Eligible NZ Citizens

What is an ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’?

The term ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’ (ENZC) has a specific meaning under migration law and must be fully understood before proceeding with any advice or visa/citizenship applications.

It does not encompass all New Zealand citizens. Only those who meet the legal definition.

In Regulation 1.03 of the Migration Regulations 1994 an ‘eligible New Zealand Citizen’ is a specific New Zealand citizen who meets the criteria of a ‘protected Special Category Visa (SCV), subclass TY444 holder’ within the meaning of Section 7 of the Social Security Act 1991.

Who is and who isn’t an ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’?

The TY444 visa is the visa granted to most New Zealand passport holders upon arrival into Australia.

An Eligible New Zealand Citizen is someone who meets any one or more of the set criteria:

  • Present in Australia on 26 February 2001, held a TY444 visa on that date and are still a New Zealand citizen


  • Not present in Australia on 26 February 2001 but was present in Australia for 365 days (or more) between 26 February 1999 and 25 February 2001 (inclusive)


  • Commenced (or recommenced) residing in Australia between 26 February 2001 and 25 May 2001 (inclusive) AND either claimed a payment under the social security law between 26 February 2001 and 25 February 2004 OR the person was, at any time, determined under subsection 7(2E) of the Social Security Act, to be residing in Australia

What is the benefit of being an ‘eligible New Zealand citizen’?

An ENZC is able to apply directly for citizenship, access social security payments and they are also able to sponsor certain family members provided they meet prescribed criteria.

If a New Zealand citizen does not meet any of the above criteria, they are NOT an eligible New Zealand citizen.

People who are not ENZCs must always apply for a permanent visa before they will ever be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship and full social security entitlements. Note: Entitlements to various payments may be subject to a newly arrived residents waiting period which all permanent visa holders must meet.

Eligible/protected New Zealand Citizens are:

  • Treated like permanent residents
  • Holders of the SCV, subclass TY444 visa and are temporary residents under Section 32 of the Migration Act 1958
  • Assessed as Protected SCV holders
  • Able to sponsor certain family members e.g. partner, children, parents
  • Considered permanent residents for the purposes of lodging an Australian citizenship application
  • Eligible to apply for most social security payments
  • Entitled to NDIS support
  • Children born in Australia after 30 August 1994 are Australian citizens at birth
  • Are NOT able to provide an avenue to certain family member’s who meet the prescribed criteria for the subclass 461 NZ Family Relationship visa

Non eligible/non protected SCV holders:

  • Are not permanent residents under the Migration and Citizenship Acts
  • Are not able to sponsor family members
  • Are not able to access most Social Security payments
  • Are not entitled to NDIS support
  • Must apply for an Australian permanent visa in order to be recognised as a permanent resident for Australian citizenship purposes
  • Children born to non-protected SCV holders must live in Australia for the first 10 years of their life and are automatically granted Australian citizenship on their 10th birthdays
  • Are able to provide an avenue to certain family member’s who meet the prescribed criteria for the subclass 461 NZ Family Relationship visa

Frequently Asked Questions

What if an Eligible New Zealand citizen has children?

If Eligible New Zealand Citizens have children that are:

  • Born in Australia, are their children Australian citizens at birth?
    • Answer is Yes, they are Australian citizens at birth
  • Born outside of Australia?
    • Answer is No, they are not Australian citizens
  • Will their children born overseas be granted Australian citizenship automatically on their 10th birthdays?
    • Answer is No, they will not be granted Australian citizenship on their 10th birthdays and will need to be assessed for other possible pathways

How can I check if I am assessed as an Eligible New Zealand citizen?

To be assessed as an Eligible New Zealand citizen one must be able to say ‘Yes’ to at least one of the criteria below:

  • Were you in Australia on the 26th February 2001 as a New Zealand citizen?


  • Were you present in Australia for a total of 365 days between 26th February 1999 and 25th February 2001?


  • Did you arrive in Australia between the 27th February 2001 and 25th May 2001 and apply for or contacted Centrelink before the 26th?

If in doubt, you can call International Services on 131 673 (Option 2) and ask over the phone if the operator can check their systems and data base.

International Services are usually able to assess and provide an answer to you over the phone and in some cases where people came between February 27 2001 and May 25 2001, they can issue a Centrelink Residence Certificate to be posted to you to confirm your status and so you may apply for Australian citizenship.


The information contained within this website is to provide advice of a general nature only and is not to be taken as individual advice for your personal circumstances. Information provided is subject to change at any time, and before proceeding with an application you should seek professional personalised advice from a Registered Migration Agent about your circumstances.

While Morunga Migration will make every reasonable effort to maintain current and accurate information on this site, users should be aware MM accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any material contained on this site.

Further information relating to visas and citizenship can be checked on the website of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

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