Knowledge base articles

What is the difference between a New Zealand resident and a New Zealand citizen?

A New Zealand resident is legally and permanently allowed to live in New Zealand although they do not have all of the rights and privileges of a New Zealand citizen.

These additional rights and privileges include being able to hold a New Zealand passport, receive some educational scholarships, or represent New Zealand in some international sports.

People who have been resident in New Zealand for five years (on a residence class visa), and meet conditions set by the Department of Internal Affairs, are able to apply for New Zealand citizenship. For more information visit the Department of Internal Affairs website.

New Zealand citizenship

What about using government services and benefits (health care, pensions)? Are there restrictions for residents?

As we are only able to advise you on matters concerning immigration, we recommend that you contact the relevant government bodies for information on any services they may provide to New Zealand citizens or residents.

Relevant government bodies