Definition of a New Zealand citizen or a holder of a New Zealand residence class visa

The following describes the different categories of citizenship, residency and the verified documents you need to supply. 

Definition of a New Zealand citizen

  • New Zealand citizen by birth.
  • New Zealand citizen by naturalisation, registration or grant.
  • Being a British Subject and resident in New Zealand throughout all of 1948.
  • If a woman of non-New Zealand birth, being married to a New Zealand citizen before 9 October 1946.
  •  If a woman of British birth, being married to a New Zealand citizen before 1 January 1949. 
  • Claiming New Zealand citizenship by descent, from either parent if born on or after 1 January 1970, or from a father if born before 1 January 1970. (If you’re not sure whether you fit into this category check with the Citizenship Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs/Te Tari Taiwhenua about whether you are a citizen by descent).
  • Citizens of the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau born before 1 January 2006 are regarded as New Zealand citizens. From 1 January 2006, children born in New Zealand (or in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau) acquire New Zealand citizenship at birth only if at least one of their parents:
    • is a New Zealand citizen; or
    • has residency (i.e. is entitled to be in New Zealand or Australia indefinitely); or
    • is entitled to reside indefinitely in the Cook Islands, Tokelau or Niue.

Definition of a holder of a New Zealand residence class visa

If you are not a New Zealand citizen you may be a holder of a New Zealand residence class visa. If you are one of the following you are entitled to residence.

  • Australian citizen or Australian resident or Australian permanent resident living in New Zealand (no formal application is required for permanent residence). 
  • Citizen of the United Kingdom provided you arrived in New Zealand before 4 April 1974 (no formal application is required for permanent residence).
  • If you have been granted a New Zealand residence class visa (through a formal application).

Please note that residency or permanent residency only applies while you are living in New Zealand. Holders of a New Zealand residence class visa living overseas, and studying by distance, are required to pay international fees.

What is the difference between a resident visa and a permanent resident visa?

Both of these visas allow you the same privilege of living permanently in New Zealand, but they provide you with different travel conditions. For regulations see the Studylink website.

Required supporting documents

Please see required supporting documents for new domestic students.

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