New Zealand Citizens Entering Australia

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The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement allows Australian and New Zealand citizens to live and work in each other's country without restrictions. On arrival in Australia, most New Zealand citizens who do not hold another visa and present a valid New Zealand passport are granted a Special Category Visa (SCV). Grant of an SCV is also subject to the applicant meeting health and character requirements. The SCV is a temporary visa that allows the holder to remain and work in Australia indefinitely as long as the holder remains a New Zealand citizen.

Special Category Visa eligibility

To be eligible for an SCV the applicant must:

  • be a New Zealand citizen
  • hold a valid New Zealand passport and
  • not be a behaviour concern non-citizen (BCNC) or a health concern non-citizen (HCNC).

New Zealand citizens who are assessed as a BCNC may not be entitled to an SCV and may be refused entry into Australia. Circumstances where a person may be assessed as a BCNC include, but are not limited to, when the person has been:

  • convicted of one or more crimes that have resulted in sentences of imprisonment that add up to at least one year or
  • removed or deported from Australia or another country.

For more information about New Zealand citizens with criminal convictions, refer to the Australian High Commission New Zealand website.
See: Frequently Asked Questions

New Zealand citizens are ineligible for grant of an SCV if they are assessed as HCNC. 

For SCV purposes, a person may be considered to be an HCNC if they suffer from Tuberculosis (TB) and are not carrying and taking appropriate medication.

New Zealand citizens who declare upon entry into Australia that they:

  • have TB or
  • who are otherwise known to have previously had TB; or
  • who are suspected to have TB

will be interviewed and assessed to determine if they are an HCNC prior to consideration of grant of an SCV. 

Prior to travelling to Australia, New Zealand citizens may wish to check whether they would be a BCNC and/or an HCNC by contacting the nearest Australian immigration office and discussing their entry to Australia.
See: Contact Us – New Zealand

Social security arrangements

On 26 February 2001 a revised social security arrangement was announced jointly by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. The arrangement allows people living in Australia and New Zealand, who have spent part of their working life in the other country, to claim a (part) pension from both countries.

New Zealand citizens arriving in Australia after that date are required to apply for and be granted a permanent visa for Australia if they wish to access certain social security payments. They must also become permanent residents if they want to obtain Australian citizenship or sponsor their family members for permanent residence.

The arrangement has not affected the movement of people between the two countries. New Zealand citizens continue to be granted SCVs (subject to health and character requirements) and have the right to remain indefinitely in Australia and to work without restrictions.

More information on the social security arrangements for New Zealand citizens is available from the Department of Human Service's International Services Helpline.
Telephone: 13 16 73

Information is also available on the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website.
See: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - Australia and New Zealand - Frequently Asked Questions

Arriving in Australia after 26 February 2001

Most New Zealand citizens, including all those arriving in Australia after 26 February 2001, are required to apply for and be granted permanent residence in Australia (ie. be granted a permanent visa) if they wish to access certain social security payments, obtain Australian citizenship or sponsor their family members for permanent residence.

Under transitional arrangements, some New Zealand citizens who were resident in Australia around the time of these changes are not affected by them. They include those people who:

  • were in Australia on 26 February 2001 as SCV holders
  • were outside Australia on 26 February 2001, but present in Australia as an SCV holder for at least one year in the two years prior to that date
  • have a certificate issued under the Social Security Act 1991, stating that they were, for the purposes of that Act residing in Australia on a particular date.
    Note: These certificates are no longer issued.

Australian citizenship and permanent residence

New Zealand citizens who meet one of the transitional arrangements above continue to be treated as permanent residents for the purposes of the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 and are eligible to apply for grant of Australian citizenship, after meeting the residential qualifying period.

Otherwise, a New Zealand citizen is required to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa before being eligible to apply for Australian citizenship or sponsor family members for permanent residence.

Further information about New Zealand citizens living in Australia is available from the department's website.
See: Fact sheet 17 – New Zealanders in Australia

Character requirement

You must meet the character requirement to be eligible for Australian Citizenship.

  • New Zealand citizens, aged 18 years or over, applying for Australian citizenship must obtain a copy of their personal records from the New Zealand Ministry of Justice and provide it with their application
  • An application should not be lodged until the personal records history has been obtained from the New Zealand Ministry of Justice
  • Those people who arrived in Australia before the age of 18 and have not resided in New Zealand since taking up residence in Australia need not provide
  • these records.

For information on how to obtain a copy of your personal records, contact the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.
See:
New Zealand Ministry of Justice
Character Requirement

Australian citizenship

For information about applying for Australian citizenship.
See: Australian Citizenship

Australian permanent residence

A range of permanent residence visas are available for New Zealand citizens in and outside Australia.
See: Visas & Immigration