Immigration status - visa, residency, and citizenship

It's important that New Zealanders choosing to live in Australia know their immigration status and what rights that gives them.

On this page

For example, whether they are an Australian permanent resident, Australian citizen, or on a visa can affect New Zealander's rights while living in Australia.

Special Category Visa (SCV)

New Zealanders who enter Australia on a New Zealand passport do so under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.

Most New Zealanders are issued with a non-protected Special Category visa (SCV) (subclass 444)(external link) on arrival. This visa is not visible in passports - it is held electronically.

The SCV is granted depending on certain health and character requirements, and lets New Zealand citizens live, study and work in Australia indefinitely. But it is technically a temporary visa.

Meet character requirements

If Australian authorities assess that a New Zealander doesn't meet relevant character requirements, they can cancel all visas (including the 444 visa and permanent residence visas).

This can lead to that New Zealander being deported and barred from ever returning to Australia. New Zealand also deports Australians in some similar circumstances.

Apply for Australian citizenship

New Zealanders can apply to become Australian citizens(external link).

From 1 July 2023, New Zealand citizens who have been living in Australia for four years or more will be eligible to apply directly for Australian citizenship. They will no longer need to first apply for and be granted a permanent visa. These changes apply to New Zealand citizens holding a SCV who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001.

If successful, they are then a 'dual national' - a person who holds citizenship of more than one country.

Receive the benefits of Australian citizenship and keep your New Zealand passport

Dual nationals have the right to hold a passport from both countries, and get the full benefits of citizenship such as social security payments, health care, and voting rights. New Zealanders becoming Australian citizens do not lose any rights, but gain additional rights.

Find more information at the Department of Home Affairs(external link).


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