New Zealand Passport - History

History

In 1948, following the creation of New Zealand citizenship with the passing of the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act, the Department of Internal Affairs began issuing New Zealand passports for the first time. Between 1948 and 1977, New Zealand passports bore the words 'New Zealand citizen and British subject'.

Starting on 1 July 1981, the Fraser Government announced that New Zealand citizens could no longer travel to Australia without passports, as it was felt that too many people who were not entitled to travel without passports to Australia were passing themselves off as New Zealanders.

In 1992, the Department of Internal Affairs started issuing machine-readable passports in New Zealand, whilst New Zealand overseas posts continued to issue manual passports. Since 24 February 1992, children's names have no longer been endorsed in the passports of their parents. In February 1997, the New Zealand High Commission in London began issuing machine readable passports.

In December 2000, French was removed from the biodata page of the New Zealand passport and replaced with Māori - this change was brought about by the Department of Internal Affairs to reflect the status of Te Reo Māori as an official language of New Zealand and to give "New Zealanders travelling abroad a passport that more accurately reflects their national identity".

In 2001, the Department of Internal Affairs took over responsibility for the London Passport Office from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

By 2003, only around 4% of all New Zealand passport holders still held a non-machine readable version.

All passports issued on or after 24 April 2005 - both adult and child - have a maximum validity of five years as a result of the Passports Amendment Act (2005). Passports that were issued prior to this date continue to remain valid until the date of expiry as stated on the biodata page. On the same day, New Zealand passports were no longer endorsed with name changes, which meant that, for example, changing to a married name required applying for a new passport.

On 26 October 2004, New Zealand diplomatic posts stopped issuing manual passports and, on the same day, began issuing short-term machine-readable emergency travel documents for New Zealand citizens who need to travel urgently. One of the reasons for reducing the number of non-machine readable passports in circulation was to increase the security of New Zealand passports; another was that, starting on this day, New Zealanders travelling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program were required to enter on a machine readable passport. From this date onwards, all New Zealand citizens applying for a passport overseas have had to send their application to the Passport Office in New Zealand, Sydney or London. It has also meant that all New Zealand passports issued on or after 26 October 2004 are machine-readable. Remaining non-machine readable New Zealand passports (M series) are still valid and will expire by 25 October 2014 at the latest (only around 2% of New Zealand passport holders still have a non-machine readable version).

On 4 November 2005, the Department of Internal Affairs began issuing New Zealand biometric passports (EA series). In order to cover the higher costs associated with the production of biometric passports (compared with the previous machine readable passports), the application cost increased from NZ$71 to NZ$150 for adults and from NZ$36 to NZ$80 for children.

On 23 November 2009, the Department of Internal Affairs launched a new (and the current) version of the biometric passport (LA series), supplied under a contract with the Canadian Bank Note Company at a cost of just under $100 million over five years. One of the motivations for a new passport design was to ensure that it would remain difficult to produce counterfeit New Zealand passports. Unlike the previous biometric passport, photographs on the biodata page are now laser engraved in black and white for extra security.

The Department of Internal Affairs plans to have a new passport design within five years of the last launch (i.e. before November 2014) in order to keep ahead of fraudsters who seek to counterfeit New Zealand passports.

The number of New Zealand passports and travel documents issued by year is as follows:

Year Passports (standard service) Passports (urgent service) Emergency travel documents, refugee travel documents and certificates of identity
2010-11
512,017
45,073
1,469
2009-10
396,048
36,841
1,255
2008-09
352,246
34,659
1,173
2007-08
375,585
35,812
1,239
2006-07 398,040
2005-06 385,966
2004-05 411,986
2003-04 390,419
2002-03
279,810
29,741
6,212
2001-02
289,695
28,513
6,120
2000-01
308,399
32,674
6,570
1999-00
308,691
28,733
6,823
1998-99
303,316
26,526
7,664

Read more about this topic:  New Zealand Passport

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