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Thread: Citizenship, New NZ Passport, Name change, where to start?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    New Zealand

    Default Citizenship, New NZ Passport, Name change, where to start?

    Hi all,

    First of all I used to use this forum a lot when my partner was moving to NZ to live with me and we took the journey from limited visa all the way through to permeant resident, the things I learnt on this forum helped a lot!
    It has been years since I have posted on here but I find myself needing some help again, here is our situation and what we want to do:

    My wife arrived in NZ to be with me (I am NZ citizen) and she was granted a limited visa, then work visa based on partnership, then residence on partnership, and then finally permeant residence. We got married when she had her residence visa and she kept her own last name as we did not know how it would impact her visa and we wanted to avoid any potential complications.

    She got her residence visa almost 5 years ago so I understand soon she will be able to apply for citizenship because of that (we have been living in NZ about 95% of the time so we meet the living in NZ requirement). Then after applying for citizenship she will apply for an NZ passport.

    Now we want to change her name to my last name as we have delayed this for quite a while, I understand there could be a lot to this!

    Here are our main questions for now:

    1 - We were wondering in what order would it be easiest to do this, should she apply for citizenship under her current name and then change it, or should she change her name first? we think it might be best to do the name change now before applying for citizenship, so she can apply for the citizenship under her new name and then get a passport with her new name.

    2 - If we were to change her name now while she is on a permanent residence visa do we need to notify immigration NZ and have them send a new residence label for her passport?

    3 - How do we actually go about changing her name in either of these situations? I understand we may need a new marriage certificate? along with many other things such as her drivers license, then there is telling the bank, work and heaps of other things, is there perhaps some sort of list a person who has changed their name should work through? I am worried we might miss something!

    4 - Is there anything else we should be aware of or consider? I feel like I may have some more questions later once we start the process and learn more about what's involved, so if anyone has any further info that might be helpful that would be great!

    Last edited by David12345; 6th September 2021 at 10:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    Hello again.

    See here. married/changing-your-name-when-you-get-married/ It looks from this page as though your wife's situation isn't as complicated as you might have feared. She is entitled to be known by your last name from the marriage on, and the marriage certificate is enough for proof and/or explanation.

    1. It looks to me as if you're right, and it would be easier to deal with the name-change first - which will mainly be a matter of letting various organisations know. (If you need advice about who and how to tell, I suggest you ask the NZ Citizens' Advice Bureau - they're available online, or over the phone.)

    2. You would need to let INZ know about the name-change. I don't know if a new label would be necessary, and suggest you should ask this question by phoning INZ.

    3. See answer to questions 1 and 2, and that web-page.

    If anyone has gone through a similar process while in NZ, I'm sure your experience would be welcome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    New Zealand (ex: South Africa)


    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    I don't know if a new label would be necessary, and suggest you should ask this question by phoning INZ.
    This one, I know from my partner's experience.

    It will entirely depend on whether or not she gets a new passport reflecting the name change. If she decides to continue using her existing passport with the old name, then no action needs to be taken. If she gets a new passport with the new name, then the standard visa transfer process will apply (and you can see from that link that INZ will happily accept a certified copy of the marriage certificate as proof that she is entitled to use that new name).

    Ultimately, the personal details printed on the visa label or eVisa must match the personal details on the passport to be used for travelling.

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