Applying from overseas

Applying from overseas

Opening a NZ bank account from overseas

When you’re moving countries, you’ll have plenty of administrative tasks to sort out. One of them is opening bank accounts, but thankfully you can start the process from overseas. It means you can start building your savings and creating a credit history before you even set off for your new home here in New Zealand.

Let’s take a look at what you need to open a NZ bank account.

What documents will I need?

NZ’s anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) laws mean banks must collect certain identification documentation from you when opening accounts. These may include:

  • A certified copy of your passport
  • A certified copy of your entry visa
  • Proof of address (some banks require this to be certified as well). You could use an insurance policy document, utility bill or any government agency correspondence
  • Translation of the documents above into English (if applicable)

In some cases, the bank may ask you for additional information. If you’re wanting to open the account for a trust for instance, they’ll need additional documents around the trustees and beneficiaries of that trust.

How do I get my passport and documents certified?

Documents can be certified by a practicing lawyer or notary public, judge or commonwealth representative.

What is the process to open a bank account?

This process is fairly straightforward. Go to your chosen bank’s website and complete their overseas account opening forms. We’ve linked the account opening pages for NZ’s 5 major banks in our Useful Links section below.

Normally you can submit your documentation directly on the online form. You’ll also be given an email address as another option to submit your identification documents. It should take 2 – 3 business days (Monday – Friday, not including public holidays) to open an account for you.

When should I open an account?

Exact timings vary, but in most cases, you can only open the account within 90 days of your planned arrival. You’ll need to visit the bank branch to complete the verification process when you arrive.

When can I start using the account?

Because of AML/CFT requirements, your chosen bank will need to identify and verify you before giving you full access to your new bank accounts.

Although you can deposit money into the account after it’s been set up, you’ll need to go into a bank branch once you arrive in NZ to complete the verification process before you’ll be provided with full access.