Special Category visa (subclass 444)

Features

​​This visa lets New Zealand citizens visit, study, stay and work in Australia.

Eligibility

You must:
  • be a New Zealand citizen
  • have a valid New Zealand passport
  • meet health and character requirements.

Length of stay

From grant (usually on arrival in Australia) until you depart Australia.

Cost

From AUD
0

Global processing times

Global processing times are unavailable for this visa.

Learn about...​

Eligibility

Who could get this visa

You might be able to get this visa on your arrival to Australia if you:

Special Category visa (SCV) for former holders of Norfolk Island immigration permits

Health

You must meet certain health requirements.

Health insurance

Although Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with New Zealand, you might consider taking out additional health insurance for items not covered by the agreement. Your health insurer can be in either Australia or overseas.

The visa

About this visa

The Special Category visa (subclass 444) is a temporary visa that lets you stay and work in Australia as long as you remain a New Zealand citizen.

The Special Category visa is a temporary visa and you do not have the same rights and benefits as Australian citizens or permanent residents. If you are seeking to become an Australian permanent resident, there are a range of visa options available to you that you can apply for in and outside Australia. Alternatively, you might choose to explore the option of applying for Australian Citizenship.

Further information

The following links provide further information for New Zealand citizens about permanent visa options, Australian Citizenship and other Government services.

New Zealand citizens

Fact sheet 17 - New Zealanders in Australia

Information on Australian citizenship for New Zealand citizens

What this visa lets you do

This visa allows you to:

  • enter and stay in Australia and
  • work and study in Australia.

How long your visa lasts

The Special Category visa is valid from time of grant (usually upon arrival to Australia) to time of departure from Australia, so long as you remain a New Zealand citizen while you are the holder of the visa. The validity of a Special Category visa ceases when you leave Australia. You need to apply for a new Special Category visa each time you arrive in Australia.

If you are seeking to apply for and be granted a Special Category visa on arrival to Australia you must, on every arrival to Australia, meet the eligibility criteria to be granted this visa.

Cost

There is no application charge for this visa.

Other costs

You might have to pay other costs, such as the costs of health assessments, police certificates, or any other certificates or tests. You are responsible for making the necessary arrangements.

Location

You apply for this visa on your arrival to Australia and in some circumstances the visa can be applied for after your arrival in Australia.

Your obligations

You must remain a New Zealand citizen while holding a Special Category visa for it to remain valid for the period of your stay in Australia. If your citizenship status changes (other than becoming an Australian citizen) and you have not applied for, or have been granted an appropriate visa to facilitate the rest of your stay, you will become unlawful.

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa details and entitlements.

Follow these steps

  1. Before you apply

    Your passport

    You must have a valid New Zealand passport to apply for this visa. If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. Your visa is linked to the passport number you use in your application.

  2. Apply

    You apply for this visa on your arrival to Australia and in some circumstances the visa can be applied for after your arrival in Australia.

    Apply for the visa in Immigration Clearance

    You are considered to have lodged and applied for a Special Category visa on arrival in Australia if you:

    • arrive without a visa
    • show your valid New Zealand passport

    You will also need to complete your Incoming Passenger Card.

    Subject to you meeting health and character requirements, you will be granted a visa.

    This visa is recorded electronically and your passport is stamped (if you do not use SmartGate), showing the date of arrival in Australia.

    If you use the SmartGate automated border processing system at an Australian airport, you will be advised by SmartGate that you have been granted a visa. You also can request to have your passport stamped by an Australian Border Force officer after proceeding through SmartGate.

    See: Arrivals SmartGate

    Apply for the visa in Australia (not in Immigration Clearance)

    There are limited circumstances where you can apply for a Special Category visa, such as you:

    • become a New Zealand citizen after your arrival in Australia, or
    • enter Australia on a passport other than a New Zealand passport, or
    • enter on another temporary visa that is about to cease.

    If you hold a visa that has a 'no further stay' condition you are barred from applying for the Special Category visa while you remain in Australia.

    If the limited circumstances apply to you, you can apply for a Special Category visa at one of our offices in Australia.

    You cannot apply for a Special Category visa before you travel to Australia. If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for a Special Category visa, you will need to apply for and be granted an alternative visa before you travel to Australia.

    More information

    Please refer to preparing your application, for information on:

    • certifying and translating documents into English
    • communicating with us
    • using a migration agent
    • authorising another person to receive information from us
    • receiving assistance with your application.
  3. After you apply

    Wait for a decision

    In relation to applying for a Special Category visa in Australia (not in immigration clearance), the department has service standards relating to the time it takes to process visa applications. Processing times can be affected by a number of factors, including where you lodge your application, and how it is lodged (eg: by post or in person).

    Provide more information

    You can provide more information to us, in writing, at any time until a decision is made on the application. If you want to correct information you have previously provided, use:

    • Form 1023 - Notification of incorrect answer(s)  (99 kB PDF).

    We could also ask you for more information. You will have to respond by a set date. After that date, we can make a decision about your application using the information that we have.

    If another person gives us information that could result in you being refused a visa, we will usually give you the opportunity to comment on the information.

    You might also be interviewed. If you are asked to attend an interview in person, bring your passport or other identification and any requested documents to the interview.

    Tell us of changes

    Please contact us if your citizenship status changes (other than becoming an Australian citizen).

    Visa decision

    At the border on arrival to Australia

    On arrival to Australia the grant of a Special Category visa is dependent on you meeting requirements for the visa. If you meet these requirements you will be granted the visa and be immigration cleared for entry into Australia.

    On grant of a Special Category visa the visa is recorded electronically and your passport is stamped (if you do not use SmartGate), showing the date of arrival in Australia.

    If you use the SmartGate automated border processing system at an Australian airport, you will be advised by SmartGate that you have been granted a visa. You also can request to have your passport stamped by an Australian Border Force officer after proceeding through SmartGate.

    See: Arriving SmartGate

    In Australia

    If the visa is granted, we will either inform you verbally, or provide you with a letter or email with:

    • the date the visa starts
    • the visa grant number
    • any conditions attached to the visa

    If the visa is refused, we will either inform you verbally or send you a letter or email stating why the visa was refused.

Tell us of changes

Changes to your circumstances

Please contact us if your citizenship status changes (other than becoming an Australian citizen).

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw the application at any time before we make a decision about it. To do this, send us a letter or email to ask for the withdrawal. Your request must include your full name and date of birth. You should also include your file reference number, client ID, or a Transaction Reference Number.

All applicants 18 years of age or older, wishing to withdraw, must sign the request for withdrawal.