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Permanent Residency in the Cook Islands
Permanent Residents of the Cook Islands

People who have been formally granted the status of Permanent Resident have permission to enter and remain in the Cook Islands.

It is recommended that Permanent Residents arrange to have their passports endorsed with a Permanent Resident stamp to facilitate their travel to the Cook Islands from overseas. See section on Permanent Residency for relevant fees.

Children of Permanent Residents

While the children of Permanent Residents are not granted the status of Permanent Residency, they basically enjoy the same rights as Permanent Residents, including right of entry into the Cook Islands. To facilitate their travel to the Cook Islands, a new endorsement was created to confirm their right of entry into the Cook Islands.

Eligibility for Children of Permanent Residents

To be eligible, the applicant must meet the definition of “Child”, which “means any person, who, not being an adult, has not attained the age of fifteen years”.

Fees
Application and endorsement of the passport - $30.

Evidence Required
• The applicant’s full birth certificate
• Evidence that one of the parent’s is a Permanent Resident of the Cook Island

Eligibility

Persons who have resided in the Cook Islands for 10 years (3 years for New Zealand citizens) may apply for permanent resident status where they have made a significant contribution to, or investment in, the Cook Islands. Reduced residency periods may be applied to persons married to Cook Islanders, or in other special circumstances.

The onus is on applicants to prove that they are of good character and have made a significant positive contribution to or investment in the Cook Islands in terms of skills, expertise, community work or financial investment.

Application

Applications for Permanent Residency are only available in hard copies at the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration in Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Applicants are expected to complete the form in writing and must be in the Cook Islands at the time of lodgement of the application. Permanent Residency applications already lodged will not be processed while the applicant resides outside of the Cook Islands. The application may be refused if an applicant is subsequently found to be living overseas for 3 months or longer.

Permanent Residency Applications will not be considered if:

• incomplete;
• the applicant does not hold a permit to reside in the Cook Islands;
• lodged without payment of the application fee of $50;
• lodged while the applicant resides outside of the Cook Islands.

Processing of Permanent Residency Applications

Given the limitations of certificates that may be awarded, applications for permanent residency are not generally given priority.

Role of ‘Aronga Mana’

Applications are referred to the ‘Aronga Mana’ in the village where the applicant resides for their consideration. The views of ‘Aronga Mana’ may be taken into account in the final assessment of an application for Permanent Residency

Fees

The relevant application fee must be paid at the time of lodgement and are not refundable.

Application for Permanent Residence

  • if married to a Cook Islander - $50
  • others - $100

Issue of Permanent Residence Certificate: $250

Endorsement of passport with the status of Permanent Resident of the Cook Islands:

  • if married to a Cook Islander - $12.50
  • others - $25

Cancellation of Permanent Residency

The Minister responsible for Immigration may cancel any permanent residency certificate granted if the person to whom the certificate relates is absent from the Cook Islands continuously for a period exceeding three years in circumstances indicating that the person has ceased to make his home in the Cook Islands.

 
Applying for Permanent Residency

The Cook Islands is a self-governing country in free association with New Zealand. The Cook Islands does not have any laws pertaining to the grant of Cook Islands citizenship or nationality, and does not issue passports.

The grant of Permanent Residency in the Cook Islands does not carry any guarantee of gaining New Zealand (NZ) Citizenship, which is a matter for the NZ authorities.

Limitation in number of Certificates

The total number of Permanent Residence certificates that may be in effect is 650. 

This limitation does not apply to a person who is, at the time of making the application, married to a Cook Islander or Permanent Resident for a period of not less than 5 years.

Eligibility

Persons who have resided in the Cook Islands for 10 years (3 years for New Zealand citizens) may apply for permanent resident status where they have made a significant contribution to, or investment in, the Cook Islands.  Reduced residency periods may be applied to persons married to Cook Islanders, or in other special circumstances.

The onus is on applicants to prove that they are of good character and have made a significant positive contribution to or investment in the Cook Islands in terms of skills, expertise, community work or financial investment.

Application

Applications for Permanent Residency are only available in hard copies at the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration in Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Applicants are expected to complete the form in writing and must be in the Cook Islands at the time of lodgement of the application. Permanent Residency applications already lodged will not be processed while the applicant resides outside of the Cook Islands. The application may be refused if an applicant is subsequently found to be living overseas for 3 months or longer.

Permanent Residency Applications will not be considered if:

• incomplete;
• the applicant does not hold a permit to reside in the Cook Islands;
• lodged without payment of the application fee of $50;
• lodged while the applicant resides outside of the Cook Islands.

Processing of Permanent Residency Applications

Given the limitations of certificates that may be awarded, applications for permanent residency are not generally given priority.

Role of ‘Aronga Mana’

Applications are referred to the ‘Aronga Mana’ in the village where the applicant resides for their consideration. The views of ‘Aronga Mana’ may be taken into account in the final assessment of an application for Permanent Residency

   Fees

     The relevant application fee must be paid at the time of lodgement and are not refundable.

     Application for Permanent Residence

  • if married to a Cook Islander - $50
  • others - $100

      Issue of Permanent Residence Certificate: $250

      Endorsement of passport with the status of Permanent Resident of the Cook Islands:

  • if married to a Cook Islander - $12.50
  • others - $25

Cancellation of Permanent Residency

The Minister responsible for Immigration may cancel any permanent residency certificate granted if the person to whom the certificate relates is absent from the Cook Islands continuously for a period exceeding three years in circumstances indicating that the person has ceased to make his home in the Cook Islands.