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Student loans Ngā pūtea tarewa ākonga

Paying off your student loan when you're overseas

If you travel outside New Zealand for more than six months we don't base your repayments on your income. We base these on your student loan balance and charge interest to the balance owing.

Repayments you need to make each year

Each year you're away we'll work out your repayment amounts again. Your new repayment amounts will be available after 31 March.

We'll work out your minimum annual repayment obligation as at:

  • 31 March 2014 (if you're living overseas and left New Zealand on or before this date), or
  • your departure date.

You can make voluntary repayments anytime, but you must meet these instalment dates:

  • 30 September, and
  • 31 March.

Instalment date payments are usually 50% of your repayment obligation. This will only be different if you've made other arrangements with us.

Your repayment obligation stays the same if your loan balance decreases. But, if your balance increases your repayment obligation will increase.

You can check what you owe and when your repayments are due in your myIR Secure Online Services account.

How much you need to pay

The table below lets you know how much you need to pay depending on your loan balance.

When your loan balance is... 30 September 31 March
under $1,000 you need to pay your whole loan balance
$1,000 and up to $15,000
over $15,000 and up to $30,000
over $30,000 and up to $45,000
over $45,000 and up to $60,000
over $60,000

Depending on the size of your loan (over $90,000) your repayments might not be enough to cover your interest.

When you leave New Zealand during the tax year you might have:

  • a New Zealand-based, and
  • an overseas-based part-year repayment obligation.

Student loan repayment calculator

Use our Student loan repayment calculator to work out how:

  • much interest will be added to your loan, and
  • long it'll take to pay it off.

Missed payments

If you've missed payments we may charge late payment interest. If you're having difficulty repaying your loan contact us. We might be able to offer you some payment options. Talk to us if:

  • you haven't been making your repayments, and
  • the amount you are behind in paying is significant.

We may stop you leaving New Zealand next time you travel if this has happened.

Interest on student loans for overseas-based borrowers

When you leave New Zealand for at least six months your loan stops being interest-free. But, if you return to New Zealand for less than 32 days in total during this six months, these days will count as days spent overseas.

The current interest rate won't apply until you've been overseas for six months or more. The interest is then backdated to the day after you left New Zealand.

Find out more about student loan interest rates

Taking a repayment holiday

A repayment holiday lets you take a break from repaying your student loan for up to 12 months. Interest is still added to your loan during this time. You must apply for a repayment holiday:

  • before you go overseas, or
  • within six months of leaving New Zealand.

You can apply for a repayment holiday through your myIR Secure Online Services account.

Making payments from overseas

You can make payments from overseas using a money transfer service or credit and debit cards.

Money transfer services

Money transfer services help you set up smaller, regular payments. These payments will make it easier to meet your obligation and reduce your interest. Bank charges may apply so include them with your payment if needed.

Make a payment with our online money transfer services

Credit and debit card payments

You can make payments using your Mastercard or Visa. We'll waive the convenience fee for student loan payments made from overseas.

Make a credit and debit card payment

Setting up a nominated person for your student loan account

One of the best things you can do when you go overseas is set up a nominated person for your student loan account. Your nominated person can act on your behalf while you're away. If you have any questions, or need to make a change to your details, they can do it for you.

To set up a nominated person you can:

Returning to New Zealand to live

When you've been living back in New Zealand for at least six months, your loan will become interest-free again.

Let us know you're back in New Zealand and the date you returned through your myIR Secure Online Services account.

Any interest charged during these six months will be written off. During these six months you can leave the country for up to 31 days (in total) and still be eligible for interest-free payments.

Once you've returned you may have both an overseas-based and New Zealand-based part-year repayment obligation. This happens when you return during the tax year.