Open an account from overseas before making the move to New Zealand to work or study. This is thinking ahead.

Open an account before you arrive if you:

  • Are aged 18 and over

  • Hold a Work, Student or Resident Visa

  • Are arriving in New Zealand within the next two months (60 days)

  • Want to deposit New Zealand dollars before you arrive

Citizens or permanent residents of Australia, Niue, Tokelau, The Cook Islands and Tuvalu don't need a Visa to live or work in New Zealand.

Here's what to expect

  1. 1

    Apply to open a bank account

    A Free Up account can be opened from overseas. To apply you'll need to email the following documents to

    • a completed Migrant banking application form
    • a completed Overseas tax declaration form
    • a certified copy of your passport
    • a certified copy of your proof of your residential address in your home country
    • a copy of your relevant Resident or Work Visa, or Study Visa with proof of enrolment to a New Zealand institute.
  2. 2

    Receive your account details

    We'll review your application and reply within five to seven business days.

    If your application is successful, you'll receive your Free Up account details and information on how to send international payments to your account before you arrive. These payments will need to be made in New Zealand currency.

    You won’t be able to withdraw money out of your account, but we’ll send you details on how to set up internet banking for you to view your account balance.

  3. 3

    Activate your account

    When you arrive in New Zealand you'll need to activate your account by making an appointment and visiting your nearest Kiwibank branch with your passport and the original documentation you used to apply. Your account must be activated within two months (60 days) from the date it's opened.

    Once we've sighted and verified the documents, you'll be able to withdraw money from your account and open other types of accounts too.

Certified documentation

A certified copy is a photocopy stamped and signed by an acceptable certifier confirming it's a true copy of the original, and for the Photo ID, the certifier confirms you were present and have a true likeness to the photo in the identification. The Migrant banking application form has a list of acceptable documents and certifiers and who can certify them. If any document is in a language other than English, please provide a translation to English.

Joint accounts

You can set up a joint account, but each account holder will need to fill in a separate Migrant banking application form. Once you're both in New Zealand, both account holders will also need to make an appointment and visit the nearest Kiwibank branch with your passports and other original documentation used in your application in order to activate the account. Your joint account must be activated within two months (60 days) from the date it's opened.

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.

Talk to us

If you need help or more information on opening an account from overseas before moving to New Zealand, please get in touch with our team.

Get in touch

Please email and we'll get back to you.