Living in the United States

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Getting married in the US

There are a number of things that New Zealanders have to do before getting married overseas.

It is also very important that you contact the marriage authorities in the State in the USA in which you will be getting married to check the marriage law and requirements.

For a New Zealander to marry overseas, s/he can be issued with a Certificate of No Impediment (CONI) to confirm that there is no legal impediment to the marriage taking place. A 'Notice of Intended Marriage of a New Zealand citizen in Another Country Form' needs to be completed and the fee paid. Copies of the forms required can be downloaded from the New Zealand Government website(external link).

This form is sent to the Registrar General in New Zealand who then makes the appropriate enquiries and searches the marriage registrar. After 14 days caveat, the Registrar General then issues the CONI. The CONI is then mailed back to you.

The Department of Internal Affairs(external link)  in Wellington has more details, including fees, application forms, and contacts details.

Paying US social security

If you intend to work in the U.S. you will generally be expected to pay Social Security taxes. Under normal circumstances Social Security payments are available to persons who have worked for ten years in the U.S. and have reached the age of 65 (reduced benefits are available from age 62 and younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability or survivors benefits). These rules will also apply to you should you decide to remain in the U.S. when you retire, or when you receive disability or survivors benefits.

However, if you move outside the U.S. when you retire or are in receipt of disability or survivors benefits, and you have remained a New Zealand citizen, your Social Security payments can only continue if you return to the U.S. every six months for a period of one calendar month. In addition, you may be required to establish lawful presence in the U.S. for that full calendar month period. For more information you may contact the nearest Social Security office or consult the Social Security website(external link).

Voting in New Zealand elections

To vote in the election you must be eligible and enrolled. To enrol you must be:

  • a New Zealand citizen and have visited New Zealand within the last three years, or
  • a permanent resident of New Zealand and have visited New Zealand in the past 12 months.

Check your enrolment details or enrol online on the Elections New Zealand website(external link).

More information about voting from overseas is available on the Elections New Zealand website(external link).

Emergency preparedness in the US

Follow these tips for emergency preparedness. Below are simple steps you and your family can take to become better prepared for an emergency.

Preparedness Tip: You should keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of you and your family for at least three days. Build an emergency supply kit to take with you in an evacuation. The basics to stock in your portable kit include: water, food, battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries, first aid supplies, change of clothing, blanket or sleeping bag, wrench or pliers, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, trash bags, map, a manual can opener for canned food and special items for infants, elderly, the sick or people with disabilities. Keep these items in an easy to carry container such as a covered trash container, a large backpack, or a duffle bag.

New Zealand groups in the US

There are a number of expat networking groups in the western states. They offer a range of services and activities from social get-togethers to business promotion:


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