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Thread: Presence requirements for New Zealand Citizenship by grant

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  1. #1
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    Default Presence requirements for New Zealand Citizenship by grant

    Dear all,

    a couple of weeks ago I heard from friends that it was possible to apply for citizenship before the end of the standard 5 years of NZ residency.
    Is this only true for exceptional cases?

    I checked requirements on https://www.govt.nz/browse/passports...-requirements/

    I am a bit confused by an example case scenario shown, which says:

    "To meet the requirement, you need to have been in New Zealand for:

    at least 240 days in each 12-month period, and
    1,350 days across the 5 years."

    I obtained a Resident Visa on the 21st of April 2016 and a Permanent Resident Visa on the 3rd of May 2018.

    I have not completed the 5 years since obtaining my Resident Visa on 21/04/16, but I have definitely been living here well over the requirement of 1,350 days.

    Can I then apply for citizenship only from the 20th of April 2021, or perhaps earlier, given that in total I have been out of NZ for less than 70 days since the September 2014 (on WTR visa until 21/04/16)?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    That's not exceptional at all: it is the standard presence requirement that one is present in New Zealand with the right to remain indefinitely for a minimum of 1,350 days in the five years preceding the citizenship application, and for at least 240 days in each of the five years. The Citizenship Office calculates presence from the date that they receive your completed application, together with the required fee.

    An individual who never or rarely travels out of New Zealand may therefore meet this requirement before 5 years from the grant of a Resident Visa has elapsed: someone who never travels out of New Zealand will meet the standard presence requirement after precisely 4 years and 240 days since the grant of their Resident Visa.

    It is not able to give you a definite answer without knowing your exact travel history, but since the Citizenship Office works backwards from your application being received and paid for, you should do the same. Pick the date that you are likely to lodge your application, then look at each of the five year periods prior (so, if you plan on lodging your application on 2021-04-20, look at 2020-04-21 to 2021-04-20, 2019-04-21 to 2020-04-20, etc.), then add up the days you have been present in New Zealand (inclusive of arrival and departure dates, but exclusive of periods where you have not held a residence class visa). Each of those 5 periods must come to 240 days or more, and the sum of all of those 5 periods must come to 1,350 days or more.

    If you have any doubt as to your travel history, you may request the records that Immigration New Zealand holds of your travel movements. The Citizenship Office will base their assessment of you meeting the presence requirement on these same records.

    The "exceptional cases" requirement allows the applicant to only have been in New Zealand for at least 450 days in the 20 months immediately preceding the date of application and have held New Zealand residence for that whole period. This reduction of the presence requirement is only applied when the applicant's situation is well outside the normal run of circumstances found in citizenship grant cases generally; the circumstances do not have to be unique or very rare, but they do have to be truly an exception rather than the rule, or they would need to be out of the ordinary and comparatively rare. If you believe that you have exceptional circumstances that merit consideration for a reduction of the presence requirement, you should contact the Citizenship Office to discuss your situation.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelerei View Post
    That's not exceptional at all: it is the standard presence requirement that one is present in New Zealand with the right to remain indefinitely for a minimum of 1,350 days in the five years preceding the citizenship application, and for at least 240 days in each of the five years. The Citizenship Office calculates presence from the date that they receive your completed application, together with the required fee.

    An individual who never or rarely travels out of New Zealand may therefore meet this requirement before 5 years from the grant of a Resident Visa has elapsed: someone who never travels out of New Zealand will meet the standard presence requirement after precisely 4 years and 240 days since the grant of their Resident Visa.

    It is not able to give you a definite answer without knowing your exact travel history, but since the Citizenship Office works backwards from your application being received and paid for, you should do the same. Pick the date that you are likely to lodge your application, then look at each of the five year periods prior (so, if you plan on lodging your application on 2021-04-20, look at 2020-04-21 to 2021-04-20, 2019-04-21 to 2020-04-20, etc.), then add up the days you have been present in New Zealand (inclusive of arrival and departure dates, but exclusive of periods where you have not held a residence class visa). Each of those 5 periods must come to 240 days or more, and the sum of all of those 5 periods must come to 1,350 days or more.

    If you have any doubt as to your travel history, you may request the records that Immigration New Zealand holds of your travel movements. The Citizenship Office will base their assessment of you meeting the presence requirement on these same records.

    The "exceptional cases" requirement allows the applicant to only have been in New Zealand for at least 450 days in the 20 months immediately preceding the date of application and have held New Zealand residence for that whole period. This reduction of the presence requirement is only applied when the applicant's situation is well outside the normal run of circumstances found in citizenship grant cases generally; the circumstances do not have to be unique or very rare, but they do have to be truly an exception rather than the rule, or they would need to be out of the ordinary and comparatively rare. If you believe that you have exceptional circumstances that merit consideration for a reduction of the presence requirement, you should contact the Citizenship Office to discuss your situation.
    Hi , Just another question. I am getting very confused with presence requirement for citizenship.

    My wife got residence on 29 Jan 2021. And technically she may be eligible for citizenship on 29 Jan 2026. However, there is an issue on her 240 days stay in NZ.

    Period 1 = 29 Jan 2021 - 28 Jan 2022 (days in NZ = 240+)
    Period 2 = 29 Jan 2022 - 28 Jan 2023 (days in NZ = 202)
    Period 3 = 29 Jan 2023 - 28 Jan 2024 (days in NZ = 240+)
    Period 4 = 29 Jan 2023 - 28 Jan 2025 (days in NZ = 240+)
    Period 5 = 29 Jan 2024 - 28 Jan 2026 (days in NZ = 240+)

    Her stay in year-2 has been interrupted. Would that mean that her Period 1 and Period 2 stay has gone to zero and she needs to spend 2 additional years to make up for that? OR, she has to spend few additional month(s), for example till May-2026 so that going backwards, her 240+ days stay requirements in that 5-years block will get satisfied. Thanks.
    Last edited by desilva; 28th June 2022 at 08:21 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
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    It is possible to be granted NZ citizenship under Section 9 of the Citizenship Act without meeting all of the standard requirements -- my wife and I, and our youngest son, were granted citizenship under this section of the Act.

    All I can say is that you must be able to present a compelling case in favour of ministerial discretion, and be prepared to meet incredible scrutiny at every stage of the process (the process took us nearly two years), unless you are extremely wealthy and well-connected (e.g. Peter Thiel).

  5. #5
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    Dec 2015
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    Yesterday, I completed exactly 4 years and 8 month since I obtained residency.

    I just realized that INZ has released a new real-time calculator that actually checks your records against INZ database. You just need to provide your basic details and passport number and it will tell you whether you meet the presence requirements or not.

    I've entered my details today and said I'm eligible. I already knew that, hence the reason I booked an appointment on Monday December 14th for my citizenship application.

    Check it below

    https://dia.services.govt.nz/presence-calculator/
    Last edited by hazz; 12th December 2020 at 11:34 PM.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2016
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    Hi Hazz,

    My friend is also in the same situation, completed 4 years and 8 months with the residence visa.

    So in the application form, which option you chose for the below question :

    "Have you lived in New Zealand with residence status for five years or more? " Yes or No

  7. #7
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    Dec 2015
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    New Zealand
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    Hi cijoc,

    I have selected 'yes' but it's just a quiz so it shouldn't matter as long as you actually meet the requirement. However, your friend should be 100% sure otherwise if they apply 1 day early, they will be asked to withdraw the application and apply again.

    Here's my story:

    I got a call before my appointment on December 14th 2020 and asked me not to come because I don't meet the presence requirement. I've missed something important. Here's the final and simple calculation for everyone assuming you never left the country for more than 4 months on each year:

    4 years + 240 days is the earliest you can apply but here's the trick, The 240 days must be continuous within your first year of residency not the 5th year.

    I got my residency on April 11th 2016 so to qualify, I shouldn't have travelled outside for a single day between April 11th to December 7th 2016 (240 days). If you leave for one day then you add it at the end.

    I have left for 16 days during my first residency year and so the case office told me you will meet the requirement on December 27th not 11th (+16 days). She was nice to me and told me if you went ahead and applied you will lose your money and will be asked to apply later.

    I told her about the new calculator which I posted above, and she said we just released it a couple of weeks ago and it's not accurate (it doesn't check against your travel records).

    I told her I don't want to apply online and she laughed as said yeah people keep saying applying in person is quicker and it's true but not anymore. They will stop in-person applications soon and they will focus on online applications so it will become quicker next year.

    So that's my story. Hope it helps others.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz View Post
    Hi cijoc,

    I have selected 'yes' but it's just a quiz so it shouldn't matter as long as you actually meet the requirement. However, your friend should be 100% sure otherwise if they apply 1 day early, they will be asked to withdraw the application and apply again.

    Here's my story:

    I got a call before my appointment on December 14th 2020 and asked me not to come because I don't meet the presence requirement. I've missed something important. Here's the final and simple calculation for everyone assuming you never left the country for more than 4 months on each year:

    4 years + 240 days is the earliest you can apply but here's the trick, The 240 days must be continuous within your first year of residency not the 5th year.

    I got my residency on April 11th 2016 so to qualify, I shouldn't have travelled outside for a single day between April 11th to December 7th 2016 (240 days). If you leave for one day then you add it at the end.

    I have left for 16 days during my first residency year and so the case office told me you will meet the requirement on December 27th not 11th (+16 days). She was nice to me and told me if you went ahead and applied you will lose your money and will be asked to apply later.

    I told her about the new calculator which I posted above, and she said we just released it a couple of weeks ago and it's not accurate (it doesn't check against your travel records).

    I told her I don't want to apply online and she laughed as said yeah people keep saying applying in person is quicker and it's true but not anymore. They will stop in-person applications soon and they will focus on online applications so it will become quicker next year.

    So that's my story. Hope it helps others.
    Makes sense, given that the Department of Internal Affairs works backwards from your application date.

    Let's say that someone gains residency on January 1st 2020, and applies for citizenship exactly 4 years and 240 days later (which would be August 28th 2024 in this example). The Citizenship Office will then look at the following time periods:

    • Period 1: August 29th 2019 to August 28th 2020
    • Period 2: August 29th 2020 to August 28th 2021
    • Period 3: August 29th 2021 to August 28th 2022
    • Period 4: August 29th 2022 to August 28th 2023
    • Period 5: August 29th 2023 to August 28th 2024


    And assuming no international travel at all, their calculations would come to:

    • Period 1: 240 days (as the period August 29th 2019 to December 31st 2019 cannot be counted in this example, due to residency being gained on January 1st 2020)
    • Period 2: 365 days
    • Period 3: 365 days
    • Period 4: 365 days
    • Period 5: 366 days (extra day, leap year)


    As you can see in this example, the requirement is exactly met (each of the 5 periods is 240 days or more, and the sum of all 5 periods is 1,350 days or more) -- but as the first of the periods is exactly 240 days, this example leaves no margin for error. If the person was out of the country for 5 days between January 1st 2020 and August 28th 2020 (and forgot to consider this, or didn't think they had to consider this), the time spent in Period 1 drops to 235 days, and the presence requirement is no longer met. Sounds like this is what caught you out.

    I think the confusion comes in because people believe that the Citizenship Office works forwards from the date residency is gained, but this is not correct: they work backwards from the date you lodge your application. The only reliable way of calculating one's eligibility is thus to do as the Citizenship Office does: work backwards from the date of application to determine the date ranges of the five periods (as in my example), then calculate presence in each of those periods (making sure all of them are 240 days or more), and if that's good, add them all up to make sure the combined total is 1,350 days or more. This confusion could be solved by the Citizenship Office providing an example, much like mine, on how to calculate presence -- the example scenarios provided are somewhat vague in this regard.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Thanks, Hazz for the info.

    My friend got Residence Visa on 13 April 2016 and he arrived in NZ on 13 June 2016.

    Hopefully, by Feb 21 he will be eligible, but in the new calculator it's showing as " You currently meet the presence requirement ........ "

    So bit confusing ??

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by cijoc View Post
    Thanks, Hazz for the info.

    My friend got Residence Visa on 13 April 2016 and he arrived in NZ on 13 June 2016.

    Hopefully, by Feb 21 he will be eligible, but in the new calculator it's showing as " You currently meet the presence requirement ........ "

    So bit confusing ??
    The calculator, as Hazz already mentioned, is somewhat broken right now.

    Assuming that your friend lodges his application today, the first of the five time periods would be 19th December 2015 to 18th December 2016. If one only considers the date of grant of visa (13th April 2016), it's 250 days, but from date of first entry into New Zealand (which is the correct way to calculate things), it's 189 days (and therefore presence requirement is not yet met). I think that's solid enough evidence that the calculator is only considering visa grant dates, and not considering travel movements (which, for the presence requirement, it should be).

    Until the Department of Internal Affairs fixes their calculator to consider travel movements, you're best off calculating presence manually -- and I've explained a few posts up how to do this.

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