If you are planning to head to New Zealand with a working holiday visa, there are a few things you’ll need to sort out that will make your life much easier! One of those is an IRD number, which is the equivalent of a National Insurance number for us Brits. You won’t be able to get a job until you sort this out. Similarly, you’re going to need a NZ bank account for your wages to be paid into. This is worth sorting out sooner rather than later or you’ll end up spending a fortune if you are withdrawing cash with an overseas card.
People often have a problem with registering for these two things due to proof of address, as you need this for both. Most of you will be travelling with no permanent address, so how do you get around this??
I’ll explain step by step what we did to get our bank account and IRD number quickly and easily!
BEFORE YOU GET TO NEW ZEALAND
You don’t actually have to do this part before you arrive in New Zealand, but we wanted to get our bank account up and running as soon as possible. By setting a few things up before we arrived, we were able to walk away with a bank card on day one. Pretty efficient!
We did a bit of research and decided that ANZ was the best bank for what we wanted. Speaking to others, it seems a popular choice with backpackers and those on a working holiday visa. In addition to the debit card (which can be used chip & pin or contactless), you get a migrant pack which includes a SIM card and a few discount vouchers.
1.) APPLY FOR AN ACCOUNT
If you head over to the ANZ website there is a green button saying ‘open an account’. Click on this and fill out the three pages with your details. We went for a ‘Go’ account which allows online banking, an online savings account and a contactless feature so you don’t have to put your pin in the machine.
A bit further down it asks ‘
On the last page, accept the Ts&Cs and submit! You’ll then receive an email from the bank, asking for a few more details. I had to let them know how long I intended to stay, plus send a copy of my passport and visa.
2.) ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT
Once you have sent off the extra information, you will receive an email confirming that your account has been opened. They will then advise you to make an appointment in whichever branch you’ll be nearest to when you land in NZ. They’ll also ask if you want the migrant pack – this is free, say yes! This is all done over email and we were able to set up an appointment for our first day. Although your account is set up at this point, it’s not verified until you go into branch. You will have all the account details at this point, so you can transfer money into it, you just won’t be able to take it out until the account is verified. To make life easier for the IRD number later on, it’s worth putting some money into the account.
3.) TRANSFER MONEY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT
If you want to put money into your account before you arrive, especially if your money is in another currency, the best thing to do is use a transfer company. I used TransferWise to transfer a few thousand English pounds into New Zealand dollars, with very little charges. It was very easy to use and the money was in my New Zealand account within 48 hours!
WHEN IN NEW ZEALAND
1.) VERIFY YOUR ACCOUNT
The only thing you need to do when you arrive is go along to your prearranged appointment. You will need to bring with you:
- Proof of address
- Proof of ID (passport)
- Copy of your visa
For the proof of address, we simply booked one night in a hotel (the night before our appointment) and asked them to print a receipt showing the address and dates. This was accepted as our NZ address. For the visa, just print off a copy of the immigration confirmation email.
The appointment takes around half an hour. They will set everything up for you in store, give you your migrant pack with the SIM card and help you set up the online banking app on your phone. After that, you are good to go! 🙂
It’s pretty tricky to sort this out before you get to New Zealand, and to be honest there isn’t much point. You’ll need your bank account set up first, so it makes sense to tackle the IRD number once you arrive. After you have your bank account sorted, head down to the nearest post office and grab a form from behind the counter.
You will need:
- One completed application form
- Photocopy of your passport – I asked nicely in the post office and as they weren’t too busy, they did it mine for free
- Copy of your visa
- Your Immigration NZ Visa Application number – You’ll find this on your visa approval letter
- Proof of your bank account – This needs to be a recent, stamped bank statement showing that money has gone in and out of the account. So, before you apply, make sure you put some money in your new account (if you haven’t already) and make a cash withdrawal. Afterwards, go into any ANZ bank and they can print off a statement and stamp it for you.
- Your Taxpayer’s Identification Number – You need to show proof if you have ever had a job and paid tax before in your home country. For us Brits, this is your National Insurance Number.
- Proof of address – We used our bank statement for this as well, which showed us to be registered to the address of the hostel we stayed in on the first night.
The guy we dealt with in the Post Office was very helpful. He reviewed all our documents and made sure we had everything we needed before he sent it off. It’s free to send off – they will put all the documents in the post for you. You can apply online, but I’d recommend applying in a Post Office as they can check the documents for you and make sure you have everything you need. There is a part of the application form which asks how best to contact you. We selected by phone and received a text confirming our IRD number around a week later.