Am I eligible?

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.

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.

Am I eligible?

A self-help tool is available on the Protective Security Requirements website to help you determine if you might be eligible for a security clearance.

To begin, check what level of security clearance is required for the role you are interested in on the relevant trade page.

Army Information systems Operator landscape

Security clearance requirements

CV
SV
TSV

To be considered for a trade that requires a Confidential Vetting (CV) security clearance, 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.

To be considered for a trade that requires a Secret Vetting (SV) security clearance, 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.

To be considered for a trade that requires a Top Secret Vetting (TSV) security clearance, 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.

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.

Criminal convictions

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

The NZDF require any person enlisting to attain and maintain a security clearance (the level of which will be dependent on rank and role applied for) and as such a New Zealand Police check will be conducted.  There are three possible outcomes following such a check:

  • The check is clear -the candidate proceeds;
  • The check is problematic- the candidate is stood down for a period as they are not eligible to apply for a security clearance; or
  • The check reveals a higher end offence or repeated offences or infringements - the candidate's application is declined.

Each candidate is assessed on his or her own circumstances, and the outcomes will vary depending on the history, frequency and seriousness of offending.  A court appearance where the result is anything other than a not guilty finding, will result in at least a stand down period and, if the nature of the offence is serious, it may result in the NZDF declining an application.  This includes cases where the result is diversion or discharge without conviction. 

Should a candidate wish to request that the NZDF revisit the decision, he or she is able to write and ask for reconsideration of the decision (and include any relevant documentation).

Back to top