Protecting your privacy as a person using a verified identity is very important to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). Our privacy statement in relation to your verified identity is set out below.

This privacy statement addresses the following matters:

  • how your verified identity relates to the RealMe service
  • the information we collect for your verified identity
  • the consequences of not providing the required information
  • our use of the information we collect
  • security
  • our use of cookies
  • how you can access and correct your personal information.

In applying for a verified identity and accepting the identity verification service terms of use, you will be asked to consent to our retrieval and use of personal information for the purposes stated below.

In this privacy statement you will see references to "verified identities". Verified identities are applied for and used as part of the RealMe service to give you a way to prove your identity to participating service providers via the RealMe service.

Verified identities and the RealMe service

As explained on the RealMe website, the RealMe service consists of and interacts with a series of separate systems operated by DIA and other attribute providers. The identity verification service is one of the services provided through RealMe. It is the authoritative source of identity that enables people with verified identities to verify their identity online to participating service providers:

RealMe privacy diagram 2018

This privacy statement covers our treatment of your personal information if you apply for a verified identity to be able to verify your identity online.

Information we collect for your verified identity

Information checked and retrieved

Information collected in applications for the issuance, renewal, cancellation or amendment of verified identities is done so in accordance with the Electronic Identity Verification Act 2012 (the Act). In the Act, a verified identity is referred to as an “electronic identity credential”.

For the purpose of applying for the issue of a verified identity, you may start your application on any computer or mobile device. You will then need to either take your own photo as part of the application process or have your photo taken at one of the participating photo stores listed on the RealMe website. You may also be asked to provide additional documents to support your application. These documents will be photographed and provided to us with your application.

If you choose to apply for a verified identity at the same time as you renew your New Zealand passport online you won’t be required to get your photo taken or supply additional documents for your verified identity application as we can use the same information you supply for your passport application.

As part of either application process, you will be informed on your computer screen about the identity and eligibility checks required during the application process. You will then be asked to enter certain information depending on the evidence of identity source you are relying on:

  • If you are relying on your passport, you will be asked to enter passport number and full name.
  • If you are relying on New Zealand citizenship, you will be asked to enter your citizenship certificate number and full name.
  • If you are relying on your immigration status, you will be asked to enter your foreign passport number, or Immigration New Zealand visa or permit number, and full name, date of birth, place of birth and gender.
  • If you are relying on your birth registration, you will be asked to enter your full name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, mother's name at birth and your father or other parent's name (if applicable).

As noted in the identity verification service terms of use, there are instances where we retrieve or may retrieve personal information relating to you which was obtained or generated by DIA or other agencies on earlier occasions:

  • In processing your application for a verified identity, we need to retrieve personal information relating to you from DIA's passports and/or citizenship databases and/or registers of births, deaths, marriages, civil unions and name changes, and/or the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s immigration databases, for the purpose of verifying your identity. That personal information may include your full name, details of name changes, date of birth, place of birth, gender, photograph, and your existing passport or citizenship unique identifier, immigration client identity number or birth registration number. The IVS retrieval of this personal information is conducted in the context of information matching programmes authorised by the Act and the Privacy Act 2020.
  • We may also retrieve further immigration information from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s immigration databases, such as any alerts or warnings, to check if they relate to your identity.
  • If you supply a Kiwi Access card, Firearms Licence or Driver Licence to support your application for a verified identity we will confirm your details against records held by Hospitality New Zealand, the New Zealand Police or the New Zealand Transport Agency respectively. In these cases, those agencies will advise us only whether the details you have provided are consistent or not consistent with the information they hold. They may also advise us about the status of the recorded information they hold (for example, that a licence issued to you has expired).
  • We also check whether you have already applied for a verified identity and, if so, whether a verified identity has already been issued to you.
  • We may obtain information, at any time, from DIA’s registers of births, deaths, marriages, civil unions and name changes to ascertain whether changes are required to the personal details in your verified identity or whether you are recorded as having died.
  • Where you have given contact details to the RealMe login service, we may retrieve those details for the purpose of communicating with you (whether in relation to the application process or subsequently).

Your verified identity attributes

When creating your verified identity, we store your name(s), gender, date of birth and place of birth. When you use the RealMe service with a participating service provider, it is some or all of these attributes that, with your consent, are released to that service provider.


As part of the verified identity application process, your photo will be taken and stored with your application. We use this photo to assist in the confirmation of your identity by matching it with the photo we retrieve from DIA's passports or citizenship databases, or from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s immigration databases, or from the identity document you are asked to provide, or against your previous IVS photo. The two photos will be compared by up to three DIA personnel. If an application receives two negative determinations on the photos (because they are not considered to match), your application will be held or declined and you will be notified accordingly.

If you choose to apply for a verified identity at the same time as you renew your New Zealand passport online your passport photo will be stored with your application.

The photo taken during the application process, or retrieved from DIA’s passports database, will be stored for future one-to-many matching, for the purposes of protecting individuals' identity and detecting fraud. We do not store the photo we retrieve from the citizenship or immigration databases, or from the identity document that you are asked to provide, beyond the period required for photo matching. The photo retrieved from passports is only stored if you choose to apply for a verified identity when you renew your New Zealand passport online, otherwise it is not retained beyond the period required for photo matching. Participating photo stores will capture and store your image only for as long as required for the purpose of supplying this image to us.

RealMe digital photo capture

If you are eligible and choose to use RealMe digital photo capture services, your photo and video/frames of your liveness test will be stored within the application server to allow for automated facial recognition matching, reference by DIA for assessment of your application, quality assurance and other duties to support the Identity Verification Service.

Your captured image and liveness video may also be reused to retest biometric facial recognition thresholds to better improve our service.

Collection of statistical information

When you visit the Identity Verification Service we may collect statistical information about your visit to help us to improve our service. This information is aggregated and anonymised. It includes:

  • your IP address
  • the search terms you used
  • the pages you accessed on our service and the links you clicked on
  • the date and time you visited the service
  • your operating  system (e.g. Windows XP, Mac OS X)
  • the type of web browser you use (e.g. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox), and
  • other incidental matters such as screen resolution and the language setting of your browser.

Use of statistical information

The statistical information referred to above will be viewable by website administrators and certain members of our staff via analytical tools like Google Analytics.

Consequences of not providing the required information

If you do not provide the required information referred to above, you will not be able to use a verified identity to verify your identity online. You do, however, remain free to transact with and receive services from participating service providers in the offline environment. Your use of a verified identity is optional.

Please note that it is an offence to make false or misleading statements, or to provide false, forged or falsified means of identification when applying for a verified identity.

Use of the information we collect


We use the information collected:

  • to provide your verified identity;
  • for statistical purposes;
  • where relevant, to verify individuals’ details provided with applications for issuance, renewal, amendment or cancellation of a verified identity; and
  • to detect and prevent fraudulent or other unlawful uses of verified identities or related services.

Reverified Identities

When you use a participating service provider's online service that requires verification of identity, that service provider's online service will ask you to prove your identity and if you wish to do so online will redirect you to the RealMe login service to do so.

When you login with the RealMe login service, the RealMe login service will send a unique number to us. We use that number to check, automatically, if your verified identity exists.

The RealMe service then retrieves your verified identity and asks you whether you consent to your identity information being sent to the participating service provider. If you do agree, the RealMe service will then redirect you to the participating service provider and your identity information will have been sent to that participating service provider.

If you consent to share your verified identity information with a participating service prior to completing your application for a verified identity, RealMe will automatically share your identity with the participating service after application has been approved and the verified identity is issued. 

DIA will not otherwise disclose your personal information to any other organisation (unless required or permitted by law), nor use your information for marketing or any other purpose.

As part of your RealMe information, we hold a record of where you have used your verified identity, and the time and date that your attributes were disclosed to a participating service provider. (Access to this information is strictly controlled by the Act.) We do not hold information about the transaction that you performed with any service provider.

When your verified identity is active or expired, you are able to view your activity record through your RealMe account, unless technical or other practical reasons prevent this. Your activity record will also include information about instances where our personnel or other authorised persons have accessed your verified identity record or activity record (except in limited circumstances, such as where providing access to that information may prejudice an investigation, or for technical reasons).


We have procedures in place to prevent loss, unlawful access, use, modification, disclosure or other misuse of your information, consistent with good practice and as required by relevant law and policy. Particular care has been taken to ensure that only certain people with specific roles and authorised access levels are able to view your identity and transaction-related information and only for specific related purposes.

Use of Cookies

Using your verified identity generates a session (non-persistent) cookie that you can find on your PC. It has the name: JSESSIONID.

This cookie expires when you close your browser and does not store any personally identifiable information.

Accessing and correcting your personal information

When your verified identity is active, you are able to manage your verified identity via the RealMe website. Once logged in through the RealMe login service, you are able to:

  • view your verified identity attributes held by us;
  • view your transaction history/verified identity activity (except in limited circumstances, such as where providing access to that may prejudice an investigation, or for technical reasons);
  • cancel your verified identity;
  • renew your verified identity; and
  • apply to have your verified identity name changed.

Rights of access and correction

Under the Electronic Identity Verification Act, you have the right to access and to request correction of your personal information provided to us. If you wish to see the personal information we have stored in connection with your use of your verified identity, or if you wish to request correction of such personal information (and you are unable to do so by logging in and accessing the manage your identity page), please contact the RealMe Help Desk. The RealMe Help Desk will refer you to our personnel who may require proof of your identity before being able to provide you with this information.

While we do not expect this to occur, should you discover that one or more of your verified identity attributes is incorrect, please contact the RealMe Help Desk as soon as possible. The RealMe Help Desk may need to refer you to the relevant part of DIA or other agency that was the authoritative source of your identity information.

If you have any concerns regarding your privacy please feel free to contact us at any time through:

The Privacy Office
Department of Internal Affairs
P O Box 805
Wellington 6140
Phone: (04) 495 7200

If you are not satisfied with our response to your concern, you can contact the Privacy Commissioner:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 10-094
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64-4-474 7590
Enquiries Line (from Auckland): 302 8680
Enquiries Line (from outside Auckland): 0800 803 909
Fax: +64-4-474 7595

Disposal of your verified identity records

When your verified identity expires, or is cancelled following an application by you for its cancellation, we will retain your verified identity records (including your verified identity attributes, photograph and activity record) for a prescribed period as per the Electronic Identity Verification Act. When this period ends, we will delete your identity records. This period is prescribed in regulations. If you choose to renew your verified identity within that period, we will reactivate your previous verified identity. This will assist you to continue to verify your identity with participating service providers with which you have previously used your verified identity. If, however, you reapply for a verified identity after the end of the period, DIA may require additional processes to verify your identity.