Opening a New Zealand bank account should be your primary priority

As an expat moving to New Zealand arranging your banking is important for a number of reasons

You need a bank account to work

If you are moving to NZ to work, you are required by law to have an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number. Without an IRD number your employer will deduct tax from your earnings at the highest tax rate.

The issuing of an IRD number in NZ is best facilitated online when you have provided Inland Revenue with proof of a fully functioning local bank account. This may be done by providing them with a copy of your local bank statement, showing proof of deposits and withdrawals from the account.

In addition, a local bank account is required in almost all cases to be paid your salary and earnings by your New Zealand employer.

It is therefore important to open a New Zealand Bank account promptly when moving to New Zealand.

Opening a bank account outside of New Zealand

The good news is you are able to open a bank account before you actually move to New Zealand.

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) allows you to open a bank account up to 12 months prior to your arrival into NZ, thus alleviating any delay in the process.

The procedure for opening an account is straightforward involving a simple online application with no fees or deposit required.

You simply submit an application at www.bnz.co.nz/movingtonz. Shortly afterwards, BNZ will provide you with notification that your application has been submitted and what steps you need to take next. All correspondence with the BNZ prior to your arrival is by email with the BNZ Migrant Banking Department.

Such emails will contain your account details, information on how to transfer funds into the account and what further steps you may need to take. You will need to inform the Bank of such details as your arrival date, visa category and your current tax identification number (such your National Insurance Number if you are from the UK or your Social Security Number if you are from the US).

Be aware of the conditions

While an account can be opened up to 12 months prior to arrival, you can only withdraw funds after your arrival into New Zealand provided you have attended the initial “activation” meeting with the Bank. At this meeting your bank account is activated for all operational purposes.

At the initial activation meeting, you are required to provide the bank with your passport (for identification purposes) and other documents which prove your home country address, such as your home country bank statements or utility accounts.

Joint accounts can be applied for but can only be activated if both you and the co-applicant attend the initial activation meeting after arrival into NZ.

Next Steps

When moving to NZ, particularly for work, you should act promptly in establishing a NZ bank account so as to facilitate the obtaining of an IRD number and payment of your salary and wages.

BNZ makes this process easy for you by enabling you to open a bank account before you move – just complete an application form at www.bnz.co.nz/movingtonz.

Any enquiries or questions in relation to setting up an account whilst overseas can be emailed to bnzmigrant.banking@bnz.co.nz and a reply will be made promptly.