Your checklist for when you arrive in New Zealand

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We’re guessing your head is spinning with everything you have to remember for your emigration? It’s the packing list, the shipping list, the accounts-to-settle-list…and, and, and!

You probably haven’t even had a chance to think of what has to get done once you arrive in New Zealand.

Worry not – we’ve done the work for you. What you’ll find below are the four top priorities as soon as your feet are on New Zealand soil.

1. Get an IRD number

Your IRD number (Inland Revenue Department) is your tax number.

It’s important to apply for your IRD number before you start working. If you don’t have an IRD number when you get your first paycheck, you might pay more tax than you need to.

But how do you know if you should pay tax?

New Zealand Now advises that it’s every individual’s responsibility to find out if they’re liable for a personal income tax return. As a general guideline, New Zealand will consider you a ‘tax resident’ if:

  • You’ve been in New Zealand for more than 183 days in any 12-month period and haven’t become a non-resident, or
  • You have a permanent place of abode in New Zealand, or
  • You’re away from New Zealand in the service of the New Zealand government.

You can read more about personal income tax on the website of the Inland Revenue Department.

2. Find schools for your children

While early childhood education is optional for younger children, children between the ages of 6 and 16 must go to school in New Zealand.

When choosing where to send your children, your first choice will be the type of school. You can choose from:

  • State schools: Schools owned and funded by the government.
  • State-integrated schools: A former private school which has integrated into the state education system, becoming a state school while retaining its special character.
  • Private schools: Schools that charge set fees for a term or year.

Your second choice will be to which school to send your children. Schools in New Zealand are grouped into areas known as ‘zones’. Your children are guaranteed a spot in a school if you live within its zone. You can apply for admission to schools in other zones, but children living within the school’s zone will get the first choice.

It’s not all schools that have zones though. State-integrated schools, such as Montessori schools, and private schools generally do not have zoning restrictions.

You can read more about school zones on the Ministry of Education’s website.

3. Find a family doctor

The relationships we build with our family doctors are some of the most valued in our life. These GPs are our first port of call for information and care if one of our loved ones fall ill.

To find a family doctor in New Zealand, you can search on Healthpoint, which is New Zealand’s National Health Service Directory.

For information on New Zealand’s other health services, such as dentistry, you can turn to New Zealand Now. Here you’ll find in-depth information on each of New Zealand’s regions. Each region’s healthcare page also tells you where to find public and private hospitals.

Please note that you’ll have to enroll with your local Primary Health Organisation before seeing a doctor. You’ll also find the contact information for each region’s PHO on New Zealand Now.

4. Apply for a New Zealand driver’s licence

You’re allowed to drive on your overseas driver’s licence for the first 12 months of your stay in New Zealand. Thereafter, however, you must have a New Zealand driver’s licence.

You can convert your overseas driver’s licence to a New Zealand one. To do this, your licence:

  • Most not be suspended, disqualified or revoked in the country of issue, and
  • Must be either current or expired within the preceding 12 months.

Keep in mind that New Zealand licence classes are not exact matches to those that apply overseas. If your licence class has different specifications in New Zealand, it’s advisable to adhere to the New Zealand equivalents or to obtain a New Zealand driver’s licence right away.

There you have it – your four top priorities

We suggest that you bookmark this page for later. Then continue concentrating on getting your visas approved! If you need help with your visa applications, please feel free to contact us. Our licensed immigration advisors assist you from start to finish.

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