Campaigning for the fair treatment of New Zealanders living in Australia

Special Category Visa

22 April 2023
(Photo: Department of Home Affairs website)
(Photo: Department of Home Affairs website)

The Special Category Visa (SCV) is a temporary visa that allows New Zealanders to live and work in Australia, as long as they remain a New Zealand citizen. Anyone arriving in Australia on a New Zealand passport, without a visa, will automatically be issued an SCV, subject to meeting the health and character requirements.

The SCV is automatically cancelled upon departing Australia. Therefore, New Zealanders who usually reside in Australia are not a “resident” for insurance or other purposes etc when outside of Australia.

Which type of SCV are you?

The Migration Act (1958) specifies only one visa for New Zealanders, the Temporary Resident visa subclass TY 444. The Special Category Visa (SCV) is defined in the Social Security Act (1991). The type of SCV you hold depends on when you arrived in Australia.

Non-protected SCV-holder

If you are a New Zealand citizen who first arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001, you're a non-protected SCV-holder. This means you are not an Australian resident for social security purposes.

From 1 July 2023 non-protected Special Category Visa-holders who have resided in Australia for at least the past four years can apply directly for citizenship without needing to apply for a permanent visa.

Protected SCV holder

You are a protected SCV-holder, also known as an Eligibile New Zealand Citizen (ENZC), if you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and were:

If you meet these rules, and live in Australia, you are an Australian resident for social security purposes. You are also eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after residing in Australia four years immediately prior to applying.

New Zealand citizens on Norfolk Island

You are generally a protected SCV-holder if you are a New Zealand citizen who was:

If you meet these rules and also live in Australia, you're an Australian resident for social security purposes.

If you formerly held a Norfolk Island immigration temporary, general or unrestricted entry permit you may be able to apply for an Australian permanent visa.

Confirm your status

Check your visa status using VEVO. Your can also contact Centelink International Services or request your travel records to confirm whether you are a non-protected or protected Special Category Visa-holder.

Permanent visa-holders

New Zealanders granted a permanent visa will revert back to a Special Category Visa if they enter Australia with an expired travel facility. Check the Must Not Arrive After Date in VEVO or on your Visa Grant Notice and keep a copy with your passport.

Once you are granted Australian citizenship you should always depart and enter Australia on an Australian passport.

Keep your passport valid

Your Special Category Visa remains valid even if your passport expires. Oz Kiwi recommends you and your whānau always have a valid passport. Do not wait for a family emergency before renewing your New Zealand passport.

New Zealand passports take 10 days to process, but urgent requests in Australia cost AUD $868 for an Adult and AUD $774 for a Child.

New Zealanders entering Australia

Check your visa status using VEVO

Your options for Australian citizenship

New Zealanders citizens claiming payments in Australia


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