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Inconsistencies in processing of citizenship application

Alisha made this Official Information request to Department of Internal Affairs

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From: Alisha

Kia ora Department of Internal Affairs,

As we know before the COVID-19 situation the timeframe for the citizenship was 3 to 5 months. As I understand during COVID-19, the time frame changed to 5-10 months little longer which is acceptable due to lockdown situation.

Now the COVID-19 situation is properly handled by the government, election finished and the businesses are back to normal but your time frame has been again been extended from 7 to 12 months from when I applied, to 9 to 14 months.

I also note that the Citizenship office encourage people to apply online or by post. This is where I would like to raise my concerns because from what I am hearing from people who have recently applied in-person are getting priority and their application is being processed within 3 to 4 months.

This is very distressing and disheartening for me because I noted the message/request posted on your website and abided it, is being disadvantaged.

I truly understand how the pandemic and lockdowns would have affected your office and kaimahi/employees resulting in huge backlogs. I do like to acknowledge the mahi and all the hard work everyone's been putting at work, especially after a very tough period.

But as a member of the public who has been supportive of the request made by the Citizenship Office and submitted my application online, is still waiting in a long queue of applications.

I feel misguided by the information presented on the website. I am extremely saddened to experience this unfair situation.

I do not wish to make any complaints or put anyone's livelihood at risk.

I hope you understand what people who are separated from their families due to border closure are going through right now. And a situation like this is adversely affecting our mental wellbeing.

I wanted to voice this concern to the Department and hope it gets heard.

Please be kind.

Ngā mihi nūi,

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From: Jessica Anderton
Department of Internal Affairs

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Kia ora Alisha


Thank you for your message.


You are correct, our processing timeframe for New Zealand Citizenship
applications have increased. This is due to a number of factors. More
information about current timeframes and causes for the delay can be found
here on our website:


There are two ways a customer can apply, either online or via a paper form
(by post or dropped off at a counter). The Department is transitioning
from a paper-based citizenship application system to an online system. As
part of this transition there may have been some instances where a
customer applying on paper may have had their application allocated for
processing slightly more quickly than someone who applied online. All
paper applications received are now being digitised for processing in the
new online system, so will not be processed any faster than an online


As part of this transition, we have not offered face to face appointments
with a Case Officer since September 2020. The Citizenship Office does
encourage customers to apply online, however I would like to reassure you
that applicants who handover their paper application at a counter are not
fast tracked. Although applications are processed in order of receipt,
some applications may take longer due to external checks with other
government agencies.


The Department acknowledges the frustration surrounding the current
citizenship processing times and can advise that there are initiatives
underway to reduce the citizenship application backlog, speed up
processing, and improve general customer experience.


Please refer to our website (link above) for information on how we are
working to improve processing times.


Kind Regards

Jessica | Advisor

Service Advice & Support
Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua




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