If you’re coming to study or work in New Zealand, you can open an account before you make the move. This is thinking ahead.

How it works


You need to hold an appropriate study or work visa for New Zealand. Australian citizens and permanent citizens don’t need visas.

Setting up an account

You can set up your account before you get here. You have 180 days (six months) after opening your account to arrive in New Zealand and activate your account.

Account types

A Free Up account can be opened from overseas. Once you've arrived in New Zealand and your account has been activated, you can withdraw funds. You'll then be able to open other types of accounts too.

Joint accounts

You can set up a joint account, but each account holder will need to fill in a separate migrant banking application form (PDF 208.3 KB). If you’re planning to make your account joint once you arrive in New Zealand, please bear in mind that the other joint account holder will need to provide proof of their New Zealand address, which could be difficult if they’ve only just arrived in the country.

If you’re not arriving at the same time, it might be a better idea to set up an individual account that can be activated first and a joint account that can be activated later, once you’re both in New Zealand.

The application process

Send these documents to migrant.banking@kiwibank.co.nz:

  • A completed Migrant banking application form (PDF 208.3 KB)
  • A certified copy of your passport. A certified copy is a photocopy stamped and signed by an acceptable certifier confirming it's a true copy of the original, and that the photo is a true likeness of you. The Migrant banking application form (PDF 208.3 KB) has a list of acceptable documents and certifiers and who can certify them.
  • A certified copy of your proof of your residential address in your home country.
  • A completed Overseas tax declaration
  • Depending on whether you will be studying or working we’ll also need either the relevant visa that entitles you to work in New Zealand or, your student visa and proof of your enrolment in a New Zealand educational facility.

Next steps

Once you’ve sent in your completed application form, with the correctly certified documents, we’ll email within one to two business days to let you know:

  • Your account details
  • Information on how to send international payments to your new Kiwibank account before you arrive
  • Instructions on how to set up internet banking
  • Where to find your nearest Kiwibank branch, so we can set up an appointment for you to activate your accounts once you arrive in New Zealand. Once we've verified your identity and address in a Kiwibank branch, you'll be able to withdraw money from your account.

Get in touch

If you need help or more information please email migrant.banking@kiwibank.co.nz. We also have a number of staff who speak different languages and may be able to help you in your preferred language.

Overseas tax information

When you join Kiwibank, you'll need to provide us with information about your overseas tax status, even if you’re not a tax resident anywhere else.