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.

Below is all the info you need including repayment amounts and a student loan repayment calculator.

On this page you will find the below helpful information:

What you’ll be paying off your student loan while you’re overseas

If you travel outside New Zealand for more than six months the IRD don’t base your repayments on your income, they base the payments on your student loan balance and charge interest to the balance owing.

Repayments you need to make each year

Each year you’re away the IRD will work out your repayment amounts again. Your new repayment amounts will be available after 31 March.

Your minimum annual repayment obligation as at:

  • 31 March 2014 (if you’re living overseas and left New Zealand on or before this date), or
  • your departure date.

You can make voluntary repayments anytime, but you must meet the installment dates of 30 September and 31 March.

Instalment date payments are 50% of your repayment obligation. This will only be different if you’ve made other arrangements with the IRD.

Your repayment obligation stays the same if your loan balance decreases. But, if your balance increases your repayment obligation will increase.

You can check what you owe and when your repayments are due in your myIR Secure Online Services account.

How much do you need to pay?

The below table shows how much you need to pay depending on your loan balance.

When your loan balance is:30 September31 March
under $1,000you need to pay your whole loan balance
$1,000 and up to $15,000
over $15,000 and up to $30,000
over $30,000 and up to $45,000
over $45,000 and up to $60,000
over $60,000

Depending on the size of your loan (over $90,000) your repayments might not be enough to cover your interest.

When you leave New Zealand during the tax year you might have:

  • a New Zealand-based, and
  • an overseas-based part-year repayment obligation.

Student loan repayment calculator

Use the IRD student loan repayment calculator to work out how much interest will be added to your loan and how long it’ll take to pay it off.

Below is an example using a student loan amount of $10,000:

Student loan repayment calculator

Missed payments

If you’ve missed payments the IRD may charge you late payment interest. If you’re having difficulty repaying your loan contact the IRD. They might be able to offer you some payment options. Talk to them if:

  • you haven’t been making your repayments, and
  • the amount you are behind in paying is significant.

They may stop you leaving New Zealand next time you travel if this has happened, so make sure you contact them.

Will you loan stay 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.

Are you eligible for a 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

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.

Still got questions?

If there is anything else you would like to know about, please ask me a question using the below comment system and I will do my best to find the information you need.


  1. Ken

    May 25, 2022 at 9:40 am

    Hi there can u tell me what happens to your student loan if u go bankrupt ?
    How long can student loan debt collectors chase u for ?

    • JJ Smith

      June 13, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Ken,
      Thank you for your comment and sorry for the large delay in replying.
      If you have a student loan, it will be included in your bankruptcy debts and you won’t need to make any repayments. You can’t apply for a new student loan until your bankruptcy is discharged or annulled.
      The IRD could chase you for your whole life.
      Your student loan would not be interest free if you’re living in Australia for more than 6 months.
      Sorry my advice wasn’t more positive.

  2. Karen

    July 20, 2020 at 12:15 am

    Hi JJ,
    Do you know if there is a reciprocal payment system through government agencies for a New Zealand student loan for someone who is now based in Australia? I’m curious as to why there seems to be a reciprocal system for some social welfare payments but I cannot find any information on student loan repayments between Australia and New Zealand.

    • JJ Smith

      July 20, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately there is no reciprocal system for student loans between NZ and Australia.
      NZ will only give you an interest free loan while you live in New Zealand and Australia will not give you a student loan unless you are a Australia Citizen.
      You would have read the info on the student loan page, so you will know how to repay your loan and work out how much it will cost you wile living in Australia.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

  3. Sam

    June 14, 2020 at 11:03 am

    My son is a NZ citizen, moved to Australia in 2014. He is still studying fr his Bachelors degree in Australia and working part time. After moving to Australia my son got into a relationship with an Australian Citizen and has two daughters born here in Australia (who are Australian citizens). My son is facing financial hardship and not in a position to pay off his NZ student loan which has ballooned to over $35K and incurring interest. He is not in a position to pay off his NZ Student loan and has no assets. What are his options and the pros and cons of options he has in his situation?

    • JJ Smith

      June 17, 2020 at 1:09 am

      Hi Sam,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I haven’t got any good advice for him apart from start paying off your student loan! His loan is going to keep gaining interest until it is paid off.
      He needs to call the IRD! They will be able to talk him through his options and may be able to offer him some payment options. IRD phone for overseas based customers calling from Australia: 1800 559 653.
      They may stop him leaving New Zealand next time he travel’s, so make sure he contacts them.
      The loan isn’t going to disappear, only get worse.
      However, he should setup an account with either XE or OFX so he isn’t charged fees on the money he transfers to NZ to pay the IRD. More info here:
      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  4. Beth

    May 25, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    In terms of moving to Australia and coming back. Once i come move back to nz will i still earn intrest or will it go back to intrest free?

  5. Bill

    April 2, 2019 at 2:37 am

    Hi My daughter has moved to Australia, Brisbane with full time employment. She completed her 4 years at Massey last year. We are wanting to know how she can do this from Australia. Does NZ have an agreement with Australian Tax Office to repay the student loan?

    • JJ Smith

      April 9, 2019 at 12:00 am

      Hi Bill,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately once your daughter moves to Australia her loan won’t be interest free.
      Repayments will be based on her student loan balance and charge interest to the balance owing. Each year she’s away the IRD will work out her repayment amounts again. Her new repayment amounts will be available after 31 March.
      I highly recommend she calls the IRD and discusses her situation with them.
      She can use the IRD student loan repayment calculator to work out how much interest will be added to her loan and how long it’ll take to pay it off.
      Wish I could have had a more positive answer for you.

  6. Eric

    November 22, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I have student loan in NZ, and will move to Australia next month.
    I’m wondering if I need to pay back the whole amount at once to avoid any interest on the loan.
    Is there any “discount” if the whole amount is repaid in one go?

    • JJ Smith

      December 2, 2018 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Eric,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I have updated the above student loan post with all the latest information, including a repayment calculator.
      You will need to pay your loan off if you want to stay interest-free. But you do have 6 months before interest is added.
      I can’t find any information on a discount for prompt/full payment, but I do recommend you call them, as they are there to help you out.
      Good luck with your move.

  7. Alex Vico

    October 29, 2018 at 12:29 am

    Hi JJ
    I have a New Zealand student loan and have been living overseas for about 10 years now (currently residing in Australia).
    I am both a New Zealand and Australian citizen (I was born in Australia). I am wondering if there are different laws regarding student loan repayment / interest charges if I am a dual citizen?

    • JJ Smith

      October 29, 2018 at 1:30 am

      Hi Alex,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I don’t know if there are different laws regarding citizenship.
      I don’t think it makes a difference to repayments or interest though as no matter what you are a over-seas borrower.
      Sorry I can’t be of more help. Please let me know if I wrong regarding the above.
      JJ Smith

  8. Sarah Smith

    September 3, 2018 at 1:06 am

    If I’m Australian born, but my child is born in NZ and I want to move back to Australia, is my child an Aussy or a Kiwi? Will my child be able to get a student loan in Australia for study at university?

    • JJ Smith

      September 4, 2018 at 12:51 am

      Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Since your child in NZ born, they will have an NZ passport and will be an NZ citizen. So they will not be able to apply for an NZ loan at this stage.
      However, as you are a Australia citizen you can apply for your child to become a Australian citizen too.
      For Australian citizenship by descent eligibility you must have been born outside Australia and at least one of your parents must have been an Australian citizen when you were born.
      Get your identity documents, evidence that one of your parents was an Australian citizen at the time of your birth and, if you are 18 years of age or over, good character documents.
      Here is where to register your child born outside Australia as a citizen: The fee for this application is AUD 230. The fee for the second and subsequent siblings applying at the same time is AUD 95 per applicant.
      Please feel free to ask further questions.

  9. 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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