Skilled Independent (subclass 189) (New Zealand) stream


Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) (New Zealand) stream is for New Zealand Special Category (subclass 444) visa (SCV) holders who have shown a commitment and contribution to Australia to apply for permanent residence.

New Zealand citizens who are granted this permanent visa will be eligible to apply for Australian citizenship after 12 months (in addition to holding a SCV for a period of five consecutive years).

If you are not a New Zealand citizen you may be eligible to apply for the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) (Points-tested) stream.

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You must:

  • hold a Special Category (subclass 444) visa.
  • have been usually resident in Australia continuously for five years
  • have started residency in Australia on or before 19 February 2016
  • have a taxable income at or above an income threshold for each of the four completed income years prior to lodging an application (unless claiming an exemption)

Length of stay



From AUD 3,750

Learn about...


Processing time

75 per cent of applications processed90 per cent of applications processed
14 months 14 months

Last updated 17 October 2018 (for month ending 30 September 2018)

Processing times vary.

For more information read Global visa and citizenship processing times.



There is no age requirement for this stream

Visa Status

You must hold a Special Category Visa (subclass 444) (SCV).

Your family members may hold any visa


You must have been usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of five years immediately prior to application, and have commenced that period of usual residence on or before 19 February 2016


You must have a taxable income at or above an income threshold for each income year in the four years prior to lodging an application (unless claiming an exemption).


You must meet our health requirement. Health examinations can be arranged before or after lodging your visa application.


You must be of good character.


You must have repaid, or have arranged to repay, any outstanding debts to the Australian government.

The visa

What you can do

This is a permanent visa. It lets you:


From AUD3750

You might have to pay additional costs.

There are two visa application charge instalments

You must pay the first instalment for yourself and each member of your family unit included in your application at the time you lodge your application. The first instalment is 20 per cent of the total visa application charge.

You must pay the second instalment for yourself and each family member for your family unit include in your application before your visa is granted. The second instalment is 80 per cent of the total visa application charge.

These charges must be paid before a visa can be granted.

Use the Visa pricing estimator to estimate the cost of your application.

Visa pricing estimator

Note: The estimator does not calculate additional costs.


You must be in Australia when you apply for the visa.

How long the visa lasts

This is a permanent visa – it lasts indefinitely.

The visa starts on the date it is granted.


You can include your partner and your or your partner’s child or step-child in your application.

Family members who are granted the visa have the same rights and can do the same things as you.

More information about adding family members

Your obligations

You and your family members must comply with Australian laws and your visa conditions.

You can find your visa conditions in VEVO.


You can travel in and out of Australia as many times as you want for five years from the date the visa is granted.

Follow these steps

  1. Before you apply

    Your passport

    Make sure you hold a valid passport.

    You need a valid passport or other travel document for this visa. If you plan to get a new passport, you should do so before applying for your visa. If you get a new passport after you have lodged your application, give the details of your new passport to one of our offices.

    You might be able to update your passport details using ImmiAccount.

  2. Gather your documents

    Prepare your documents

    You need to provide documents to prove the claims you make in the application.

    You should have them ready when you lodge the application to reduce any delays in processing

    • All Notices of Assessment must have the Tax File Number removed or obscured before they are provided to the Department
    • All non-English documents must be translated into English
    • Scan all documents (English and non-English documents) in colour in readiness to attach to your visa application.
    • Your documents do not have to be certified.
    • When you apply for the visa, send a document only once, even if you are using it as evidence for more than one criterion.
    • Information about attaching documents is available.
  3. Organise health checks

    You will need a HAP ID for yourself and everyone in your application

    You must provide the clinic with a health case identifier (HAP ID) to book the appointment to complete your health examinations

    We prefer that you and your family members have health checks before you apply for the visa.

    You will pay a fee for the checks and the results are valid for one year. If you undertake a health check before you apply and it takes longer than a year to process your application, you must undertake, and pay for, the checks again.

    Undertaking health checks after you lodge your application may cause processing delays.

    Find out the checks you need

    You can find out the checks you and your family members need through our online system ImmiAccount.

    If you don’t have an ImmiAccount, you need to create one.

    Create an ImmiAccount

    If you already have an ImmiAccount, log into it.

    Log into ImmiAccount

    When you are in your ImmiAccount, create a New application and then select Health, then select My Health Declarations.

    After completing My Health Declarations, click on the 'health assessment' link to organise your health examinations. You will be directed to the online system eMedical Client where you will answer questions about your medical history and receive advice regarding health checks.

    More information

    There is more information about My Health Declarations.

    There is more information about our health requirement.

  4. Organise police checks

    Police checks

    If you or your family members are over the age of 16 and have lived in Australia or a country overseas for a total of one year or more in the last 10 years, you must get a police certificate from that country.

    The certificate must cover the period of time from the issue date back to the age you ceased to be a minor, or must cover the whole time you were in a country.

    For immigration purposes a police certificate is deemed to be valid for 12 months from the issue date.

    For instructions on obtaining a certificate from an overseas government or law enforcement authority, refer to the relevant country information.

    If you are required to provide an Australian police clearance certificate because you have spent more than 12 months in Australia within the last 10 years, you must complete the Australian Federal Police (AFP) National Police Check application form, which is available from the AFP website, AFP National Police Checks.

    For instructions on obtaining a certificate see Character and police certificate requirements.

  5. Apply

    Apply for the visa online

    You must be in Australia when you apply for the visa.

    Before you start your application, learn:

    Start your application

    If you don’t have an ImmiAccount, you need to create one.

    Create an ImmiAccount

    If you already have an ImmiAccount, log into it.

    Log into ImmiAccount

  6. After you apply

    Current Australian visa expires

    Your SCV will remain in effect until your visa is finalised.

    As you applied in Australia, you and your family were also granted a bridging visa when you lodged your application. The bridging visa will come into effect only if your current visa expires. A bridging visa lets you stay in Australia while your subclass 189 visa application is being processed.

    If you held a Bridging visa A (BVA), Bridging visa B (BVB) or Bridging visa C (BVC) which was in effect when you lodged your application, you were granted a BVC.

    If you held a visa that was not a bridging visa when you lodged your application, you were granted a BVA.

    Learn about travel outside Australia as a holder of a bridging visa.

    More information is available about bridging visas.


    You do not have to tell us if you want to travel outside Australia while your visa is being processed. This is because you do not have to be in Australia when the visa is decided.

    SCV Holders

    The SCV is valid from time of grant (usually on arrival to Australia) to time of departure from Australia, so long as you remain a New Zealand citizen while you are the holder of the visa. The validity of a SCV ceases when you leave Australia. You need to apply for a new SCV each time you arrive in Australia.

    If you are seeking to apply for and be granted a SCV on arrival to Australia you must, on every arrival to Australia, meet the eligibility criteria to be granted this visa.

    Bridging visa holders

    Only holders of a BVB can return to Australia if they leave.

    Holders of a BVA should apply for and be granted a BVB before they depart Australia. You cannot apply for a BVB outside Australia.

    Holders of a BVC are not eligible for a BVB.

    Provide biometrics

    You might need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photo). We will let you know if you need to provide them.

    Get health checks

    If you did not have health checks before you applied, you must have them when we tell you to.

    More information is available about our health requirement.

    Send more information or documents

    If you did not include all relevant documents when you applied, attach them to your ImmiAccount as soon as you can.

    If we ask for the documents, you will usually have 28 days to provide them. Generally, we will not continue to process your application or respond to email enquiries during this 28 day period.

    Pay the second instalment if applicable

    We will send you an invoice for the second instalment after you have met all other requirements for the visa.

    Please do not ask for the invoice.

    Add family members

    You can add a partner or dependent child to your application any time before we make a decision on your visa. Attach evidence of your relationship and the family member’s passport to your ImmiAccount.

    You will also need to complete and send Form 1436 – Adding an additional applicant after lodgement (363KB PDF).

    Newborn children

    If your child is born after you lodge your application but before a decision is made, attach to your ImmiAccount:

    When we receive the form and birth certificate:

    • the child will be added to your visa application
    • we will request a health check for the child
    • if the child was born in Australia, they will automatically be granted the same visa you held at the time of their birth.

    If you are eligible for grant of the visa, we will need a copy of your child’s passport before decision.

    There is no fee to add a newborn child to your application.

    Tell us of changes

      You need to tell us if:
    • there are any changes to your circumstances, for example change of address, telephone number or birth of a child
    • you made a mistake on your application
    • you need to provide more information
    • you want to withdraw your application.

    Detailed information about updating is available at the Tell us of Changes tab.

Tell us of changes

Changes to your circumstances

Tell us if there are changes to your circumstances after you lodge your application but before a decision is made.

Changes in circumstances include, but are not limited to:

You can update your contact details and passport number through your ImmiAccount.

Mistakes on your visa application

Tell us if there are any mistakes in your application.

Complete Form 1023 – Notification of incorrect answer(s) (242KB PDF).

Send more information

If you did not send all documents with your application, send them through your ImmiAccount as soon as you can.

We might also ask you to provide more information, which can be provided to us through your ImmiAccount.

Withdraw your visa application

You can withdraw your visa application at any time before we make a decision.

Complete Form 1446 – Withdrawal of a visa application (337KB PDF) and attach it to your ImmiAccount.

Removing your application from ImmiAccount does not withdraw it.

Estimate the cost of your visa

* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator might not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.