Yeah, we get it. You’ve seen your friend’s overseas holiday snaps on Instagram and it’s got you super envious. You’re a little tired of the constant spamming, but how can you blame them, when there are so many wonderful places to explore. It’s got you thinking about sorting out your passport before you head overseas. 

We’ve got a quick step-by-step guide to help you get to your dream destination in no time.

Applying for the first time

Ok first-timers, you’ll need to be a New Zealand citizen and at least 16 years old. You can apply online or in person – it’s entirely up to you. But if you’re time poor (like the majority of us), I’d recommend setting up a RealMe account so you can complete the application online. It’ll take no more than 15 minutes to complete. You’ll need a digital photo – taken in the last six months (and please no selfies), and a reliable internet connection. It’ll cost you around $180, but the countries you’ll get to explore, people you’ll meet and the cultural experiences you’ll participate in – will be well worth the coin.

World Map

Personal details

Details are important and could end up resulting in extra paperwork and a delayed passport if incorrect. So proceed with caution and make sure you don’t use your nickname. It needs to be a legit name and registered with the births, deaths and marriage registrar.  If you’ve got a middle name, be sure to include this in your application form.

Choosing a witness

You’ll need to find someone that’s known you for longer than one year, and willing to provide their passport information and contact details. They can’t live with you, be related to you or be your other half – so you’ll need to think outside the box. Shouldn’t be too hard though, call your best friend and let them know that you’re going to need a favour.

Passport photo

The government is pretty strict when it comes to passport photos. There must be no background shadow, file size must be between 500KB and 10MB, and photo size must be between 900 pixels wide by 1200 pixels high and 4500 pixels wide by 6000 pixels high (*yawns). Sounds complicated, right? We recommend you go to your local post office, chemist or professional photographer who knows what they’re doing. It’ll save you the hassle – and you’ll get your passport in no time. Oh and please don’t smile for the camera!


Processing time

Due to board the plane in just under two weeks? No worries, you can apply for an urgent passport and receive it in three days (excluding delivery time). You can pick it up from one of the government offices in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. An urgent passport will set you back some extra coin, but at least you won’t miss your flight!

Before you travel

It’s your responsibility to keep your passport safe and in excellent condition. Make sure your passport never leaves your sight, otherwise keep it secure in your hotel room safe. We recommend you provide a family member with a photocopy of your passport (and keep one for yourself), just in case there’s an emergency.  You could also buy a passport holder to prevent it from getting rips and tears. You may be refused entry into a country if your passport is damaged, and could end up like the German man who was denied admission onboard a flight to New Zealand – all because his dog chewed his passport.


A passport is your golden ticket to exploring the world. It’s that fundamental step to freedom and will leave you with a serious case of the travel bug when you return. If you’d like more information on passport requirements or would like to apply online, check out


Limits, exclusions and conditions apply. This is general advice only. We do not provide any advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the Combined PDS/FSG (available before deciding about this insurance.