Residence descriptions

You usually need to be an Australian resident to get a payment from us. This page explains how we define an Australian resident.

Australian resident

You’re an Australian resident if you live in Australia and are either:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent residence visa holder
  • a protected Special Category visa (SCV) holder.

Living in Australia

Living in Australia means Australia is your usual place of residence.

Australia includes:

  • the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • the Territory of Christmas Island
  • Norfolk Island
  • Lord Howe Island.

How we decide

When we're deciding whether you live in Australia, we’ll look at:

  • where you live and who you live with
  • if you have family in Australia or overseas
  • your employment, business or financial ties in Australia and overseas
  • your assets in Australia and overseas
  • how often and how long you travel outside Australia
  • anything else we think is relevant.

Permanent residence visa holder

A permanent residence visa allows you to stay in Australia indefinitely. The Department of Home Affairs issue and administer all Australian visas.

Special Category visa (SCV) holder

Australia’s immigration authorities generally issue you with a SCV if you arrive in Australia on a New Zealand passport. They usually issue this upon your arrival. The type of SCV you get depends on when you arrived in Australia.

Non-protected SCV holder

If you're a New Zealand citizen who arrived in Australia after 26 February 2001, you’re generally a non-protected SCV holder. This means you are not an Australian resident for social security purposes.

Read more about New Zealand citizens claiming payments in Australia.

Protected SCV holder

We generally consider you a protected SCV holder if you arrived in Australia on a New Zealand passport and were either:

  • in Australia on 26 February 2001
  • in Australia for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before this date
  • assessed as a protected SCV holder before 26 February 2004.

If you meet these rules and also live in Australia, you’re an Australian resident for social security purposes.

New Zealand citizens on Norfolk Island

You’re generally a protected SCV holder if you’re a New Zealand citizen who was either:

  • on Norfolk Island on 26 February 2001
  • in Australia including Norfolk Island, for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before this date.

If you meet these rules and also live in Australia, you’re an Australian resident for social security purposes.

Family member

We may need to do a family member assessment to decide if you have either:

The definition of a family member differs depending on the reason for the assessment.

Newly arrived resident’s waiting period exemption

When we assess a newly arrived resident’s waiting period exemption, a person is a family member if they’re either your:

  • partner
  • dependent child.

Approved reason for payment overseas

For the purposes of assessing an approved reason for payment overseas, a person is a family member if they’re:

  • your partner
  • your sibling
  • your parent
  • your dependent child
  • equivalent to one of these roles – as considered by us.

Temporary protection type visas

You may be exempt from being an Australian resident, for limited payments and concessions. This is if you hold a temporary protection type visa including:

  • subclass 060 - Bridging visa F
  • subclass 070 - Bridging (Removal Pending)
  • subclass 449 - Humanitarian Stay
  • subclass 785 - Temporary Protection
  • subclass 786 - Temporary (Humanitarian Concern)
  • subclass 790 - Safe Haven Enterprise.

If you’re outside Australia

We can’t usually pay you your payment if you’re outside Australia.

What may be different

If you hold a visa subclass 785 or 790, we may be able to pay your payment if you’re outside Australia, if you have an approved reason.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Partner provisional visas

You may be exempt from being an Australian resident, for limited payments and concessions. This is if you hold a partner provisional visa including both:

  • subclass 820 - Partner visa (temporary)
  • subclass 309 - Partner visa (provisional).

If you’re outside Australia

If you hold one of the above partner provisional visas, we may be able to pay you if you’re outside Australia. This is if you have an approved reason.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Page last updated: 13 September 2019

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