26 May 2023
45 Pipitea Street, Wellington 6011
Phone +64 4 495 7200
Terry via FYI fyi-request-22601-
Tēnā koe Terry
OIA request 22/23 0798 Request for Citizenship Timeframes
Thank you for your Official Information Act (Act) request received by the Department of Internal
Affairs (Department) on 28 April 2023.
You requested –
I am aware that the key reasons for an application failing the automated checks are:
Applicant is not from an English-speaking country or does not hold a visa-type
that automatically demonstrates they meet the English language requirements
System does not automatically show that the applicant meets the presence
requirement for New Zealand citizenship.
System does not automatically provide a photo match with Immigration New
Regarding these reasons, I have the following questions and request the OIA:
1. For the first reason (i): what type of the visas will be automatically considered to meet
the English language requirement?
1(a) If applicants hold these visas, how do they answer the English language requirement
question in the online application form?
1(b) In addition, in the online application form, under the English language requirement
question, it states that “Is English the applicant’s first language? You can answer 'yes' if
you currently speak English on a daily basis, or if you grew up in an English-speaking
country.” Does it mean that applicants using English on daily basis, such as at work, would
be considered English as their first language?
2. For the second reason (ii): An applicant has met the total 1350 days requirement and 240
days requirements for five years. However, the applicant applied the citizenship before
the fifth anniversary of their residency. In such case, does this applicant meet the
presence requirement? Will this application fail the automatic check?
3. For the third reason(iii): How applicants can avoid this issue and pass the automatic
4. Do applicants having other names (rather than offical names or offical name changes),
such as English name used in workplaces, require mannual verification and fail the
5. Futhermore, is there any reasons that automated checks may fail?
6. I would reuqest a list of applications showing
(a) the dates for applications submitted, officer allocated and
(b) decisions made from November 2022 to today (the latest).
I have replaced the bullet points in your original request (above) by labelling and numbering
them for ease of response.
On the 11 May 2023 we sought clarification via email for questions 5, 6(a) and 6(b). For question
5 we needed to confirm whether the word ‘other’ was missing from this question, which you
confirmed it was, and your updated question is as follows:
''Futhermore, is there any 'other' reasons that automated checks may fail?"
For questions 6(a) & 6(b) we sought clarification for this question because as it stood that part
would likely be refused under 18(f) of the Act due to substantial collation. However, you
confirmed that you would still like:
“Both 6(a) and 6(b) if they are available please”.
In response to your request, I can provide you with the information below.
Question 1 Response
The visas that are considered to meet the English language requirement are:
- Investor Categories: Employees of relocating businesses, Investor, Entrepreneur Residence
Visa, Investor 2 category
- Family Categories: Parent
- Skilled Categories: Skilled Migrant and Residence from work
Question 1(a) Response
The applicant needs to answer the questions truthfully in the online citizenship by grant (CBG)
Question 1(b) Response
You have identified question 15 in the online CBG application form which asks, ‘Is English your
first language?’, with further information that states – If you grew up in an English-speaking
country tick ‘yes’. If you did not grow up in an English-speaking country, tick ‘no’.
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Question 16 in the online CBG application form asks about conversational English with
information that says: If you can speak English in everyday situations, such as talking to your
doctor or dealing with your bank, tick ‘yes’. However please note that speaking and
understanding English in everyday situations alone does not determine whether someone is
assessed as meeting the English language requirement.
Question 2 Response
Yes, they do meet presence requirement and no, it will not fail the automated check.
Question 3 Response
If Immigration New Zealand does not have a photo on file during the automated check, the
application will be placed into a different queue as the Life and Identity Services Officer who
processes the application will need to complete further processing steps. Applicants cannot
avoid this issue.
Question 4 Response
No, declaring having used other names, whether officially or just in everyday life, does not affect
the automated checks.
Question 5 Response
Yes, there are other reasons (other than the ones mentioned above) that can fail the automated
- if applicants have particular conditions on their visas;
- if the system is not able to automatically match the application with an Immigration
- if the system cannot automatically confirm that the applicant has met some of the
character requirements (the Citizenship office still do manual external checks after the
automation process has been completed); and
- where there is information provided in the application that the system flags as needing
Questions 6(a) and 6(b) Responses
To provide the information for this question would require substantial collation. Therefore, this
part of your request has been refused under section 18(f) of the Act: the information requested
cannot be made available without substantial collation or research.
As this information may be of interest to other members of the public, the Department has
decided to proactively release a copy of this response on the DIA website. All requestor data,
including your name and contact details, will be removed prior to release. The released
response will be made available here: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Official-Information-Act-
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You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this decision.
Information about how to make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or
freephone 0800 802 602.
Manager Operational Policy and Official Correspondence
Service Delivery and Operations
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