Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

Dual Citizenship

What is dual citizenship or dual nationality?

If you are a citizen of more than one country you are a dual citizen or dual national. This means you are a citizen of both New Zealand and another country at the same time. New Zealand allows dual citizenship and multiple citizenship but some other countries do not.

How do I know if I’m a dual citizen?

Whether you're a dual citizen depends on the laws of New Zealand and the other country. Different countries may have different rules.

A country could still consider you to be one of their citizens even if you don't accept that nationality if you:

  • have a parent, or in some cases a grandparent, who is a citizen of that country (i.e. you are a citizen of that country by descent)
  • marry a citizen of that country
  • apply for and receive citizenship of that country
  • were born in that country

You may not be aware that another country considers you to be one of their citizens. That country also may not allow you to renounce that citizenship.

Why does this matter?

Dual citizens may not be granted access to New Zealand consular assistance if they enter a country on their non-New Zealand passport, or if they are in the country of their other non-New Zealand citizenship. This can happen even if that country recognises dual citizenship.

Dual citizens may also be subject to local laws that other New Zealanders are not, such as the requirement to undertake military service or pay certain local taxes. Some laws may apply to citizens of that country regardless of the country in which they now live, including New Zealand.

Before you travel …

If you are a dual citizen or think you may be, we advise you to contact the nearest embassy or consulate of that country to check its rules before you travel to or through that country.

For more information on dual citizenship see the Department of Internal Affairs’ website and our services page.

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