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MFAI Media Release: Applications open for Cook Islands Permanent Residency

Updated: Aug 1

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Government of the Cook Islands

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration


Applications open for Cook Islands Permanent Residency

The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFAI) and Immigration Mark Brown announced applications for Cook Islands Permanent Residency PR have opened following approval by Cabinet of the PR application and awarding process to be administered by MFAI over the coming weeks. The process is detailed in the Cook Islands Immigration Regulations 2022 approved by Cabinet last week.


The awarding of PR was last held in 2012 and 2013 where over 200 non Cook Islanders were awarded PR under the Cook Islands Entry Residence and Departures Act 1971/72 either in their own right or as spouses of Cook Islanders.


The Cook Islands Immigration Act 2021, passed by Parliament at the end of last year, provides for a cap of 500 persons for PR caps in their own right – this does not include those over the age of 75 years. Taking into account current holders of PR in their own right, there are 140 places available for eligible persons applying for PR in their own right. As provided for by the 2021 Immigration Act, there is no cap on eligible persons applying for PR as a spouse of a Cook Islander or Permanent Resident. Neither is there a cap on persons under 18 years applying for PR as an eligible child.


“I am pleased our Government is now in a position to consider and award PR to deserving residents who have lived amongst and contributed to our communities and economy over the last decade and more,” said Prime Minister Brown. “The criteria and process for the granting of PR as detailed in the Regulations encapsulate the expectations of our society of residents and the immense contribution migrants have made to the Cook Islands over the years.”


There are 2 steps in the PR application process – Phase 1 requires the submission of an expression of interest (EOI) – submissions can be made online via www.mfai.gov.ck or completing a paper form and lodging in person with MFAI. Forms can be downloaded from MFAIs website, requesting by email PRinfo@cookislands.gov.ck or uplifting from MFAI offices. If the information provided in Phase 1 meets the PR eligibility criteria, the applicant will an invitation to apply for PR. If an applicant does not meet the PR eligibility criteria the EOI will be declined. The fee to lodge an EOI is $500 and a further $500 is payable to apply for PR. This is a fee reduction approved by Cabinet for this PR round only – the PR fee is $1740. The fee concession is in recognition of current financial constraints brought about by COVID-19 impacts.


As part of supporting the smooth and timely implementation of the Immigration Act and Regulations, MFAI have over a number of months recalibrated priorities and resource allocation. “We recognise a number of residents have been waiting for PR for some time, in some cases, many years and are eager to get their applications in quickly,” said MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann. “We’ve reallocated personnel resources to prioritise PR applications processing over the next couple of weeks and done a lot of work to simplify and streamline the application process. We look forward to working closely with applicants to ensure timely processing of applications.”


Submissions of Expressions of Interest must be lodged with MFAI before 4:00pm 19 May 2022.


Further information on application for PR, including eligibility criteria is available from the MFAI website at www.MFAI.gov.ck; requesting further information by email to PRinfo@cookislands.gov.ck or phoning +682 29347 during office hours Monday.