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Which organisation has your record?

We don’t have a record of every immigration to Aotearoa New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand has some records that haven’t been transferred to us yet.

The quickest way to find your record depends on when it was created.

If you immigrated in 1997 or later

It’s easiest to contact Immigration New Zealand and ask for your record.

Request your information from Immigration New Zealand

If you or your family immigrated before 1997

Immigration New Zealand may still have your information, but it may have been transferred to us. In some cases, our records go up to 2007.

Search our collections to find out if we have a record of your arrival or residency status.

Finding immigration records in the archives

If we have a record of your immigration to New Zealand or residency, there are two ways to find it.

1. Search our collections for your name

Start by searching our collections for:

  • your name

  • your parents’ names, if they immigrated before you were born.

Visit Collections search to look for your records

Filter your search

You’ll often get a large number of results if you enter a name into Collections search – especially if it’s a common name. For example, searching for “John Smith” returns over 4,000 results.

You can filter your results so you only see immigration records.

  1. Enter your search term in Collections search.

  2. Find the filter at the top-left of the results page.

  3. Find the Included in series filter.

  4. Tick the box that says Immigration Case Files.

If you search for your name and don’t find your record

We may still have your file. Not all immigration files are listed by the names of the people they relate to. Try searching by record type instead.

2. Search by record type

We have many types of record that contain information about immigration, residency and citizenship.

Some records have been digitised, so you can view them online. If you want to look for your information in a record that hasn’t been digitised, you can:

  • view it in the reading room at the archive where it’s held

  • ask an archivist to check if it contains your name – you’ll need to pay our remote reference fee for this service.

Ask an archivist about immigration records

See all our fees and charges

Search for immigration records

Records containing immigration information                                                                            

You may find a record of your arrival in Aotearoa or your immigration status in these archives.

Immigration case files 1914 - 2007

We have over 200,000 files on people and families who have immigrated to New Zealand. They mainly contain:

  • successful applications for permanent entry or permanent residence visas

  • refugee visa applications

  • appeals after unsuccessful visa applications.

These files don’t contain applications for:

  • temporary visas, like work or holiday visas

  • returning resident visas.

To find them, search our collections for your name. Try different spellings – the names on immigration case files sometimes contain spelling mistakes.

Find immigration case files in Collections search

Access restrictions on immigration case files

Some of our records have access restrictions, which means you need to get permission to view them.

Access to immigration case files is restricted for 100 years after the last date on the file. If you want to view an immigration case file, you need to get permission from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). It's easiest to contact MBIE by email.


Ship and plane passenger lists

Most passenger lists record the names of people who arrived in New Zealand by ship. There are some passenger lists for people who arrived by plane, including those who came as part of immigration drafts (schemes) from specific countries.

Ship passenger lists 1839 – 1973 

We have records of people who arrived by ship into ports across Aotearoa.

These records have been digitised. They’re available for free on FamilySearch, where you can: 

  • search them by passenger name    

  • view them online. 

Finding names in FamilySearch

Remember that names on ship passenger lists were recorded in different ways – you may find the record you need by searching for: 

  • a full name – for example, "John Smith" 

  • an initial and surname – for example, "J Smith"

Browse ship passenger lists on FamilySearch 

Plane passenger lists – arrivals into Auckland 1939 - 1965

Our Auckland archive has lists of people who arrived in Auckland by plane between 1939 and 1965.  The lists are arranged by year of arrival.

These lists are not digitised, so you need to search the paper records for names. You can:

  • view these records in our Auckland reading room 

  • ask an archivist to check them for your name – you’ll need to pay a remote reference fee for this service.

Plane passenger lists – assisted immigration schemes 1949 - 1981

Our Wellington archive has lists of people who arrived by plane through assisted emigration schemes from 1949 - 1981.  

To find these, search our collections for:

  • nominal air drafts

  • immigration air drafts.

Find plane passenger lists in Collections search 

See all our fees and charges

Ask an archivist about passenger lists

Immigration Index 1947 - 1988

You may find a record of your immigration in the Immigration Index at our Wellington archive. The index contains records of over 100,000 immigrations to Aotearoa from 1947 – 1988, organised alphabetically.

The cards may include:

  • dates of arrival into Aotearoa       

  • immigration file numbers.

View the Immigration Index in Collections search

Check the Immigration Index for your name

The index is not digitised – to check if it contains your information, you can:

  • view it in our Wellington reading room

  • ask an archivist to look for your name - you’ll need to pay a remote reference fee for this service.

Ask an archivist about the Immigration Index

Get opening times and make an appointment to visit the Wellington reading room