I'm a British citizen. I've been living in New Zealand for a number of years as a Permanent Resident, but have now taken NZ citizenship as well.

I have to return to Britain for a few days as a matter of some urgency. Obviously I can use my British passport to leave and enter Britain.

Can I still use that UK passport with its Permanent Resident visa to return to New Zealand, even though I'm now a citizen?

I'm aware that I can get a NZ passport quite quickly, or a citizenship endorsement in my UK passport, but both options take time and I'd like to be in London by Wednesday if at all possible (earlier if I can manage it) It's early Sunday as I write this.


I never did get a straight answer to this from Immigration NZ. I suspect that the airline will let me board, and although the immigration officer in Wellington might raise an eyebrow, he'd still be obliged to let me in.

Nevertheless, since I'm in the UK for the foreseeable future (although I can't foresee very far right now) I've applied for a Kiwi passport that I should be able to pick up in London in a few days.

  • I know it’s obviously too late now, but on acquiring NZ citizenship why would you not apply for a NZ passport as soon as possible? It means you effectively can’t leave the country without some level of hassle
    – Scott Earle
    Feb 9, 2020 at 3:02
  • Fly to London on your UK passport, then while in London apply for NZ passport for your trip back to NZ?
    – Midavalo
    Feb 9, 2020 at 3:55
  • 1
    @scott I don't have a good answer to that. I assumed that there would be time to sort out the passport before my next trip. They're not that frequent. I really hasn't anticipated the 'right NOW' urgency I have today. Feb 9, 2020 at 8:53
  • @Midavalo That's my plan. I probably don't need to be in London for more than a week, but fortunately I can stay somewhere at almost no cost if I have to wait a few more days. Feb 9, 2020 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


It would seem, that since the Immigration Act 2009, this is no longer possible without an NZ Citizen Endorsement in your other passport.

Since the application may take up to 31 days, contacting the Immigration New Zealand asking how to deal with this matter under emergency circumstances such as yours is advised.

If you are a New Zealand citizen but also hold a foreign passport
A resident or permanent resident visa cannot be transferred into a new foreign passport if you have since obtained NZ citizenship (by grant or descent) or have been issued with an evidentiary certificate of citizenship. This is because a New Zealand citizen is not able to hold a visa under the Immigration Act 2009.

In order to use your foreign passport for travel, and still be allowed to return to New Zealand as a citizen, you should request a NZ Citizen Endorsement and not a transfer of visa.

Immigration Act 2009
13) New Zealand citizens may enter and be in New Zealand at any time

(4)Without limiting subsection (3), no New Zealand citizen—

  • (a) requires a visa or entry permission; or
  • (b) may hold a visa, or be granted entry permission, except a New Zealand citizen who—
    • (i) is a national of 1 or more other countries; and
    • (ii) wishes to enter New Zealand other than as a New Zealand citizen; and
    • (iii) has not been granted New Zealand citizenship, been registered as a New Zealand citizen by descent under section 7(2) of the Citizenship Act 1977, or been issued with an evidentiary certificate under section 21 of the Citizenship Act 1977 confirming that he or she is a New Zealand citizen.


A2.35 New Zealand citizens
A2.35.1 Evidence of New Zealand citizenship
Immigration Act 1987 s 126(1)(b)

  • A New Zealand passport is the only acceptable evidence of New Zealand citizenship at a port of entry.
  • A New Zealand citizen with dual citizenship may enter New Zealand on a foreign passport endorsed with a New Zealand visa or permit.


  • That's not what I wanted to hear ☹️ Thank you for delving into the morass that is New Zealand's immigration law. I'll try calling Immigration NZ today, but my flight is booked for 0650 tomorrow no matter what. I'll have to sort the mess out in London. I'll leave the question open for a while just in case someone uncovers a different answer. Feb 8, 2020 at 18:55
  • The High Commission of NZ office in London is: 80 Haymarket, St. James's, London SW1Y 4TE, United Kingdom (a high commission, of course being the Commonwealth equivalent of an Embassy) Feb 9, 2020 at 20:42
  • @CatchAsCatchCan How is your situation developing? Is your New Zealand passport being issued in London? Mar 19, 2020 at 14:17
  • 1
    @MarkJohnson I got my Kiwi passport in London (express service, arrived in less than a week) and got on a flight the next day. I'm now safely back in Wellington. Fortunately the full horror of the virus situation wasn't apparent then. If I'd waited I'd still have been allowed to enter New Zealand (citizens and PR are OK), but I'd be in self-isolation now :( Mar 19, 2020 at 20:44

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