New Zealand citizens don’t need visas to enter Australia, but they need a special permit to stay, study, and work indefinitely in Australia. This permit is labelled as visa 444- a special category visa.
What Is a Special Category Visa 444 for Australia?
This is a visa type specifically issued to New Zealand citizens when they enter Australia. In most cases, you will get the visa automatically, but you may also apply for one- it depends on your specific circumstances.
Who Is Eligible for a 444 Visa?
You can apply for a visa 444 if:
- You are a New Zealand citizen with a valid NZ passport.
- You don’t have the “no further stay rule” imposed on your visa (if you are currently holding an Australia visa).
- You are not labelled as a behaviour concern non-citizen (failed the character requirements).
- You were not removed from Australia.
- You were not removed or deported from another country.
- You are not labelled as a health concern non-citizen (failed the health requirements).
Regarding health requirements, if you declare you have tuberculosis, then you will be contacted for more information and you may be required to submit a separate visa application before you enter Australia.
What Documents Do You Need to Submit for a 444 Visa?
If you have a valid passport, the only document you need is the passport issued to you by New Zealand.
Do You Need to Apply for a 444 Visa?
No, your special category visa is attached to your New Zealand passport automatically when you enter Australia. However, you must fill in your passenger card carefully and declare any health issues or previous criminal activities after entering Australia.
In some specific cases, you may apply for a visa 444. You must make an appointment for your visa application by completing your e-Incoming Passenger Card before you enter Australia. Once the Department of Foreign Affairs processes your request they will notify you of a date, time, and location for your appointment, if they need more information from you, they will let you know.
Your visa 444 will be displayed on your VEVO (visa entitlement verification online) every time you need to access Australia’s services or when you need to confirm your legal status in Australia.
How Long Can I Stay With a 444 Visa?
You can stay indefinitely with a visa 444. If you apply for this visa after you entered Australia, then the visa becomes valid on the day it’s granted, unlike the automatic visa which is valid from the moment you enter Australia.
A visa 444 stops being valid when you leave Australia and your visa is granted from the beginning every time you enter Australia.
How Long Does It Take to Get a 444 Visa?
You will get a visa 444 immediately after you enter Australia. However, if you apply from inside Australia then the processing times will depend on how long it takes the Immigration Department to process your request.
Can I Include Family Members for My 444 Visa?
You cannot include them in your 444 visa- every family member needs to fill in their passenger cards when they enter Australia to get the 444 visa.
What if My Family Member Is Not a New Zealand Citizen?
If you are entering Australia with a family member that is not a New Zealand citizen, then they may be eligible for a New Zealand citizen family relationship visa- 461. This visa is only temporary, and your family member will be required to pay an application fee for their 461 visa.
How Much Does a 444 Visa Cost?
A 444 visa is free of charge. You are not required to pay any additional fees for your family members who enter Australia with you.
Can I Work With an Australia Visa 444?
Yes, you have unrestricted access to the workforce in Australia with a visa 444, provided that you are an eligible New Zealand citizen.
Can I Study With an Australia Visa 444?
You can freely study while you are in Australia under a 444 visa.
Do I Have Access to Medicare With a 444 Visa?
Yes, your 444 visa grants you complete access to Medicare services in Australia.
Do I Have to Apply for a New Visa 444 if My New Zealand Passport Is Expired?
You don’t have to apply for visa 444, since it’s automatically attached to your passport every time you enter Australia. However, you cannot enter Australia with an expired passport even if you are a New Zealand citizen. If you have an invalid passport, you must apply for a new passport and then you can enter Australia.
Benefits of an Australia 444 Visa
As a 444 visa holder, you can have access to many different Australian services:
- Family Assistance Payments
- Student Loans
- Rent Assistance
- Age Pension
- Disability Pension
- Carer Payment
With a 444 visa, you cannot vote, join Australia’s armed forces or work in a governmental position in Australia. If you are a protected special category visa then you may have more benefits:
- Added social security payments
- Access to national disability scheme
- Youth allowance
- Access to Austudy (financial help for students)