How to join

Citizenship and security

Security checks

Because the New Zealand Defence Force is part of New Zealand’s security network, applicants for positions within the Defence Force are required to agree that they will be subject to security vetting by the Defence Force, NZ Police and the NZ Security Intelligence Service. The Government’s Protective Security Requirements provides policy guidance on the security vetting process.

The Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 and The Criminal Disclosures Act 2008 do not apply to applications made for positions in the Defence Force.

As part of the initial application process, applicants undergo an initial security assessment to check if they meet the minimum security requirements. If an application is successful, applicants will complete further vetting to apply for a national security clearance at a later stage in the application process.

At any stage of the application process, including the enlistment stage, an applicant’s application may be declined as a result of security vetting. Failure to obtain and retain an appropriate level of security clearance may result in the termination of employment with the Defence Force.

Security clearances in the NZDF

There are varying levels of security clearance depending on your trade and the areas you will work in.

  • Confidential Vetting (CV)
  • Secret Vetting (SV)
  • Top Secret Vetting (TSV) 

Listed below are the minimum security requirements that are required to be eligible for each level of security clearance.

These are the minimum requirements only. There are other factors considered as part of the security vetting process, as outlined in the Government’s Protective Security Requirements, that may make an applicant unsuitable to hold a national security clearance.

For CV trades

To be considered for this trade you must be:

  • A NZ Citizen or NZ Residence class visa holder, who has resided in this country continuously for at least the last five years, or since the age of 18, OR
  • A NZ Citizen or NZ Residence class visa holder, who has resided continuously in one or more of the following countries for the last five years, or since the age of 18: either Australia, Canada, NZ, the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (USA); and a background history that is verifiable and can be assessed as appropriate by the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) towards a recommendation of suitability for a security clearance at this level.
For SV & TSV trades

To be considered for this trade you must be:

  • Preferably a NZ citizen*, who has resided continuously in this country for the last 10 years, or since the age of 18, OR
  • Preferably a NZ citizen*, who has resided continuously in one or more of the following countries for the last 10 years, or since the age of 18: either Australia, Canada, NZ, UK or the USA; and has a background history that is verifiable and can be assessed as appropriate by the NZSIS towards a recommendation of suitability for a security clearance at a higher level.

*NZ Residence class visa holders may be considered in some cases.

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