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Repaying my student loan

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If you live in New Zealand, how you repay your student loan will depend on if you have:

  • salary or wage income
  • self-employed income
  • other types of income, including trust income, dividends, shareholder salary or overseas income.

If you earn salary or wages and use the right tax code, your student loan deductions will be paid automatically by your employer. 

If you are self-employed or earn other types of income, you will need to make the student loan repayments yourself. 

Leaving New Zealand

When you live in New Zealand and are not absent for long periods, you are a New Zealand-based borrower. This means that your student loan will be interest free. 

If you leave New Zealand for more than 6 months, your loan will stop being interest free. Interest on your loan is backdated to the day after you left New Zealand.

It is a good idea to set up a nominated person to manage your loan while you are overseas, but you do not have to.

Nominated person

Short-term travel

You will still be a New Zealand-based borrower if you are:

  • overseas for most of a 6-month period but
  • are in New Zealand for at least 32 days during that 6 months.

Your student loan will stop being interest free if you are:

  • overseas for most of a 6-month period
  • in New Zealand for less than 32 days during that 6 months.

Keeping your student loan interest free

There are some situations where you can be overseas for more than 6 months but keep your student loan interest free. 

For example, you might be studying or volunteering overseas, living in Niue, Cook Islands, Tokelau or Ross Dependency, or you might have tried to get back to New Zealand but been delayed.

When can I keep my student loan interest free overseas

Returning to New Zealand

If you come back to New Zealand, after 183 days you will become a New Zealand-based borrower again. 

You can take short trips out of New Zealand. If you spend no more than 32 days overseas, you will still become a New Zealand-based borrower after 183 days. 

If you have come back to New Zealand, but need to take an unplanned trip that would stop you becoming a New Zealand-based borrower again, we may be able to help you. 

Unplanned absence from New Zealand when I have a student loan