New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan

Children born in Japan - applying for New Zealand citizenship by descent

To apply for New Zealand citizenship by descent and a New Zealand passport for a child born in Japan to parents either one or both of whom is a New Zealand citizen by birth or grant, the following steps need to be taken:

1. Register the baby’s birth at the local municipal office and obtain an official Japanese birth certificate (shussei juri shoumeisho or shussei todoke juri shoumeisho).  Where one parent is a Japanese citizen, the Japanese citizen's family register (koseki shouhon) which notes both parents' names and the child's name, may be submitted instead of a birth certificate.

2. Complete an application for New Zealand Citizenship by Descent and send it directly to the Department of Internal Affairs in Wellington together with the required supporting documents.

3. An application for a New Zealand passport for the child can be sent together with the citizenship by descent application to reduce turn-around time.

4. In the case of a child neither parent of whom is a Japanese citizen, application for an appropriate Japanese resident status (visa) for the child should be made with the nearest Japanese immigration office in order to legalise the child’s status in Japan.  This must be done within 30 days.  Required documents include the child's birth registration certificate issued by the local city/ward office, the parents' passports, a letter(s) of employment where a parent(s) is working, and the child's New Zealand passport if available.

For further information about citizenship by descent, including arranging for English translations of Japanese documents, see the Department's website.

Registering a name in New Zealand that differs from the child's name registered on the Japanese parent's family register
Example 1:
Name registered in Japan: Ken Tanaka (田中 健)
Name to be registered in New Zealand: Ken Smith

Use of other parent's surname: Include a completed Change of Name by Statutory Declaration (BDM122) together with the citizenship by descent and passport applications. The declaration can be witnessed at the Embassy or a Consulate office.

Example 2:
Name registered in Japan: Rina Smith (スミス 里奈)
Name to be registered in New Zealand: Leena Smith

Use of an alternative spelling: Request the translation agency approved by the Department of Internal Affairs to translate it as preferred. A change of name by statutory declaration need not be completed.

Example 3:
Name registered in Japan: Naomi Smith (スミス 直美)
Name to be registered in New Zealand: Naomi Penelope Smith

Addition of a middle name: Include a completed Change of Name by Statutory Declaration (BDM122) together with the citizenship by descent and passport applications. The declaration can be witnessed at the Embassy or a Consulate office.

Note: Although the Japanese family register system does not allow middle names, some town/city offices may permit the registration of two names run together as one, such as NaomiPenelope (直美ペネロピ). This can be registered in New Zealand with the Department of Internal Affairs as a separate first and second name by requesting that it be translated as such. In this case, a change of name by statutory declaration need not be completed.

Spelling of name in Japanese passport where one parent is Japanese
The Romanised spelling of the child's name (eg Michael rather than Maikeru) may be requested when applying for a Japanese passport to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Passport Section (Japanese language only). Provide the New Zealand passport or other official document as evidence of the Romanised spelling. If a New Zealand passport or other official document is not held, the Embassy can issue a consular letter confirming that the Romanised spelling would be recognised in New Zealand.

 

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