Eligible New Zealand Citizens

The title 'Eligible New Zealand Citizen' is a definition and term used in Migration Law and most New Zealand citizens are unaware of it's legal meaning. 

An Eligible New Zealand Citizen is more commonly known as a Protected Special Category Visa holder and they also hold a Special Category Visa, subclass TY444.

Eligible New Zealand Citizens is the legal term used in Migration & Citizenship Legislation (immigration matters) whilst Protected Special Category Visa holders is the legal term used in Social Security Legislation (generally Centrelink entitlements)


These terms are the most important labels for all fellow Kiwis to understand first and foremost, because it helps us to identity a persons' rightful status.


Once our rightful status has been identified it then becomes much easier to understand whether a person can apply directly for citizenship or not.


People who are not ENZC must always apply for a permanent visa before they will ever be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship and full Centrelink entitlements. Note: Entitlements to various Centrelink payments are subject to a Newly arrived residents waiting period

New Zealand citizens may need to be granted a permanent resident visa before Centrelink can look at the time you've spent in Australia. This will happen if you arrive on a New Zealand passport with a Special Category visa.

Due to COVID-19 the newly arrived residents waiting period has removed until the 31st December 2020 for certain payments.

This information is current as of the 5 August, 2020.


ENZC has a very specific meaning which at times can seem contradictory and confusing to most.


Bear with me as I try to explain what I mean!


Eligible New Zealand Citizens are:

  • The holders of the Special Category Visa, subclass TY444, just like every other New Zealander

  • Technically still temporary visa holders

  • Able to sponsor certain family members

  • Also known as a Protected Special Category Visa holders

  • Eligible to apply directly for citizenship without the need to apply for a permanent visa first

  • Eligible to apply for all Centrelink payments


Eligible New Zealand Citizens are NOT:

  • Permanent residents (except for Citizenship and Taxation purposes)

  • The reason Eligible New Zealand Citizens are not permanent residents is because they hold a temporary visa (TY444)

  • So despite being treated similar to permanent residents they are not exactly the same as permanent residents because they do not hold a permanent visa

If Eligible New Zealand Citizens have children that are: 

  • Born in Australia, their children are Australian citizens at birth

  • Born in New Zealand or elsewhere, their children are ordinary Special Category Visa holders who are 'Non-protected'

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

  • Present in Australia on the 26th February 2001 as a New Zealand citizen

  • Present in Australia for a total of 365 days between 26th February 1999 and 26th February 2001

  • Arrived in Australia from the 27th February 2001 to 25th May 2001 and applied for or contacted Centrelink before the 26th February 2004. Most Kiwis would have received a 'Centrelink Letter' to confirm if this was the case. If a Kiwi no longer has this letter they may call International Services in Hobart to request another copy of this letter on 131 673.

Finally, an Eligible New Zealand Citizen never loses their status, regardless of length of time spent outside of Australia. They also do not need to meet the 4 year residency requirement for citizenship provided they entered Australia within 8 years of making an application and did not leave Australia for more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately before applying.


If you are still grossly confused, don't worry, you're not alone!

Below is a video I made to explain what it all means. Good luck!

Erina Morunga

MARN: 1797713


17 Ormerod Street


SA 5271

SOUTH AUSTRALIA (Virtual Office)

271 Flinders Street


SA 5000

QUEENSLAND (Virtual Office)

Westfield Chermside

Level 2, 395 Hamilton Road


QLD 4032 

NEW SOUTH WALES (Virtual Office)

3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Road


NSW 2009





P.O. Box 1210


SA 5271





Mob: +61 404 109 112

Mob: +61 433 485 556

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon

MARN: 1797713


Member of the Migration Institute of Australia: 17820


Code of Conduct

Consumer Guide

Ethical Framework








As a registered migration agent, Māori living in Australia, and dual citizen of both New Zealand and Australia,

I acknowledge and pay my respects first and foremost, to the Traditional Owners both past and present, of this land.

© 2017 by Erina Morunga

Registered Migration Agent

proudly made with Wix.com