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If you're living, studying or working in New Zealand long-term, you're considered New Zealand-based. This means you're entitled to an interest-free student loan and your loan repayments are based on your income.

If you're outside of New Zealand for around 5 out of 6 months, you might become overseas-based and your student loan will stop being interest free. Your loan repayments will be based on the size of your loan balance and your loan could start getting bigger.

Repaying my student loan when I am overseas-based

Working out exactly when you become overseas-based can get complex, especially if you're travelling a lot. You can use our 'Overseas travel calculator' to find out when your status will change based on your overseas travel.

Travel details in myIR

The new ‘Travelling overseas’ section in myIR makes it easier to keep track of how long you're away from New Zealand and calculate when interest is charged.

Go to myIR < Student loan account < I want to.... Then scroll down to 'Travelling overseas'.

You can also check the dates you travel to or from New Zealand. This only shows the date you travelled into or out of the country and does not include information about where you travelled.

Overseas travel calculator

Go to your student loan account in myIR and select 'More', then 'Travelling overseas'.

You'll find the 'Calculate your interest status' which lets you enter the dates you expect to leave or return to New Zealand. You can check when your status changes and when your loan will be interest free, based on these dates.

Log in to myIR

Working out when you become overseas or New Zealand-based

For your student loan, we use the following time frames to work out whether you're overseas-based or New Zealand-based.

Leaving New Zealand

When you depart New Zealand, after 184 days, you:

  • become overseas-based if you are out of New Zealand for at least 153 of those 184 days
  • remain New Zealand-based if you are back in New Zealand for at least 32 of those 184 days.

If you become overseas-based, your student loan is no longer interest free. The interest is backdated to the day after you left New Zealand.

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Last updated: 04 Feb 2022
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