Preparing for the new permanent visa

A new permanent visa for some New Zealand non-protected Special Category Visa-holders (SCVs) is available from 1 July 2017. If you are eligible, start preparing your supporting documents now. 

The full details of the new visa are still being finalised. There is currently no application form, and the visa doesn’t have a proper name or visa number.

This page will be updated as more information is released by the Department of Immigration.

The new visa does not does not change Kiwi’s eligibility for RRV, nor does it affect the Special Category Visa that many Kiwis in Australia reside on. If you are not eligible for the new permanent visa you can continue to reside on the Special Category Visa.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the new visa, the primary applicant must:

  • be a non-protected Special Category Visa-holder
  • have arrived in Australia between 27 February 2001 and 19 February 2016
  • have resided in Australia for the last five years immediately prior to applying
  • have earned at least $53,900 taxable income in each of the last five years
  • meet the standard health, character and security checks.

If you ​arrived in Australia on 19 February 2016, you can apply after five years, provided you meet the other eligibility criteria.

There are some income exemptions, but only limited details are known at this stage.

So far there is no mention of any age restriction but this could change. Other visas within the General Skilled Migration (GSM) stream have an upper age limit of 50 years.

The primary applicant can include their partner and dependent children on the application. Partners and children only need to meet the health, character and security checks.

Please note

If you are also eligible to apply for a Resident Return Visa, and have a partner and/or dependent children to sponsor, you must consider whether RRV or the new visa is the best option for your family. If your child becomes a permanent visa-holder they will not be eligible for a HELP loan until they attend their citizenship ceremony.

Only you can decide what is the best option for your family given the cost, time taken to process each visa, be granted citizenship and attend a citizenship ceremony. Oz Kiwi cannot advise what the best pathway for your family is.

Family Relationship 461

Once you are granted the new visa you cannot renew a Family Relationship 461 visa as you are no longer an SCV-holder. You will need to include family on your application for the new visa, or sponsor them for a Partner visa or dependent Child visa when their current 461 visa expires.

Supporting documents

You can start preparing your certified supporting documents ahead of 1 July 2017. In particular you will most likely need:

  • your passport photo page
  • proof of the date you began residing in Australia, for example a passport stamp or your travel records
  • a full New Zealand criminal record for all visa applicants aged 18 or older when they arrived in Australia
  • an Australian National Police Check for all visa applicants aged 16 or older
  • ATO Tax Assessment Notices for the primary applicant (last five years, including the 2016-2017 financial year)

If including your partner and dependent children on the application, you will also most likely need certified copies of:

  • their passport photo page
  • proof of your relationship, even if you are married, marriage certificate, family photos, joint bank accounts, shared property etc
  • evidence of any name change, ie by marriage or deed poll (if applicable)
  • children’s birth certificates
  • children’s recent school reports

Additional certified documents may be required, this not intended as an exhaustive list. More will be known come 1 July 2017.

New Zealand Police check

You should obtain a New Zealand criminal conviction history for each visa applicant aged 18 or older when they came to Australia. Tick the box a step 3 of the form – ‘Full record of convictions’ to request your full record. There is no fee, it remains valid for 12 months, and takes 1-3 months to be processed.

Australian National Police Check

You should request an Australian National Police Check for each visa applicant who is aged 16 or older. You do not need to provide your finger prints. The fee is $42, and it usually takes 15 working days to be processed. When completing the form, in:

  • Section 1: Type of check required – tick the box Name Check Only
  • Section 8: Purpose of Check – select code 33 For Immigration/Citizenship

Criminal convictions

It is highly likely that you will be required to declare all criminal convictions, including historical or minor sentences, on your visa application. There is no “clean slate” when applying for a visa or citizenship.

Failure to declare convictions will see your application declined. You will also fail the character requirements if you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, including historical offending or multiple short sentences totalling more than 12 months. A suspended sentence, ie no jail time was served, is still a prison sentence.


The primary applicant can include their partner and dependent children on the visa application. The Visa Application Charges (VAC) for the new visa are:

  • $3,600 primary applicant
  • $1,800 partner
  • $1,800 each dependent child aged over 18
  • $900 each child under 18

Applicants are required to pay 20 percent of the VAC when they lodge their application. DIBP will request the remainder to be paid before granting the visa.

Processing time

The processing time for the new visa is unknown at this stage, but it may take 6 to 12 months.


New Visa for New Zealanders

RRV or the new visa option?

More information about the additional pathway to permanent residence is available on the Department of Immigration website.

Protected Special Category Visa-holders can apply directly for citizenship subject to meeting the residency and character requirements.

Have a question?

Phone the Department of Immigration on 13 18 81 or contact them via social media. Please do not provide your personal details on a public forum.

Oz Kiwi is run by volunteers and entirely funded by public donations. Donations can be made via PayPal or credit card.


 The above “Preparing for the New Visa” information should not be relied on as an alternative to advice from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, or a professional immigration services provider.

If you have any specific questions about an immigration matter, you should consult the Department of Immigration and Border Protection or a professional immigration services provider.


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