New Zealand student visas

Anyone enrolling as an international student on a course of study lasting three months or more in New Zealand must apply for a student visa.

Please note that in order to apply for a student visa for New Zealand, you must have an unconditional offer of place at a university, accepted that place in writing and paid the required tuition fee deposit. It is therefore one of the last parts of the process.

All information about student visas is correct at the time of publication but is subject to change. Please check Immigration New Zealand’s website for the most up-to-date information, at www.immigration.govt.nz

What visa will I need to study?

If the course you want to study is no more than three months long, and you hold an NZ visitor’s visa, then you do not need a student visa. If your course will take three months or longer to complete, you will need to apply for a student visa.

Is there an age limit?

There are no age limits to getting a student visa in New Zealand.

Can I still get a student visa if I’ve already used my working holiday visa for New Zealand?

Yes. The student visa and working holiday visa schemes are separate from one another.

Can I work on a student visa?

Usually, yes. Once you are in New Zealand you can apply for a Variation of Conditions to your visa, which will allow you to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and in the holidays. 

Have a look at the page "Working on a New Zealand Student Visa" for more information.

How much does the visa cost?

Student visa applications made from the UK currently cost NZ$270 if you apply online. If you want to submit a paper application, the charge is £170, plus a processing fee of £18. Fees are subject to annual review, so please check www.immigration.govt.nz  before making your application.

How do I apply?

You can submit your application using the online form, available at www.immigration.govt.nz. Alternatively, you can complete a paper application, which is also available from the INZ website or from Study Options (please request a copy at mail@studyoptions.com). Follow the instructions at the front carefully. Paper applications should be lodged at the New Zealand Visa Application Centre. You can make your application by post or in person at the New Zealand Visa Application Centre, 66 Wilson Street, London, EC2A 2BT. 

Will I need to provide any character documents?

All applicants for New Zealand visas need to be of good character. This generally means you should have no criminal convictions. If you have convictions or if you intend to remain in New Zealand for more than 24 months you will need to provide police clearances from each country for which you have citizenship. You will also need to provide police clearances for every country you have lived in for five years or more since you turned 17.

Will I need to provide health documents?

In order to be eligible for a visa for New Zealand you must have an ‘acceptable standard of health’. In order for INZ to check this you may be asked to provide a medical and/or x-ray certificate. As an international fee-paying student, however, you do not need to provide any medical documents at the point of application unless the student visa application form (INZ 1012) or the student visa guide (INZ 1013) specifically indicates that you should. If INZ requires a medical or chest x-ray during assessment, a visa officer will be in touch to request this from you directly. 

Can I take my partner with me?

It is not possible to add your partner to your student visa as a dependant. Your partner will need to apply for their own visa to be in New Zealand if he or she wishes to work or study.They have the option of applying for a work visa as the partner of a student who is either: 

i) Studying for a qualification in an area of absolute skill shortage, as specified in the Long Term Skill Shortage List,

or ii) studying for a postgraduate qualification

If your course does not fall into either category, your partner will need to apply to be in New Zealand of their own accord, for example under the Working Holiday Scheme, the Essential Skills Visa or the Skilled Migrant Category.

How long does it take to get?

Immigration New Zealand advises you allow up to a maximum of seven weeks (35 working days) for processing for student visa applications. Processing is, however, often quicker if your application is straightforward.

How soon can I travel to New Zealand once I get my visa?

The visa is valid immediately upon issuing, so once you have your visa you can use it to enter New Zealand. 

How long will my visa last?

The visa is valid for the duration of your course if the course is up to 12 months long, or for approximately 12 months for courses that are longer than a year (you will then be required to renew your visa through the International Student Office of your chosen university after this initial 12 month period if your course lasts longer than a year). 

Can I apply for another visa when my course finishes?

Yes. If you meet policy, you may apply for residence or for another temporary permit. For information about other visa options, please visit www.immigration.govt.nz.

What are my obligations?

You must hold comprehensive health insurance for the duration of your stay, as only residents and holders of two year or longer work permits are eligible for publicly funded health and disability services. You also have a legal obligation to be in New Zealand on a valid permit at all times. If you fail to remain in New Zealand lawfully you may be declined a permit to remain in or a visa to travel to the country in the future.

What do I need to apply?

The full requirements are listed at the front of the Application To Study In New Zealand form but an outline list of documents is as follows:

  • A valid passport
  • A completed application form
  • The application fee
  • Two recent passport-sized photos    
  • An unconditional offer of place to study at a university in New Zealand
  • Receipt showing payment of one year’s tuition fees (provided that your visa application has been approved in principle)    
  • Guarantee of accommodation
  • Evidence of sufficient funds for maintenance, via a letter or bank statement, or completed Financial Undertaking form (INZ 1014)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to purchase an outward ticket.
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