Certificates of Registration under the Immigration Restriction Acts were issued to non-British citizens in duplicate, with one copy given to the alien and one retained by the Collector. They allowed Chinese and other alien residents who were leaving only temporarily to re-enter New Zealand. These images were taken between 1904 and 1956. The whole series has been digitised and is available on Archway.
The Chinese Immigrants Act 1881 and the Immigration Restriction Act 1899 and its amendments, set out details of requirements to be met by ‘aliens’ or non-British citizens, entering or leaving New Zealand, When departing overseas, they required certificates of registration to ensure that they would be permitted to re-enter New Zealand.
These were issued by the Collector of Customs in Dunedin. They were issued in duplicate, with one copy given to the person applying and one retained by the Collector.
When they returned, the certificate was presented to a Customs official, and once identified, they could enter the country. The surrendered certificate was then forwarded to the Collector of Customs who had issued it and filed with his copy. The certificate also exempted them from paying the poll tax required under the Chinese Immigrants Act 1881, provided they had paid it on their first entry. The certificates generally show the following details:
port and date of issue of certificate
name of alien and place of residence
identification details such as the place and date of birth, physical features
arrival details and a photograph
Some of the earlier certificates also required fingerprints. Some certificates have the initial application attached, or correspondence about the individual concerned.