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If you have returned to New Zealand for less than 183 days after living or travelling overseas, leaving again for more than 31 days could mean that you do not meet the criteria to become interest-free. If you have an unexpected absence you may apply for your loan to be interest free from the date you originally returned.

You will need to have left New Zealand because of an unplanned absence that was out of your control. This could be illness or death of a family member overseas, or your employer needing you to travel overseas for a short period.

To apply, you need to have been a New Zealand tax resident when you had the unplanned absence.

You will need to send us a letter telling us why you needed to travel, and include evidence of this. If you had to leave New Zealand for work you will need to include a letter from your employer that states:

  • your name
  • your IRD number
  • the dates that you were required to be overseas for your job
  • confirmation that the reason you were overseas was for your job.

Tax residency

Apply to keep my student loan interest free