First serious point is if you’re going overseas for 6 months or more your New Zealand student loan won’t be interest free.
Your loan will remain interest-free if you’re going overseas for 183 consecutive days or less (about 6 months) and you’ve have been living in New Zealand for at least 183 consecutive days prior to leaving. You’ll still see interest being applied but this is automatically written off.
Please note: if you travel overseas for less than 6 months on a regular basis, your loan will remain interest-free as long you’re back in New Zealand for 32 days or more before you leave again.
If you’ll earn New Zealand salary or wages while you’re away, you’ll still be required to have student loan repayments deducted from this income.
If you earn any other income from New Zealand and/or overseas income while you’re away, you’ll need to let us know after the end of the tax year (31 March). This is because you’re still a New Zealand- based borrower and your repayments are based on your worldwide income.
If you have any other repayment obligation due while you’re away, or would like to make voluntary repayments, there are a number of ways you can make a payment.
You need to let us know if you’re going to be overseas for 184 days (about 6 months) or more. The easiest way to do this, if you also want to apply for a repayment holiday, is to complete the form in your myIR Secure Online Services account.
Otherwise send us secure mail through your myIR account or call us on 0800377778 (+64 3 951 2020 from overseas).
You need to include:
You’ll become an overseas-based borrower if you’ll be overseas for 184 days or more. This means you’ll have different repayment obligations and your loan will no longer be interest-free. Interest applies to your student loan from the day after you leave New Zealand.
There are certain situations where you may still qualify for an interest-free loan while you’re overseas.
In most cases you won’t qualify for an interest-free loan if you go overseas for 184 days (about 6 months) or more. However you may still qualify for your existing loan to remain interest-free if you meet the conditions for one of the following situations:
There are two additional circumstances where you may still qualify for your existing loan to remain interest-free:
You can apply for a repayment holiday if you’re going overseas for 6 months (184 days or more), which means you won’t have an overseas-based repayment obligation to pay for up to the first year (365 days) of being overseas. A repayment holiday is optional but you’ll need to apply if you want one.
The following conditions apply to repayment holiday applications:
If you don’t meet these conditions your application may be declined.
You can apply for the repayment holiday through your myIR account by completing the form.
Otherwise send us secure mail through your myIR account or call us on 0800377 778 (+64 3 951 2020 from overseas).
Please note: Repayment holidays don’t stop interest on your loan, so it’s still a good idea to make voluntary repayments to keep on top of your loan.
When you return to New Zealand after being overseas for 184 days (about 6 months) or more, you must let us know so we can update your student loan details and contact information.
With the enactment of the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Act 2014, changes to student loans will affect both New Zealand-based and overseas-based borrowers.
Changes to the overseas-based borrower repayment regime include two new annual repayment obligations in addition to the current overseas-based repayment thresholds. Borrowers with a loan balance over $45,000 will also need to repay more per year towards their loan.
A borrower’s annual repayment obligation will be set at a fixed minimum amount, which will no longer decrease as the borrowers’ loan balance decreases.
Stronger measures for those who have defaulted on their overseas-based repayment obligation
We can now request an arrest warrant to stop borrowers from leaving New Zealand next time they visit, if they are significantly behind on their overseas-based repayment obligation. Similar provisions already exist under the Child Support Act 1991.