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Setting up a bank account from overseas
Sorting out your finances before you arrive can be simpler than you think. You can even set up a bank account up to a year before you arrive.
Check out the easy steps below.
A good idea is to setup an account before you arrive so you:
- don’t have to worry about finding sufficient identification, which can be difficult after you landed in New Zealand
- get paid in the first pay cycle of your new job by giving your employer a NZ account number in advance
- have money ready and waiting for you when you arrive by transferring money into your account through your FX specialist before you leave
- avoid paying unnecessary fees and charges by using your NZ account from day one
- start building your savings and credit history from day one
Step 1: Apply for a bank account
We can help make the whole process really easy and we’re only a call or email away. You will need to send us your completed application form at least 10 days before you arrive in New Zealand.
Apply online now
Fill out our migrant banking online application form and we’ll contact you via email within two working days.
Apply by post or email
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Give us a call
Remember, if you need any help give us a call on P. +64 9 348 9311 (or from NZ toll free number 0800 808 007).
Step 2: Transfer some money into your NZ account
Now that you’ve got your account set up, you can transfer up to the equivalent of NZD$1 million into your Westpac Bank account before you arrive. If you are applying under Immigration New Zealand's Investor Category, or if you wish to transfer more then NZD$1 million, please contact our Migrant & Expatriate Banking team.
If you are sending an International Money Transfer, here are the details your bank / FX specialist will need:
- bank name: Westpac Banking Corporation.
- branch name: We will supply this to you once your account is opened.
- account Name: Your full name (as it appears on your passport).
- account Number: We will supply this to you once your account is opened.
- BSB (Bank/State/Branch) code: We will supply this to you once your account is opened.
- SWIFT code: WPACNZ2W.
Conditions, fees, charges and foreign currency exchange rates apply. You’ll need to check with your current bank, financial institution or exchange dealer before your transfer.
You will not have full access to your Westpac account from overseas. You cannot make withdrawals until you arrive in New Zealand and your identification verification is complete or if coming from the UK you have completed your identification verification.
Please see 'activate your account' (on the next tab above) for more information.
There are two options for activating your account:
1. Activate your account when you arrive
Visit any Westpac branch in New Zealand within 180 days of submitting your application to open an account.
If you do this within six weeks of arriving in New Zealand, all you’ll need to show is your passport and New Zealand address for verification by Westpac. Any longer than 6 weeks, and you’ll need to provide at least 2 forms of identification click here for a list of acceptable verification documentation.
2. Activate your account from overseas
If you live in the UK, you can visit our Westpac London branch to complete your identity check (full contact details here)
If you do not live in the UK but do live in a common wealth country (Australia, Canada, etc.) you'll need to get your identity certified with your identification documents certified as ‘true and correct’. Any of the following people can do this:
- a Justice of the Peace / Notary Public
- a Consulate of New Zealand or Honorary Consulate of New Zealand
To complete the overseas identity check:
- download the Certified Copy Certificate form (PDF 525kb)
- present the form to an approved certifier or the Westpac London branch representative.
- your certifier or offshore Westpac representative will identify you by examining your identification documents.
- you will need to complete and sign Part A of the form in the presence of the certifier or offshore Westpac representative
- send the original copy of the completed form and the certified copies of the identification documents to:
Westpac UK Migrant Banking
23 Camomile Street London EC3A 7LL
- Your national identity card, issued by a foreign government, the United Nations or an agency of the United Nations, must contain your photograph and signature.
For any assistance with identifying yourself offshore, please contact us.
If your plans to move to New Zealand change
If you are no longer moving to New Zealand and your bank account is not fully activated such that you can withdraw funds, you can request the return of your funds* by following the steps below:
- write a letter to Westpac Migrant Banking
- attach a certified** copy of your identity documentation and immigration papers to your letter.
- send your letter and copy of your identity documentation and immigration papers to:
Westpac New Zealand Migrant Banking
PO Box 934
New Zealand 1140
* Please note that the return of the funds is at the absolute discretion of Westpac. If your request is accepted, your Westpac account will be closed and funds will be returned by telegraphic transfer to the bank account they were originally received from. A $25 telegraphic transfer charge will be deducted from your account balance. No credit interest will be earned on these funds.
**Click here for a list of acceptable verification documentation. Westpac's account opening criteria apply to all requests.
You can get a copy of our current disclosure statement for Westpac New Zealand Limited and a copy of the investment statement relating for any securities for which an investment statement is required from any Westpac branch in New Zealand free of charge.