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Your student loan may stay interest-free when you're overseas-based if the main reason you go overseas is because you:

  • had an unexpected delay when you were returning to New Zealand
  • were unexpectedly required to travel after you’ve returned to New Zealand
  • are studying overseas
  • are volunteering overseas
  • are working overseas for the government, or sent overseas for work
  • receive a qualifying government-funded scholarship for study or an internship
  • are accompanying your partner who is overseas for any of the above reasons.

If you have a serious illness, injury or disability that means you’re not able to engage in paid work nor meet your repayment obligation your loan may also stay interest-free.

To apply to keep your student loan interest free you will need to provide us with supporting documentation. What you need to send us depends on your situation. Find out more in the pages below.

You'll generally be considered New Zealand-based and have an interest-free student loan if you live in Niue, Cook Islands, Tokelau, or Ross Dependency.

I live in Niue, Cook Islands, Tokelau, or Ross Dependency

You may become a non-resident taxpayer

If you’ll be away from New Zealand for less than 10 months (325 days) you will remain a New Zealand tax resident. Otherwise, you may need to determine your New Zealand tax residency by completing a New Zealand tax residence questionnaire - IR886. You only need to include this with your application if you will be away for more than 325 days and either:

  • your employment or occupation requires you to be overseas
  • you are accompanying your partner overseas
  • you experienced an unplanned absence
  • you had an unexpected delay returning to New Zealand.

International tax for individuals

Last updated: 23 Feb 2022
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