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You may be able to keep your student loan interest free if the principal reason you are overseas is because you are:

  • unexpectedly delayed when you were returning to New Zealand
  • unexpectedly required to travel after you’ve returned to New Zealand.
  • studying overseas
  • volunteering overseas
  • working overseas for the government, or sent overseas for work
  • receiving a qualifying government-funded scholarship for study or an internship
  • accompanying your partner overseas while they are studying, working, volunteering for a listed charity, or receiving a government-funded scholarship for study or an internship
  • living in Niue, Cook Islands, Tokelau or Ross Dependency
  • you have a serious illness, injury or disability that means you’re not able to engage in paid work nor meet your repayment obligation.

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.

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