How to join



There’s nothing quite like NZDF life. You get to gain unique experiences, work alongside your mates and use skills and equipment you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a tough career to beat. And recent NZDF changes mean it’s now even better.

People leave the New Zealand Defence Force for many different reasons. All are welcome to apply to re-enlist. You may want to put the skills you’ve already learnt in the NZDF back to use, or to rejoin in a completely different role through our standard recruitment process. Whatever your reasons, there could be a great position open for you. And because we’re always looking for the best and most qualified individuals to fill our roles, your existing skills and expertise will be hard to look past.

Re-enlist in the NZDF today and see what we have to offer!

Roles available when you’re re-enlisting from overseas

Only selected vacancies are open to overseas applicants.

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The road to re-enlistment

Although the process is relatively straight forward, each application is different from the next. For this reason each application is considered on its own merits, and any potential offer of service will reflect this. The following factors will be considered to determine the possible rank and seniority that may be offered to you and the training required to get you up to speed:

  • Previous rank and seniority
  • Been out of the service less than 8 years
  • Vacancies in the trade and rank you are applying for
  • Employment experience and any qualifications gained since leaving the NZDF
  • Whether you are coming back into a similar or different trade or service than previously AND
  • You may apply to be considered for a different trade if you have achieved relevant qualifications, training or experience in the new trade since leaving the NZDF.

Because each application is different, the time frame to get you back into service can also vary. Some applicants can be back in uniform in as little as three weeks, others may take several months. Your recruiter will be able to give you further guidance on this after you've applied.

  1. Register online. Register for your personal login to our online recruitment portal, where you can manage your application and complete all required forms​.

  2. Complete your application. Because you’re already known to the NZDF, your online application is shorter than if you’re applying for the first time. Please ensure you upload a CV. Once you’ve applied you’ll be assigned a dedicated uniformed Recruiter and civilian Candidate Coordinator, who will guide you through the remainder of the recruitment process. There’ll be a wait while the Recruiter assesses your file to proceed, including your prior service record.

  3. Complete initial check questionnaires. If you’re assessed as suitable for re-enlistment you’ll need to complete an online initial health check and Police check. Links to these will be on your defence careers portal, and you'll be notified by email.

  4. Complete full medical and security vetting. Your own situation will dictate whether you’ll need to complete a full medical. The length of time you’ve been out is a large factor. If it’s required, you’ll be sent a list of doctors, by location, who can carry out the full medical. This is conducted at our expense. You may also have to complete a full security clearance application depending on where you’ve been living and working, and how long since you left the NZDF.
  5. Offer of service. If you meet the criteria you’ll be made an Offer of Service that will include your rank, seniority, posting location and your total remuneration package.

  6. Enlistment. You’ll report to your unit on your enlistment date and get sized for your uniform and get started in the job. All Navy personnel must pass a fitness test within ten weeks of re-enlistment, Air Force personnel must pass a fitness test within three months, and Army personnel within six months.
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Ready to start your NZDF career?

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