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Replacing important documents

What do I do if my important documents have been lost or destroyed?

If your important documents have been lost or destroyed, you might feel very overwhelmed and stressed – but these documents can be replaced. This FAQ has information about how to get new copies things like your passport, birth certificate and visa. 

Some important documents, like your passport, driver’s licence, and eftpos/credit cards, have to be cancelled before you can order replacements. If you don’t know where to start, it’s a good idea to cancel these as soon as you can as a first step.  

Be aware of scams being run to get your personal details. It’s a good idea to:

  • Never disclose PINs, passwords, or your bank details over the phone, text or by email. Your bank will never ask for you to confirm these details outside of its secure login system, so if you’ve received a message or a call asking for this information, it’s probably a scam.
  • If you think you might have been scammed, contact the police and let them know.  You should contact your bank if you have shared your bank or card details, so they can put a block on your account ASAP.  
Some other tips 
  • Under the Privacy Act, you can ask any organisation or business to send you the personal information they hold about you. So, if you’ve provided an organisation or business with a copy of an official document, like a visa, will, or name change certificate in the past, you can email or call and ask them to send you a copy of that document.   
  • If you’ve got insurance, you may be able to claim back the cost of replacing your important documents. Make sure you keep any receipts for these replacements, as your insurance company will want copies of these. 
  • For some documents, you’ll need to provide a statutory declaration to request a replacement. This is a written statement that is signed and witnessed by an official person. For more information about this process, see “statutory declarations.” 

How do I replace my driver’s licence?

The first step is to cancel the licence that has been lost or destroyed, as soon as you can. Call NZTA on 0800 822 422 to do this over the phone. 

You’ll then need to get a replacement licence – you can do this online or in person. It costs $38.20. 

To apply online, go to: online.nzta.govt.nz/transactions/entry, and follow the instructions. You’ll need to have a RealMe account set up for the online process.    

If you don’t have a RealMe account or it’s not possible for you to apply online, you can apply in person at a local driver licensing agent, like VTNZ or AA. A list of driver licensing agents in your area can be found on the NZTA website here, or you can call NZTA on 0800 822 422 for information about your nearest licensing agent.  

You can check vtnz.co.nz/branches and locations.aa.co.nz/aa-centre to see whether your local licensing site is open.  

How do I replace my eftpos and credit cards?

The first step is to cancel the cards that have been lost or destroyed, as soon as you can. Most banks have an option to do this online or over the phone.  You can also visit your local bank branch and do this in person. You’ll then need to order a replacement card. If you don’t have a secure address for it to be delivered to, you should call or visit the bank in-person to organise picking it up from your local branch. 

How do I replace my passport?

The first step is to tell the Passport Office that your passport is damaged, lost or stolen as soon as you can. You can do this online at www.passports.govt.nz/lost-and-stolen-form,  or on the phone, by calling 0800 22 50 50. If it has been lost or stolen, you’ll also want to report it to the police. You can do this online, here, or by calling the Police non-urgent line on 105. 

If you want to get a replacement passport straight away, the old one will be automatically cancelled when you apply for the new one – you don’t have to do this separately. 

  • You can apply for a replacement passport online, here, or by filling out a paper form and posting it to your nearest Passport Office. You can find the application forms on the Passports website, here and a list of Passport Office locations at www.passports.govt.nz/contactus. It costs $199 for an adult passport and $115 for a child passport. 
  • The standard wait time for a new passport is usually four weeks plus postage time. You can get up to date information about processing times online – go to: passports.govt.nz/passport-costs/passport-timeframes. If you need to travel urgently, you can pay extra to get it processed quicker. Complete an urgent passport application, here, and call the Passport Office on 0800 22 50 50 to let them know. It costs $398 for an urgent adult passport and $314 for an urgent child passport. 

How do I transfer my visa to my replacement passport?

If you have a New Zealand visa, you’ll need to transfer this to your new passport – it won’t happen automatically. 

If you already have or are requesting an eVisa, it won’t cost anything to get this transferred. If you need a physical visa label, you’ll have to pay a fee – you can find a list of charges on the Immigration New Zealand website – go to: immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/preparing-a-visa-application/the-application-process. 

To complete the process, you’ll need to fill out an ‘Application for Transfer or Confirmation of a visa’ form, which you can find on the Immigration NZ website – go to: immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/already-have-a-visa. 

How do I replace my birth, death, marriage, civil union certificate or change of name certificate?

You can replace your official birth, death, name change or relationship certificate online, here. (Or, go to: www.govt.nz, select “Passports, citizenship and identity” and then navigate to “proving and protecting your identity.”

You can also get help ordering your replacement document from Births, Deaths and Marriages over the phone – call 0800 225 252. 

How do I replace my will?

If your will has been lost or destroyed and you don’t have any other copies, you’ll need to make a new one. See: “Making a will” for more information about how to make a valid will.

How do I replace my medical documents or health records?

You can request your medical records from Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand online at www.adhb.health.nz/contact-and-feedback/requesting-records. 

It can take up to 20 working days for Te Whatu Ora to respond to your request, or you can request an urgent response if you need your records ASAP..  If you need any help completing the form, call 09 307 4949 (ext 22288) for urgent requests or email GROI@adhb.govt.nz for help with non-urgent requests.  

If you need to replace a prescription or medication, you should get in touch with your GP directly. 

How do I replace my tenancy agreement?

Your landlord is required to keep a copy of your tenancy agreement, so you can ask them for a replacement copy if you need one. Your tenancy agreement is still valid even if your copy of it has been lost or destroyed.  

What if I’ve lost all of my photo ID documents?

In some cases, you’ll need to provide photo ID to replace a document. If all your photo IDs have been lost or damaged, you can use an identity referee or witness to get a passport or KiwiAccess card. 

An identity referee or witness can’t be related to you, and they can’t be your partner. They also have to: 

  • be 16 or older 
  • have known you for more than 1 year, or since birth 
  • have a current or expired New Zealand passport 
  • live at a different address from you 

For more information about applying for a passport without photo ID, see the guidance on the Passports website, here. For more information about applying for a KiwiAccess card, see the FAQ on the KiwiAccess website, here. 

What steps can I take to better protect my important documents in the future?

It is a good idea to safely store paper documents electronically so you can access them at anytime from anywhere.  Make a plan for replacing your important documents so that you can do so again in the future if you need to. As part of your plan, keep a list of where each important document has been kept or electronically saved and key organisations to contact to replace your important documents.  

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