Definition of a New Zealand citizen or a holder of a New Zealand residence class visa and required supporting documents

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 documents

Proof of identity/citizenship

We are required to confirm your full name, date of birth and citizenship. Your birth certificate, current passport or New Zealand citizenship certificate can be used to confirm these details. Your drivers license is not an acceptable form of identification.

  • Document required for Cook Islands: A verified copy of your birth certificate with place of birth stated as a place in the Cook Islands. 
  • Document required for Niue: A verified copy of your birth certificate with place of birth stated as a place in Niue. 
  • Document required for Tokelau: A verified copy of your birth certificate with place of birth stated as one of the three islands of Tokelau.

Proof of New Zealand residence class visa

We require your New Zealand residency class visa from your passport OR your letter from NZ immigration stating you have been granted residency. We cannot accept a letter that states you have been granted residency in principle or that your application is being considered.

Proof of achieved qualifications

If you are applying for admission based on qualifications achieved you need to supply officially verified copies of your academic transcript(s).

Please note:

  • We do not accept provisional results or exam result notifications.
  • If you have studied at an overseas institution, academic transcripts with the grading scale for each semester of study may be required.

Proof of change of name

If the name you are enrolling under is different from the name on your birth certificate or other documents you have supplied the university, you must provide proof of the change of name and show the link between your names by providing one of the following:

  • Marriage certificate in conjunction with your birth certificate
  • Deed Poll
  • Birth certificate with the change of name
  • The ‘legal request to change name’ form which lists all of your names (the letter from Internal Affairs confirming your name change is not acceptable)

If you supply a marriage certificate and a NZ passport in the married name, both the married name and the birth name can be verified as the Department of Internal Affairs will have received both the birth certificate and marriage certificate to issue the new passport.

If the name on your school academic documents is not your legal name, and you do not have any documents for a name change, you must supply a written letter from your school principle verifying you were known by this name or provide a statutory declaration from a person who can officially verify documents.

Birth certificates

If you need to obtain a birth certificate, contact Births, Deaths and Marriages on 0800 22 52 52. If you have a credit card, you can order copies of certificates at that 0800 number.

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