Tell us if you’re going overseas
If you're receiving financial assistance from us, you need to tell us if you're leaving the country.
No matter what benefit you receive, you must let Work and Income know your travel plans and your reasons for travel before you leave New Zealand.
Why you need to tell us you're travelling overseas
Before travelling overseas
Partners travelling must also let us know.
Work and Income will automatically stop payments for the following benefits from the day after you leave New Zealand, unless you’ve told us before you go and we’ve agreed that there are approved reasons that mean your payments can continue:
- Jobseeker Support (including Jobseeker Support - Student Hardship)
- Sole Parent Support with work obligations or a specific work preparation activity
- Supported Living Payment with a specific work preparation activity
- Emergency Benefit and Emergency Maintenance Allowance
- Youth Payment
- Young Parent Payment
- Partners with youth activity obligations, work obligations or work preparation obligations with activities
Some beneficiaries can travel overseas for a limited time (up to 28 days in a 52 week period) before their payment is affected. You must still tell Work and income before you leave or your benefit will stop. This includes those on:
- Sole Parent Support who have no work obligations or outstanding work preparation requirements
- Supported Living Payment who have no outstanding work preparation requirements
- Partners of those on Jobseeker Support or Supported Living Payment who have no work obligations or no outstanding work preparation requirements
Payment of your benefit while overseas is now limited to 28 days in a 52 week period unless you:
- have special approval to be paid for longer
- are a beneficiary who competes in the Special Olympics and Paralympics (up to six weeks), or requires specific vocational and disability assistance dog training (up to two years).
All beneficiaries can travel overseas and continue to receive a benefit for certain medical treatments that are supported by the Ministry of Health or the District Health Board. Evidence is required.
If your benefit hasn’t started yet
If you told us about your overseas travel before your benefit started you will need to contact us to see if you can or can’t receive your benefit payments while overseas once your benefit has commenced.
Young people with Youth Service
If you are receiving Youth Payment, Young Parent Payment or are a young partner (aged 16-18 years) on benefit with youth activity obligations, you must talk to your Youth Service provider before travelling overseas.
Change of reason for your travel or change of dates
If your reason for travel or the dates you’re travelling change you must tell us immediately. Any changes to your travel may affect any payments you receive while overseas and may affect whether you can or can’t now receive payments while overseas.
You must tell us about any changes to your travel either before you leave or while you are still overseas. If you wait until you return to New Zealand it is too late.
Changes in your circumstances
You must tell us about any changes in your circumstances as they may affect whether you can or can’t get benefit payments while you are overseas.
These changes could be but are not limited to:
- any changes to your family situation eg youngest child leaves home
- changes to your benefit. If you told us about your travel before your benefit changed, you need to check with us to see if you can or can’t get payments while overseas on your new benefit.
Overseas travel you need to tell us
Leaving New Zealand permanently
Living overseas permanently usually means moving to another country permanently or spending more time overseas than in New Zealand. Sometimes a short time away can also be counted as ‘living overseas’. Before you leave New Zealand make sure you discuss your plans with Work and Income.
Job interview or definite job prospect
A definite job prospect is where there is a strong possibility you might be offered a job. To be considered a definite job prospect you must have arranged to meet an employer or a recruitment agent.
For example, you are contacted by an employer and are told that there is a job available. The employer may suggest that you spend a few days at the business premises to see what the role is.
Travelling overseas for a general job search is not a definite job prospect.
Essential travel is travel relating to an important event for a family member or a person like a family member, that you would reasonably be expected to attend (for example, visit a person who is seriously ill, seriously injured or whose death is imminent, attend a funeral, attend a wedding, attend a birth, provide support to a party or witness to a court case, travel for a court ordered custody arrangement).
For example, going overseas on holiday.
Special Olympics travel
If you are a beneficiary with a disability you can travel overseas to compete in any overseas multinational or international Special Olympic or Paralympic Games competition and continue to receive your benefit for up to six weeks. Evidence of this must be provided to Work and Income.
Vocational training or Disability Assistance service dog training travel
If you are a beneficiary with a disability you can travel overseas to receive vocational training or disability assistance-dog training not available in New Zealand and continue to receive your benefit for up to two years. Evidence of this must be provided to Work and Income.
If you need to travel overseas for medical treatment that is not available in New Zealand and this treatment is supported by the Ministry of Health or the District Health board, you can continue to receive your benefit for up to two years. Evidence of this must be provided to Work and Income.