NZ citizen HELP eligibility

The Australian Government has implemented changes to extend access to student HELP loans to eligible New Zealand citizens who have been long‑term residents of Australia since childhood.

From 1 January 2016 New Zealand citizens who are Special Category Visa (SCV) holders and meet the requisite criteria will be eligible for Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) assistance. This includes access to HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, SA-HELP and VET Student Loans. You must meet all of the required eligibility criteria in order to access a HELP loan.


New Zealand citizen Special Category Visa holders will be eligible for HELP assistance providing they meet all of the long-term residency requirements. You must have:

  • first entered Australia as a dependent child under 18 years of age and at that time you did not have a spouse or de facto partner; and
  • first started to be generally living and resident in Australia at least 10 years before you apply; and
  • been resident in Australia for at least:
    • total of 8 out of the past 10 years immediately before applying; and
    • total of 18 months out of the past two years immediately before applying; and
  • be otherwise eligible for a HELP loan.

If you do not meet the above requirements or hold a permanent resident visa (excluding a permanent humanitarian visa) you are not eligible for HELP assistance. You will continue to be offered a Commonwealth Supported Place and must make full upfront payment of your student contribution amount by each semester census date.

Procedure for current and future students

It will be assumed that all current and future students who are New Zealand citizens do not hold a Special Category Visa or do not meet the other eligibility criteria. If you are a New Zealand citizen, holder of a Special Category Visa and believe you meet all of the HELP eligibility criteria you must provide evidence of the following:

  • New Zealand citizenship
  • Special Category Visa
  • arrival in Australia as a dependent minor
  • presence in Australia for at least eight of the previous 10 years at the time of HELP application
  • presence in Australia for at least 18 months out of the last two years at the time of HELP application.

Required documents

The following documents, certified true and correct, must be used to establish eligibility for HELP:

1. Proof of New Zealand citizenship and SCV status:

  • New Zealand passport
  • International movement record

2. Proof you have resided (been physically present) in Australia for at least the last 8 years. Examples of proof include:

  • certificate of application for a Tax File Number, Tax File Number advice or notification of assessment of income tax dated from when you were a minor
  • pay slips or payment summaries from when you were a minor
  • stamped passport
  • Australian student ID card or concession card
  • Australian proof of age card from when you were a minor
  • enrolment papers from when you were a minor
  • school reports or certificates.

Submit your documents

Submit your supporting documentation via the Enquiry and Application portal.

  1. Log in to the Enquiry and Application Portal using your student email address, student ID and password.
  2. Select 'Category' Program and Enrolment.
  3. In ‘Sub category’ click the blue 'Toggle filter' button on the top left, then select ‘Citizenship Request’.
  4. Briefly tell us about your question, ie. ‘Update my HELP eligibility’.
  5. Click 'Submit your question'.
  6. Attach the documents outlined above as evidence of your HELP eligibility. All documents must be certified.

Access HELP

Once you have uploaded your documents, they’ll be reviewed to determine your eligibility. You will be informed of the outcome via your student email.

If your eligibility is confirmed, you'll need to complete an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). A passkey for HECS-HELP and SA-HELP will be sent to your personal email address. You can find instructions on completing your eCAF here.

Important notes

If you are, or become, an Australian permanent resident, you will not be eligible for HELP assistance.

An otherwise eligible New Zealand citizen who ceases to reside in Australia will also immediately cease to be eligible for HELP assistance as the Special Category Visa only applies if you are resident in Australia. You must advise us immediately if you cease to reside in Australia. It is your responsibility to keep your contact details up to date at all times.

If you are a New Zealand citizen who becomes a Permanent Resident of Australia you must notify us immediately. A permanent resident does not hold a Special Category Visa and is not eligible for HELP assistance.

Further information and assistance

If you are unsure whether you are a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder, you can check this on the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. You can also check with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). If necessary, you can also obtain copies of your international movement records from DHA by lodging a Request for International movement records form.

For further information relating to New Zealand citizens please visit StudyAssist.