Applying for a role with us

Below is information on how to apply for a role at MFAT and the Ministry's recruitment process, including interview preparation and security clearance requirements.

How to apply

To apply for a role with us please use the 'apply' link on the relevant vacancy. You will need to complete an online application form that includes uploading your cover letter and CV.

The Ministry does not have capacity to accept CVs other than for advertised roles. If you are interested in being informed about new vacancies within the Ministry please register for job alerts.

When we receive your application

We will email you to acknowledge we have received your application. Once applications have closed, the selection panel will shortlist applicants.

If you don't make the shortlist, we will let you know as soon as possible. If you are shortlisted, we will let you know the next steps in the selection process.


Personal information is required to assess your application and your suitability for employment within the Ministry. It will be kept, used and disclosed only in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993 and the Public Records Act 2005.

All information you provide as part of your application will be treated as confidential by the Ministry and used only for the purpose it is collected. If your application is successful, this information will be kept on your personal file and can be used for the purposes of your employment in the Ministry.

Security clearance process

The standard for all Ministry positions is that you ‘must be able to obtain and maintain an appropriate New Zealand Government Security clearance’.

Most of our roles, including Foreign Policy Officers, require you to hold New Zealand Citizenship because your role will require you to get a Diplomatic Passport. If citizenship is a requirement of the role, the job description will mention this.

Before an interview

Before getting to the interview stage, we will ask applicants to provide additional information to help us establish if you are likely to be able to gain a National security clearance, to the level required for your role. This information will include:

  • your citizenship and residency status
  • the citizenship and residency status of your family
  • any significant time spent travelling, working or studying overseas during the last 5-10 years
  • any significant or financial ties to other countries
  • any criminal convictions - please note that the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 does not apply to the national security clearance vetting process.
  • any ongoing or repeated credit or financial issues
  • illegal drug use or alcohol abuse
  • mental, emotional or personality disorders

The vetting process

The answers to these questions will indicate the likelihood of a candidate gaining a security clearance, or how complex the vetting process may be. The answers you provide will not determine the outcome of the vetting process, and national security clearances will not be granted until a vetting process has been completed by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

If you become the preferred applicant/are offered a role for the position, you will need to give your consent to the NZSIS to start the vetting process - the higher the clearance level required, the more in-depth their checks will be.

The NZSIS will access personal information about you to assess your suitability to access classified material and facilities. The NZSIS assesses whether there is a risk that you may decide (or be convinced) to use your access inappropriately. They will look at the following areas of your life:

  • organisations or people you are loyal to, who may have influence over you or you are associated with
  • personal relationships and conduct
  • financial situation
  • alcohol and drug use
  • criminal history and conduct
  • security attitudes and violations
  • mental health situation

The following table shows how far back the NZSIS needs to be able to check your background. Note: For all clearance levels, the earliest age you need to go back to is 18.

Clearance level Background checking
SECRET 10 years
TOP SECRET 10 years

NZSIS can check your background when you have spent time living in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA and Germany. If you have spent a considerable part of your adult life outside of those countries, you should talk to your vetting contact to make sure you meet the checkable background criteria.

If you are a preferred candidate, any offer of appointment is conditional on the satisfactory completion of a national security clearance. Criminal record checks are done as part of this process.

More information on security clearances

The NZSIS also publishes more detailed information about the national security clearance vetting(external link) process and the assessment criteria(external link) used for prospective candidates.


If you would like whānau or supporters present, or if you have any particular needs in the interview, let us know beforehand so we can arrange this.

Accessibility requests

The Ministry offers support to any candidates with specific accessibility requirements. Any reasonable requests will be accommodated through the recruitment and assessment process.


We check a minimum of two references prior to appointing someone in a role, and preferably with your recent managers.

Current or previous MFAT employees will need to give us permission to ask for comments from your current and/or former Ministry manager(s) to assess your suitability. You do not have to provide reference details until we ask you later in the recruitment process.


We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. You can find out more information on our Privacy Page.