The majority of the Immigration Act 2009 provisions have come into effect on 29 November 2010. The timing for commencement of the remaining provisions relating to biometric information will be confirmed at a later date. These provisions will only come into effect via Orders in Council, once Cabinet is satisfied that the appropriate training and operating instructions have been developed and that appropriate safeguards are in place.
You can also view this page as a PDF document: Biometrics factsheet PDF.
Biometric information uniquely distinguishes one person from another and can be used to establish a record of and confirm an individual’s identity. It is regarded as essential to a modern immigration system.
The most common forms of biometric information are photographs and fingerprints. Other forms of biometric information include iris scans and voice recognition.
The Immigration Act 2009 allows for the collection of the following biometric information from foreign nationals, for immediate use and storage for future use:
Biometric information collected is only allowed to be used to:
The Immigration Act 2009 also allows biometric information to be collected from New Zealand citizens on arrival in New Zealand. This information is matched against the information in their New Zealand passport. Where the person’s identity and citizenship is confirmed, the information is disposed of and is not stored.
The Privacy Act 1993 contains safeguards to ensure that privacy considerations are upheld and maintained where any information is collected, stored and/or used.
The collection of biometric information must be consistent with the Privacy Act, which requires that an individual be:
For more information, see our Identity Management pages.
Disclaimer: Every care has been taken to ensure the information in this factsheet is accurate. While the use of the information in this factsheet may assist you in your application, applications will be assessed by Immigration New Zealand according to the requirements of the Immigration Act 2009.