It's one thing to talk about heading for another country's hills when a new president is elected. It's another thing to go ahead and do it. But that's exactly what seems to be happening, at least in one distant corner of the world. In New Zealand, the number of Americans who applied for a grant of citizenship rose by 70% in the 12 weeks following the election of President Trump when compared to the same period a year earlier, immigration records obtained by the AP show. In New Zealand, a grant of citizenship is the pathway for people without a family connection. Figures also show the number of Americans who obtained a New Zealand work visa in January was up 18% from a year earlier, as was the number of American tourists.
Among those Americans with a New Zealand parent, citizenship applications after the election were up 11% from a year earlier. New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs said that in the two days after the US election, the number of Americans who visited its website to find out about citizenship was up more than tenfold from the same two weekdays a month earlier. The total number of Americans applying for New Zealand citizenship remains relatively low at less than 400 from Nov. 8 to Jan. 31, but an immigration consultant says that's still "a huge avalanche of numbers." While one expat says she misses the great Mexican food available in the US, she adds "New Zealand is a place that cares about equality, I think more." (Peter Thiel may have bought his New Zealand citizenship.)