citizenship is for people who were born overseas whose parent is a citizen of New Zealand.

 Citizenship by Descent: If at least 1 of your parents is a citizen of NZ, you may be granted citizenship by descent regardless of which country you were born. This also applies to individuals adopted by a NZ citizen and migrants who wish to relocate to New Zealand.

Citizenship by Birth: If you were born in New Zealand before January 1, 2006 you may already be a citizen of NZ. On the other hand, if you were born in NZ on or after 1 January 2006, and at least 1 of your parents is a citizen, then you may also be granted citizenship.

 

General Requirements to get New Zealand Citizenship

  1. You must be physically present in New Zealand for at least 5 years from date of application
  2. You must intend to keep living in New Zealand
  3. You must fluently speak English
  4. You must be of good character – this means you must have no criminal records
  5. You must know the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship
  6. You must be in good health

Other ways to get NZ Citizenship/Residency

New Zealand Citizenship by Marriage

Fast fact, marrying a NZ citizen doesn’t automatically gets you citizenship – you have to go through the same citizenship process as everyone else.

 If you have a spouse or partner who is a New Zealand citizen or resident, you may be eligible for residency if you are able to convince the NZ Immigration officers that you have a genuine and stable relationship with a NZ citizen for at least 12 months. Your partner must also meet certain requirements such as      being able to support your application and he/she must be of good character.

 To get citizenship by marriage, one must prove genuine and stable relationship with a NZ citizen by providing evidences such as marriage or civil union certificates, photos together, birth certificates for any children you share, joint bank accounts and evidences of assets you own together. If you are able to prove the relationship, you may be granted of “Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa” or a “Dependent Visa” to be able to live in New Zealand, and then apply for citizenship after living in the country for at least 5 years.

New Zealand Citizenship by Investment

If you’ve got a lot of money to burn like Peter Thiel – cofounder of Paypal who recently got a NZ citizenship, then you may be able to get NZ citizenship provided that you are able to invest at least NZ$3 million over a four-year period. Acceptable investments include the following: 

  1. Public or Private NZ firms
  2. Bonds issued by the NZ Government, local authorities, banks and finance companies
  3. Residential Property that is intended for commercial return on the open market.
  4. Philanthropic investment.

 Investing in the country may get you an Investor Visa which can enable you to live, work and study in New Zealand together with your spouse and children aged 24 and under. After 3 to 5 years, you may be able to apply for a full NZ citizenship.

Citizenship by Investment (Entrepreneurs)

If you’re an Entrepreneur who wish to do business in New Zealand you must have a minimum capital investment of NZ$100,000 (excluding working capital), a feasible business plan, and no recent history of bankruptcy or business failure. Qualified entrepreneurs may be granted of an Entrepreneur Work Visa that is valid for 3 years. If you have successfully established a high growth business in the country, then you may apply for a NZ permanent residence. After at least 5 years of residence in NZ, an entrepreneur may be granted of citizenship provided that he/she meets all requirements.

The Process of Getting a New Zealand Citizenship

  1. Check your Eligibility: before applying, you might want to check your eligibility online first see if you are qualified to apply.
  2. Apply for Citizenship: Application may be done personally or by post. Application costs $470.20 for adults and $235.10 for children – which can be paid in personal, using a bank check, credit card or money order. Should you wish to apply in person, you must make an appointment with the Department of Internal Affairs first via phone or email and bring along with you your application form, requirements and supporting documents. If you wish to apply by post, you will have to mail your application form, application fee (either check or money order) and original documents to below address:
  3. Department of Internal Affairs
    PO Box 10680
    Wellington 6143
    New Zealand


    Generally, application will require your birth certificate, passport, 2 passport photos, citizenship certificate for NZ citizen by descent, order of adoption if applicable and marriage or civil union certificates.Process usually takes up to 2-4 months, depending on your situation. If approved, you shall receive a letter pertaining your oath or affirmation at a citizenship ceremony.

  4. Attend a Ceremony to become a citizen – This is usually held by your local council after getting your citizenship approved.
  5. Apply for a passport

Bottomline:

NZ Citizenship applications are assessed by the Department of Internal Affairs – just like in any other countries, applying for citizenship can cost a lot and may take many years. Still, with New Zealand’s great quality of life and economic freedom, getting an NZ citizenship can be worthwhile and rewarding.

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