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Frequently Asked Questions
I understand most New Zealand citizens going to Australia are automatically granted a Special Category Visa (SCV) - what is a SCV?
New Zealand citizens are eligible for a Special Category Visa (SCV) on arrival in Australia unless they are considered to be a Behaviour Concern Non-Citizen (BCNC) or a Health Concern Non-Citizen (HCNC).
Special Category Visas are recorded electronically. A SCV allows the holder to remain and work in Australia indefinitely.
Health Concern Non-Citizen (HCNC)
If you are a New Zealand citizen, you may be considered HCNC if you have untreated tuberculosis. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice.
Behaviour Concern Non-Citizen (BCNC)
A New Zealand citizen may be considered BCNC if you have had any criminal convictions in your lifetime, or you have been deported, excluded or removed from any country, including Australia.
What if I am a New Zealand citizen and have a criminal history?
If you are a New Zealand citizen with criminal convictions, no matter how long ago your convictions were or if they have been removed from government records, you are required to obtain written confirmation from DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) before you travel to Australia.
Convictions in New Zealand
Please download the Consent to Disclosure of Information form below. This will allow the New Zealand police to provide the Australian Consulate-General with details of your criminal history.
Complete the form and post it to:
Pricewaterhouse Coopers Tower
186-194 Quay Street
Or email it to email@example.com
You will be informed in writing whether or not you are required to lodge an application for a visa to enter Australia prior to travel. This process takes approximately three weeks from the date the completed form is received by the Consulate.
Consent to disclosure of information form
Convictions in any other country
If you have convictions in any other country, including Australia, you are required to provide a police clearance from that country to DIBP. You will then be informed in writing whether or not you need to lodge an application for a visa to enter Australia.
Please visit this website for instructions on obtaining the appropriate police clearance: www.immi.gov.au/allforms/character-requirements/
If a visa application is required, a visitor visa application form 48R and a checklist will be sent to you. However, if you are intending to live, work or study in Australia you will need to visit www.immi.gov.au and download the appropriate application form.
New Zealand citizens who intend to apply for a Visitor, Transit or Business Short Stay visa, are to lodge their application with the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC). Initially, the processing of applications will begin at the Australian Consulate-General in Auckland. The application will then be forwarded to the Visa Applicant Character Consideration Unit (VACCU) in Melbourne, Australia, for the character assessment. All other processing will occur in Auckland. Before applications can be forwarded to VACCU, applicants must meet all other applicable visa criteria.
The time frame for the assessment of your character by VACCU will vary depending upon the specifics of your circumstances, but can take several months.
For more information on character, please visit: www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/79character.htm#d
I am a New Zealand citizen but my partner is not. Can my partner travel with me to live in Australia?
New Zealand citizen family relationship (temporary) visa subclass 461 can allow family of a special category visa holder to live, work and study in Australia temporarily.
More information on this visa is available here.
Are there any requirements regarding validity of passports to travel to Australia?
Passports need to be valid to cover immediate travel arrangements only, with the exception of travel to Norfolk Island where passports need to be valid for at least three months from the date of arrival.
Where a visa is required, the validity of the passport is taken into consideration when deciding the validity of the visa.
Do New Zealand citizens need to apply for permanent residency before entering Australia?
New Zealand citizens travelling on New Zealand passports do not need to apply for permanent residency to live in Australia if they are eligible for a Special Category Visa (see the first question above). However, they should be aware of restrictions on access to social security allowances before deciding to live in Australia.
There is a series of booklets with information on applying for permanent residency available to download from the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website.
Do I need to obtain a visa to temporarily enter Australia?
All visitors to Australia not including Australian and New Zealand passport holders must obtain a visa before travelling to Australia.
New Zealand citizens who wish to travel to Australia can do so without first obtaining a visa. However, New Zealanders who are likely to face restricted entry are those with criminal records or with untreated tuberculosis or who have been deported, excluded or removed from any country (see questions one and two above).
Can I apply for a visa online?
Certain nationalities can apply for their Australian visas online. Information on visa options and eligibility is available here.
How do I apply for a visa to enter Australia from New Zealand?
Anyone currently in New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue and Pitcairn Island, regardless of their New Zealand visa status, can apply for a visa at the Australian Visa Application Centre in Auckland.
Similarly, all immigration and visa enquiries should be directed to the Australian Visa Application Centre - contact details are available here.
For application processing times and fees please visit www.ttsaustralia.com
Transit visa - If you are transiting through Australia for less than 72 hours on your way to another destination via the next available flight, you will require a transit visa. Transit visas are free of charge however you will be charged an AVAC application fee. More information is available here.
Visitor visa - This visa allows a stay of three, six or 12 months for tourism, visiting friends and relatives and other short term non-working activities. More information is available here.
You can obtain application forms and information booklets from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website: www.immi.gov.au/allforms/
There are a number of visa options available for people wishing to visit Australia, depending on the purpose of your visit. For more information about visa options, please use the DIBP Visa Wizard available on the DIBP website: www.immi.gov.au
Please choose your visa option carefully as the application charge will not be refunded if your application is refused.
I need to have a medical examination and a chest x-ray in connection with my visa application. How do I arrange this?
Medical examinations and x-rays required for Australian visas may only be carried out by appointed panel doctors and radiologists. They are located in the major residential areas throughout New Zealand and a list of them is available here.
Aged Visitor Health Checks must also be carried out by a panel doctor.
Please visit www.immi.gov.au/allforms to download the medical form 26 and x-ray form 160.
If I am not an Australian or New Zealand citizen can I work in Australia?
If you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen and wish to work in Australia you must obtain the appropriate visa, either for a working holiday, temporary residence or migration.
Please visit www.immi.gov.au for more information.
Do I need a Student Visa to study in Australia?
If you are a New Zealand citizen you do not need to apply for a Student Visa to study in Australia.
All other nationalities require a Student Visa to engage in formal full-time studies of three months or more. Note that you can undertake short term language or recreational courses of less than three months duration on a Visitor Visa.
You can be granted a Student Visa only if you wish to undertake a registered education or training course. Official confirmation of enrolment must be issued by an education provider registered with the Australian Government to offer courses to overseas students.
Citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the People's Republic of China who are in New Zealand must lodge their student visa applications with the Offshore Processing Centre in Adelaide, South Australia.
For more information please visit the student section of DIBP's website.
Do I need a migration agent?
You do not need to use a migration agent to apply for an Australian visa. A migration agent cannot influence nor predetermine the outcome of your application, nor can they fast-track its processing. If you wish to engage a migration agent, DIBP recommends using an agent registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), or where this is not possible, one that is accredited in your country. Further information on MARA and contact details are available at www.mara.com.au
Do New Zealand citizens require a Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) if travelling to Australia as crew on a non-military ship?
A Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) is not required by those New Zealand citizens who would be eligible for a Special Category visa (subclass 444) on arrival. For more details about the Special Category visa please see the first question above.
While New Zealand citizens holding a valid New Zealand passport are usually eligible to apply for a Special Category visa on arrival in Australia, subject to health and character concerns, there is a further significant exception to this rule.
Australia's migration legislation does not permit New Zealand citizens, who arrive in Australia at an Excised Offshore Place, to apply for a Special Category visa on arrival. An Excised Offshore Place includes any Australian island from the vicinity of Mackay in Queensland through to the vicinity of Exmouth, Western Australia, including the Australian islands of the Torres Strait, Christmas Island and the Cocos-Keeling Islands.
New Zealand citizens who intend to enter Australia at an Excised Offshore Place must obtain a visa before travelling to Australia. For New Zealand crew of non-military ships who will enter Australia at an Excised Offshore Place, the Maritime Crew Visa is the appropriate visa.
For more information on the Maritime Crew visa and how to apply, visit: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/air-sea/mcv/
Do I need to book or purchase tickets before I lodge an application for an Australian visa?
You should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will not be liable for any financial loss incurred by clients whose visa application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.