Someone I know, a New Zealand citizen (born in NZ to NZ citizens), moved to Australia in late 90s, got married, had kids etc. (older teens and early 20s now). Husband and kids are all Australian citizens, and wife has recently (last 5 years) also become Australian citizen.

We were talking and she was wondering whether her kids might also be NZ citizens even though they've never lived in NZ (they've been there, on Oz passports, but only for holidays). And if so, do they need to do anything, or is it automatic and can they just apply for passports etc. if they wanted?

1 Answer 1


Her kids will not be automatic NZ citizens, yet. However, if she is an NZ citizen by birth or by grant (but not by descent), then her children are eligible for citizenship by descent. See Types of citizenship: birth, descent and grant:

You might be eligible for citizenship by descent if you:

  • were born overseas, and
  • have at least 1 parent who was a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant when you were born.

Register your citizenship

If you are a citizen by descent, you need to register your citizenship to make it official and to get a passport.

  • 2
    "Her kids will not be automatic NZ citizens, yet." From reading section 7 of the Citizenship Act 1977, citizenship by descent is automatic at birth if at least one parent was a citizen otherwise than by descent. The law says "is", not "eligible for". Registration does not make someone a citizen by descent. Rather, someone who is already a citizen by descent may register to become a citizen by grant.
    – user102008
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 6:54
  • There was a crisis about this a couple years ago in the Australian parliament which prohibits dual citizens to be members, and some had only realized they had a NZ parent, so were actually dual citizens: bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-40773930
    – SztupY
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 16:32
  • "you need to register your citizenship to make it official" - apparently it costs $200+ each to "make it official"...
    – Midavalo
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 14:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.