New Zealand Passports
Only New Zealand nationals are entitled to have New Zealand passports for the purpose of international travel. Other residents and refugees of New Zealand unable to be issued passports by their home countries may apply only for other travel documents other than passports. The agency responsible for issuing, extending and renewing New Zealand passports is the Department of Internal Affairs, not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A Henley and Partners study gave New Zealand a Henley Visa restrictions Index of 125. This means that New Zealand nationals may visit 125 countries and territories visa-free provided that the purpose of the visit is short-term and tourism-related. When it comes to international travel freedom, New Zealand ranks sixth.
New Zealand passports are valid until the expiry date indicated in the passport, usually a maximum of five years from the issuance date.
There are three major types of passports that are being issued by the Department of Internal Affairs. Choose the one appropriate for you depending on your purpose or position.
Regular passport. It is issued to ordinary New Zealand citizens who wish to travel outside the country for business trips, vacations and other tourism-related purposes.
Diplomatic passport. This type of passport is issued to ambassadors, foreign service officers, diplomatic couriers and other members of the diplomatic corps. This is also the type for representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations. It is also issued to top ranking government officials.
Official passport. Official passports are issued to New Zealand nationals who are representing the government of New Zealand. This is used only on official business.
The Governor General of New Zealand is required to obtain a diplomatic or official passport. Only the Queen of New Zealand (Queen Elizabeth II) is not required to use one because New Zealand passports are issued and used in her name.
Where to apply
The Department of Internal Affairs issues New Zealand passports through its designated offices in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. If you’re a New Zealand national residing overseas, you can apply at any of its offices in Sydney and London. New Zealand high commissions, consulates and embassies outside of London and Sydney cannot issue passports. Other New Zealand diplomatic offices across the globe may only provide copies of passport application forms. If, unfortunately, you live outside of Australia or the United Kingdom, you may ask the office to assist you in communicating with an issuing office to facilitate your application.
If you are living outside New Zealand, Australia or the United Kingdom and you really need a New Zealand passport for emergency purposes, you may only be issued an “emergency travel document.” This document is issued by diplomatic posts and has a validity of only one year. This is especially helpful to New Zealand nationals who do not have enough time to obtain a passport.
How to apply
The best way to be aware of the requirements and be oriented with the passport application process of New Zealand is to contact the Department of Internal Affairs or any New Zealand embassy, consulate or high commission. They will provide you with detailed guide and other travel-related information. Meanwhile, here are the documents that you are most likely to produce.
an original copy of your birth certificate
proof of citizenship
other certificates of identity
application processing fee
a completed application form
You may obtain the application form from any of the passport offices in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand. If you’re living abroad, you may get a copy from the passport offices in London or Sydney. Fill out the form fully, legibly and accurately. Write in capital letters. Use black ink only. Any misrepresentation or suppression of the facts may lead to denial of passport. Incomplete and incorrect applications will not be processed.
Application processing fees vary according to the type of passport, the number of pages and if you are applying for a fresh passport or a duplicate one. Contact the Internal Affairs Department for more details. In the case of the London and Sydney offices issuing passports, fees may vary as it may be fixed in British pound or Australian dollar.
If you have previously owned a passport, you may also be required to submit your old passport.
Note that you need your passport for travel to ANY country, even Australia (For more information regarding Australia, read The Guide to Australia). There is no way you can get out of the country without your New Zealand passport (unless you’re the Queen). Thus, if you plan to travel but your passport will expire in less than a year, it is best to renew it. Most countries require passports to be valid for at least six months after the date of entry. You also need to make sure that there is at least one blank visa page in your passport.
If your passport has been damaged, lost or stolen, it is best that you report to the police and advise the New Zealand Passport Office as soon as possible. If you need a replacement passport, obtain a replacement application form. Accomplish the form as well as the Declaration of Loss, Theft or Damage that usually comes with the form. Note that at its discretion, the passport office may issue a replacement passport with a validity period of less than the full validity period of your lost or damaged passport.
Remember that the loss or theft of a New Zealand passport or any travel document for that matter is a serious concern. There may be some delay because thorough inquiries may be made before a replacement may be issues.
If your New Zealand passport is damaged, lost or stolen while traveling or staying abroad, report to the local police and inform the New Zealand embassy, consulate or high commission nearest you. After getting your passport, its time to learn how to travel cheaply.