Subclass 444 Visa:

Special Category Visa (SCV)

Subclass 444 Special Category Visa is a straightforward visa for New Zealand citizens that allows holders to visit, work, and study in Australia on a temporary basis. It’s a good short-term option, but we recommend looking at your permanent residency options if you’re considering a long-term move.

Overview of the Subclass 444 visa

  • The Special Category Visa allows New Zealand citizens to visit, work, and study in Australia indefinitely.
  • No offer of employment or sponsorship is required.
  • Each family member needs his or her own Special Category Visa.
  • When you leave Australia, your Special Category Visa Subclass 444 will cease, and you need to apply for another 444 visa when you next arrivein Australia. This makes it difficult to apply for jobs while outside Australia: if an employer attempts to view a New Zealand citizen’s work rights when they are not in Australia, the system shows they hold no valid visa.
  • Only limited social benefits are available to visa Subclass 444 holders: here’s what’s available to NZ citizens in Australia.
  • This is considered a temporary visa: subclass 444 does not lead to permanent residency. We recommend you take a look at your options for permanent residency if you’re considering moving to Australia.


Under the current trans-Tasman arrangement, New Zealand citizens are eligible for Special Category Visas (Subclass 444). A few key changes in Australian immigration law affected New Zealanders:

  • 1st July 1981: New Zealanders are required to travel with a passport to Australia.
  • 1st September 1994: The birth of the 444 visa and New Zealanders arriving in Australia after this date were no longer considered permanent residents of Australia.
  • 26th February 2001: If a Subclass 444 visa holder was in Australia on this date, or for 12 months in the last two years prior to this date, or was considered a ‘Protected SCV Holder’ before the 26 February 2004, they would be considered an ‘Eligible New Zealand Citizen’ and have similar rights as an Australian
  • 19 February 2016: Special Category Visa 444 holders who were living in Australia on or before this date have the opportunity to gain permanent residency through Subclass 189 New Zealand Stream.

Requirements for a Subclass 444 visa

Valid NZ passport

You need a valid New Zealand passport.


You must not be considered a Health Concern Non-Citizen (HCNC).

HCNC means a non-citizen who is suffering from a prescribed disease or a prescribed physical or mental condition. Please note that there are currently no physical or mental conditions prescribed by the Regulations.

HCNC specifies a prescribed disease as:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) (being TB that is not being controlled with medication); and
  • In respect of which the person suffering from it refuses to sign an undertaking to visit a Commonwealth Medical Officer within seven days of entering Australia.
Character requirements and convictions

Having a criminal history can complicate your travel plans: find out more about travelling to Australia with a criminal record.

Do you need help with your Australian Subclass 444 visa?

We specialise in Australian visas – contact us for up-to-date advice.