New Zealand Citizenship Application Guide

With its high standard of living, New Zealand is one of the top choices for people looking to emigrate to improve their living conditions. If you’re one of them and wondering how to apply for NZ citizenship, continue reading.

Table of contents

New Zealand citizenship benefits over the permanent residency

Living in New Zealand as a permanent resident already has its perks, but citizenship opens you up to even more opportunities.

First, the most obvious is political rights, such as voting. With the right to vote, you can be represented politically. You may also run for office yourself.

Then, some government jobs are open to only NZ citizens.

Citizenship also gives you better access to NZ's high-quality educational system.

New Zealand also has a special relationship with Australia, where citizens can practically live and work in each other’s countries freely, without extra migration processes.

And, of course, the New Zealand passport is worth mentioning, which gives the right to visit 170 countries without a prior visa application.

New Zealand citizenship eligibility and requirements

The requirement a lot of applicants focus on is the time they have spent in New Zealand. To apply for citizenship, applicants must have lived in NZ as a resident in the last five years, meaning they have spent most of the last five years in the country.

Besides the time requirement, the following requirements apply:

There are also specific sets of requirements for children (they may need to fulfill fewer requirements) and Samoan citizens.

New Zealand citizenship application process

Here are the general steps of the NZ citizenship application process:

  1. Check if you meet the requirements using this tool;
  2. Gather your documents;
  3. Apply conveniently (in person, online, or by post) and pay;
  4. Wait to find out whether your application is approved, then;
  5. Get your citizenship certificate;
  6. Get your passport.

To apply online, use your RealMe account to submit your application at the official NZ government portal.

To apply in person, you must visit an office of the Department of Internal Affairs in Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch, with an appointment made beforehand.

Applications by post are sent to the Department of Internal Affairs in Wellington.

Documents required for NZ citizenship application

Besides the application form, the basic set of documents for NZ citizenship application contains:

Other than that, you may need to include other documents in some cases, such as:

You will also need someone as a witness or identity referee to prove your identity.

NZ citizenship photo requirements

Your photos must fulfill the following requirements:

Here is an example:

New Zealand citizenship application photo

Get a photo for an NZ citizenship application online!

Applying for citizenship can be a lot of work, so save time on your citizenship application by completing your photo professionally online. With Visafoto, you can get a photo for your citizenship application that’s guaranteed to be accepted without going to a professional photo studio. This way, you can take care of your other documents and rest assured that the photo will be accepted.

Take a picture of yourself following the guidelines and upload it to our tool below. No worries about the format, background, sizes, and dimensions: we’ll handle that for you.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here, and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport, or ID.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

First, take a photo of yours under daylight like this one:

Оriginal photo

Whether you need your photo printed or in digital format, Visafoto has got your back: your resulting files include a template of photos that’s ready to print.

Example of a New Zealand citizenship application photo
New Zealand citizenship application photo for printing

New Zealand citizenship processing time

The processing time can vary depending on the workload of the processing office and each personal case from 4 to 18 months. Broken down, here are the processing times of each stage:

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