Special Category Visa

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A Special Category Visa is a type of Australian visa granted to most New Zealand citizens on arrival in Australia. New Zealand Citizens may then reside in Australia temporarily under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.


The Special Category Visa was introduced on 1 September 1994 by the Migration Regulations 1994. It is known as a subclass 444 visa. Prior to 1 September 1994, New Zealanders were generally treated as exempt non citizens in Australia.

Most New Zealanders are eligible for a Special Category Visa (SCV) except:

  • those with significant health problems or criminal records
  • those who hold temporary or permanent Australian visas
  • those who arrive in Australia using another passport (e.g. if holding dual nationality). In this case an SCV can be obtained at a Department of Immigration office in Australia upon production of a valid New Zealand passport
  • those who arrive for specified purposes, such as diplomats and visiting forces, who are normally granted a special purpose visa.

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