Wellington, January 10, 2020
Australia is still the most common country of birth for people born outside New Zealand to gain citizenship, according to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
Figures released today show that just over 8000 Australians became New Zealand citizens in 2019, either because they had a parent who is a citizen or they migrated to New Zealand.
The United Kingdom comes second, with 6050 new Kiwis, followed by India, with over 4600 people.
Paths to Citizenship
DIA General Manager (Services and Access) Jeff Montgomery said that there are various ways people can become citizens, apart from those born in New Zealand.
“People can become citizens ‘by descent,’ which means they have a parent who was born in New Zealand or ‘by grant,’ when they migrate to New Zealand and apply for citizenship.
In 2019, we gained 44,413 new foreign-born Kiwis, 13,383 by descent and 31,030 by grant. We also welcomed 60,000 people who were born here,” he said.
Mr Montgomery said that the number of people gaining citizenship by grant has been declining over the past few years. In 2018, the number of people gaining citizenship by grant was 35,737 people, down from 36,450 people in 2017.
The key trend in 2020 will be people applying for citizenship online.
Mr Montgomery said the Department launched its online application service in October 2019, with restricted availability.
“We look forward to extending it to most other people soon. Since launching this service, more than 1600 people have applied. Online applications are the way of the future as they make things very easy for those applying. “Regardless of how people become citizens, they can check their eligibility online from anywhere in the world,” he said.
By the numbers
Total new citizens by descent or grant for 2019: 44,413 (2018: 49,428)
By descent in 2019: 13,383 (2018: 13,691)
By grant in 2019: 31,030 (2018: 35,737)
Source: Department of Internal Affairs, Government of New Zealand
Table 1: Top 10 countries of birth for people granted citizenship by descent, 2019
|Rank||Country of Birth||Successful applicants|
|3||United States of America^||864|
Table 2: Top 10 countries of birth for people granted citizenship by grant, 2019
|Rank||Country of birth||Successful applicants|
|9||United States of America^||620|
* Includes data for United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Great Britain.
** Includes data for Samoa and Western Samoa.
*** Includes data for China, Hong Kong, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Macau and Macao.
^ Includes data for U.S.A. and United States of America
^^ Includes data for South Africa and Transkei.