Living in New Zealand

Official information British people moving to and living in New Zealand need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Before you go

See our travel advice for New Zealand for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Get a personalised task list to help you prepare for moving to New Zealand.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for New Zealand in our travel advice.

See live permanently in New Zealand: apply for a visa.

You can apply for a hospitality 18+ card, an alternative form of photo ID you can use to buy alcohol.


See our travel advice for New Zealand.

New Zealand and the UK have reciprocal healthcare agreements, which means you may be treated at no or reduced cost in some situations. However, you should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health has information on eligibility for publicly funded health services.

You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK.

The NHS has information for people moving abroad.

See list of doctors in New Zealand.

You should also check your prescriptions are legal in New Zealand. See bringing medicines into New Zealand.

Working in New Zealand

See apply for a New Zealand work visa.

You must check if you need to register in your occupation. If New Zealand requires you to register with a professional body, you will need to do this before they will grant your work visa.

You will need to apply for an IRD number before you can start work.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Depending on your personal circumstances, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority may need to assess your UK qualifications.


See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in New Zealand.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.


See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

See social security agreement with the United Kingdom for information on claiming pensions in New Zealand.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.


See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

You can only get most New Zealand benefits if you are a permanent resident or New Zealand citizen. Some benefits are available if you’ve held a work visa for more than 2 years. See social security agreement with the United Kingdom.

Driving in New Zealand

See driving abroad and road travel in New Zealand.

See taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Once you’ve been in New Zealand for more than 12 months, you can no longer use your UK driving licence. See how to convert to a New Zealand driving licence.


See voting when you’re abroad.

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.


See register a birth abroad.

You can order a New Zealand birth certificate.


See what to do after someone dies.

See also:

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

See how to apply for a New Zealand marriage licence.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).


See travelling with pets.


The main emergency number in New Zealand is 111 – see New Zealand emergency numbers.

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

See information about renting or buying property in New Zealand.

Other useful information


Returning to the UK

See British and Irish citizens – claiming benefits for information about the habitual residence test.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.


Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the New Zealand authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 18 December 2013
Last updated 14 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.

  2. Updated driving rules

  3. First published.