Find out your student loan requirements when living in Australia.

First serious point is if you’re going overseas for 6 months or more your New Zealand student loan won’t be interest free.

Short trips (less than 6 months)

Interest-free student loans

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.

Student loan repayments while you’re overseas

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.

Find out more about what payments you have to make to your NZ Student Loan.

Longer trips (6 months or more)

When you go overseas:

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:

  • your departure date
  • how long you intend to be away, and
  • any repayment holiday information.

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.

Find out more about interest and how it’s calculated.

Interest-free student loans while you’re overseas

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:

Repayment holiday

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:

  • You’ll need to apply before you leave New Zealand or within the first 183 days (6 months) of being overseas.
  • You’ll need to provide the name and address of a person based in New Zealand, who is willing to act as an alternative contact person in case we need to get in touch with you about your loan.

If you don’t meet these conditions your application may be declined.

Please note:

  • The maximum time you can have a repayment holiday is 365 days.
  • You’ll need to apply for a repayment holiday.
  • You’ll need to provide an alternative contact person based in New Zealand.

Apply for a repayment holiday now

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

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.

Student loan changes from 1 April 2014

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.

Find out about repayment obligations for overseas-based borrowers.


  1. Jordan

    July 1, 2014 at 7:48 am

    What are the terms of having a current student loan in New Zealand and moving to Australia will i have to pay extra tax on top of it?

    • JJ Smith

      July 1, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Hi Jordon,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      If you’re going overseas for 6 months or more your student loan won’t be interest free, which means you may end up paying more interest. However, you will not have to pay more tax.
      For more information please read the information on the IRD website:
      Good luck with your move.


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