The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Resource material › Our Policy Advice Areas › Identity Policy

The Identity and General Policy team is responsible for providing administrative and strategic policy advice to the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Government for a number of different Acts.

The team also provides advice and support on other identity-related issues dealt with by the Department, such as biometrics. See also: General Policy and Regulatory Impact Statements

Link below to more information about the legislation administered by the Department:

Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995

Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Act 1995 provides for the registration of births, deaths, marriages, civil unions, name changes, sex changes and adoptions in New Zealand. The Act also governs the access to this information.

The day-to-day functions of this Act rest with a statutory officer, the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Please note that the Ministry of Justice administers a number of Acts which impact on the functions of the Registrar-General, including the Marriage Act 1955, the Civil Union Act 2004, the Human Assisted Reproduction Technology Act 2004, and the Status of Children Act 1969.

If you would like to contact the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry Office see How to Contact Us

Birth, Death, Marriage, and Civil Union Fees 2017

New schedules of fees for birth, death, marriage, and civil union (BDMCU) products and services came into effect on 22 May 2017.

The schedules of fees are set under the following regulations: These regulations are associated with the following Acts: the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act 1995; Marriage Act 1955; and Civil Union Act 2004. It is noted that the Ministry of Justice administer the Marriage Act 1955 and the Civil Union Act 2004.

A Regulatory Impact Statement was prepared by the Department and can be found here: Regulatory Impact Statements

Cabinet has approved for the above regulations to be submitted to the Executive Council. These regulations amend current fees for existing BDMCU products and services, and introduce new fees for marriage and/or civil union celebrants:
Note: The Department has withheld information in the EGI Cabinet Paper under section 9(2) of the Official Information Act 1982, where withholding of the information is necessary to protect the privacy of natural persons. The Department considered, in the circumstances of this particular case, the withholding of the identified information is not outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable to make that information available in the public interest.

More information about the fee changes is available here:

Citizenship Act 1977

Citizenship Act 1977 provides the right of persons born in New Zealand to become citizens if one of their parents is a citizen or entitled to reside indefinitely in New Zealand.

The Act also sets out in what circumstances a person born overseas to a New Zealand citizen can be considered a New Zealand citizen by descent.

The standard requirements for a grant of citizenship (sometimes referred to as naturalisation) are also contained in the Act, as well as provisions for a grant of citizenship in special cases.

The Act also provides for how a person can lose their citizenship either by voluntarily renouncing citizenship, or by the Minister of Internal Affairs depriving a person of citizenship.

If you would like more information about applying for citizenship see How to Contact Us

Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982

Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 provides that the grant of citizenship shall, as of right, be given to any Samoan citizen who was in New Zealand on 14 September 1982, and to any Samoan who is entitled to reside indefinitely in New Zealand and who enters New Zealand on or after 15 September 1982.

If you would like more information about applying for citizenship under this Act see How to Contact Us

Electronic Identity Verification Act 2012

Electronic Identity Verification Act 2012 regulates the operation of the igovt identity verification service.

This service provide individuals using the Internet with the option of an easy, secure and privacy-protective way to verify their identities to a high level of confidence to access a range of services from various agencies. For more information, see: RealMe login service.

Cabinet has agreed to a range of regulations to support the service. These regulations prescribe agencies that can use the service, how long information may be retained for if an individual stops using the service and other administrative matters.

Note: The final shape of the regulations are still to be approved by the Governor-General in Executive Council. Note: No information has been withheld, other than the distribution list and name of the Cabinet Office committee secretary from the Cabinet minute (as required by Cabinet Office Notice (09) 5).

Identity Information Confirmation Act 2012

Identity Information Confirmation Act 2012 provides a consent based service to allow both public and private sector agencies to check whether identity information presented by customers is the same as that recorded by the Department, through its citizenship, passports, and Births, Deaths and Marriages registry functions.

Passports Act 1992

The right for New Zealanders to obtain a passport is set out in the
Passports Act 1992. The Act also provides for the grounds on which a passport can be refused and cancelled.

The Act also provides for a number of other travel documents, such as certificates of identity (for non-citizens who cannot obtain a passport from their home country) and refugee travel documents.

The Act also contains offence provisions for forging a passport and other related matters.

If you would like to apply for a passport visit

Dealing with Classified Security Information under the Passports Act 1992

This protocol has been agreed by the Chief Justice and the Attorney-General in accordance with section 29AC(1) of the Passports Act 1992.

Passports (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2012 (2 November 2012)

The Passports Act also provides for fees for passports and other identity documents to be specified through regulations.

Fees for a new online passport renewal service and reduced fees for adult passport applications (apart from applications to the London and Sydney offices) were introduced on 2 November 2012:

Further information

The following information relates to the Identity Policy work of the Department of Internal Affairs:

*You need Adobe Reader installed on your computer to view these files. If you are unable to open the files we recommend you get the latest version of Adobe Reader. You can download and install Acrobat Reader for free from the Adobe website.