Moving to Australia
Most New Zealand citizens can visit, live and work in Australia without applying for a tourist or work visa. Permanent residents in NZ need to apply for visas.
You'll need a valid NZ passport for the flight across the ditch.
Most adult New Zealanders can now renew their passports online.
All children (kids under 16) and babies need their own passport.
If you're 16 or older and have never had a passport, you need to apply using the full passport application
If you've legally changed your name, you'll have to update your passport with your new name.
If you're planning a move there are several different types of visas and different rules for each.
The 'Visa Wizard' will help you find the Australian visa you need.
The Australian visa rules for New Zealanders changed on 26 February 2001.
If you’ve got a criminal conviction or untreated TB, you’ll need to apply for permission to enter Australia from the Australian High Commission.
NZ permanent residents are not entitled to the Special Category Visa. You’ll need to apply for a visa to be able to live and work in Australia.
Before you go
Make sure you’ve got everything in order before you move, otherwise you could have to pay more when you come back.
You won’t be able to leave the country if you have unpaid fines.
If you get a benefit from Work and Income, you must let them know your travel plans and your reasons for travel before you leave New Zealand. Partners travelling must also let them know. If you don’t, your benefit might stop the day after you leave.
If you receive NZ Super or the Veteran’s Pension, you can go anywhere in the world and be able to take all or some of your gross payment with you. You'll need to apply for this before you leave NZ.
If you pay child support and are planning to go overseas for any reason, you need to contact IRD.
If you don't meet your repayment obligations, you could be arrested when you return to NZ. Make sure you keep up your student loan payments while you're overseas or you could be charged interest and penalties.
You might need to file a tax return (IR3) that covers the period up to the date you leave NZ. You may also need to file a tax return at a later time showing details of any income you've earned overseas or from an NZ source.
If you have tax debt, contact IRD to discuss the options for paying your debt. The Australian Tax Office can assist to recover outstanding tax debt owed by New Zealanders that move to Australia.
From 1 July 2013, you're no longer able to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds early if you've moved to live permanently in Australia. You'll only be able to either leave your funds in a NZ KiwiSaver scheme or transfer your funds to an Australian complying superannuation scheme.
If you get Working for Families and you or your children are moving to Australia, you may have to file a tax return (IR3) to get all your payments squared up.
You also need to let IRD know by:
- updating your details online, or
- calling IRD on:
Kiwis don't get automatic permanent residency in Australia
If you move to Australia as a New Zealand citizen you won't automatically get permanent residency status in Australia — you'll have a special category of visa that means you can live, study or work in Australia for as long as you like.
You need to apply for permanent residency. If you're not a permanent resident, you can't:
- apply for unemployment or sickness benefits. These benefits also can't be received until 2 years after being made a permanent resident in Australia
- sponsor family members who want to apply for permanent residency
- become an Australian citizen.
If you're not an Australian citizen you also can't:
- vote in Australian elections
- join the Australian Defence Force
- work long-term for the Australian public sector.
If you were living in Australia before 26 February 2001, you might already be a permanent resident.
If you arrived after that you’ll need to apply. You may be able to apply under a new pathway if you are a New Zealand special category visa holder and were living in Australia on or before 19 February 2016. The new pathway is available from 1 July 2017.
Find out if you're eligible and start the application process online.