You’ll need a student visa if you want to study full time in New Zealand for more than 3 months.
When you need a student visa
Before you apply for a student visa, you must be accepted into a course with an approved educational provider.
Students who don’t need a visa
You don’t need a student visa to study full time if:
- you’re an NZ citizen or resident
- you’re an Australian citizen
- you have a permanent residence visa or a resident return visa for Australia — without conditions.
Full-time study is:
- for most tertiary institutions, at least 3 papers or equivalent, per semester
- attending primary or secondary school.
Full-time study at Private Training Establishments (PTEs)
Full-time study at a PTE is:
- a course that requires you to attend for at least 20 hours each week, or
- if the course is Level 7 or above on the New Zealand Qualification Framework, studying at least 3 papers, or equivalent, each semester.
Applying for a student visa
Before you apply for a student visa
There are requirements you need to meet before applying for your student visa. You must be accepted into an approved course and show you have enough money to live on while you’re in NZ.
What you need before you apply
To qualify for a student visa, you’ll need:
- to have been accepted into a course at an education institute approved by the Ministry of Education or NZQA
- money for your tuition fees, or proof that they’ll be covered by a scholarship
- proof you have enough money to live on while you’re in NZ
- a ticket out of NZ, or enough money to buy one.
Supporting yourself financially
To support yourself while you study in NZ, you need to show you have one of the following:
- NZD$1,250 for each month if your programme of study is less than 9 months
- NZD$15,000 for each year if your programme of study is longer than 9 months
- a scholarship, such as a New Zealand Aid Programme scholarship, or
- a sponsor or family member who’s agreed to accept financial responsibility for you while you’re in NZ.
Insurance and health
You’ll also need:
- approved medical and travel insurance, and
- to be healthy and of good character.
Contact your education provider to get help with arranging medical and travel insurance.
Students under 13
If you’re under 13, you need to have a parent or legal guardian with you while you’re here.
Fees for domestic and international students
Most people who come to NZ to study are classed as international students and need to pay full fees.
If you qualify as a domestic student, your fees are usually less — but you’ll still need a student visa. You’re considered a domestic student instead of an international student if, for example:
- you’re a PhD student who enrolled after April 2005
- you’re studying at primary or secondary school under a government-approved exchange programme
- you’re studying at primary or secondary school in NZ because your parent or legal guardian is here on a Work visa.
Character requirements for a student visa
You need to be of good character to study in New Zealand. If you want to come to NZ for more than 2 years, you’ll need to supply a police certificate.
You may not be allowed to come to New Zealand if you’ve committed a serious crime.
Check detailed information on character requirements here: http://glossary.immigration.govt.nz/Goodcharacter.htm
Documents you’ll need to supply
If you’re over 17 and you’ll be in NZ for more than 2 years, you’ll need to provide a police certificate from:
- your country of citizenship, and
- any country you’ve lived in for longer than 5 years since you turned 17.
Police certificates must be less than 6 months old when you lodge your application with Immigration NZ.
If you think you meet the requirements and you’ve collected your documents, you can usually apply online. Make sure you apply at least 6 weeks before you plan to come to NZ.
How to apply
You can apply online or fill out a paper form. If you apply online and supply all the information required, then you are likely to get a decision more quickly.
Applying for a visa online
Visas you can apply for using Immigration Online
You can apply for the following visas using Immigration Online:
- Individual Student
- Individual Work
- Individual Visitor
- Applying to extend your stay in New Zealand
- Applying on behalf of an individual for student, work or visitor visa.
You are unable to apply for the following visas:
- Groups (tour groups, sports teams etc.)
- Other categories.
- Check the supporting documents you need to provide with your application
- Create your Immigration ONLINE account
- Complete all relevant fields in the application as fully as you can
- Upload your documents and photo
- Pay the application fee with your credit card
- Submit the application
- An Immigration New Zealander officer will begin assessing your application
- A decision is made on your application and you are notified
- Your eVisa is issued, or a physical label is placed on your passport.
What you need to apply online
To complete an online application you will need:
- A valid credit card
- A computer and reliable internet connection
- A passport-style photo in jpeg format
- PDF copies of your important documents OR a scanner to make copies.
An eVisa is a visa issued without a physical label.
How to use Immigration Online
Information on how to answer questions, available languages and progressing through an online application.
Security and privacy
The security and privacy of your personal information is important to us. The system will allow information to be shared securely with other organisations online, subject to authorisation from users, who will also be able to review and update their own online data.
What to send with your application
You’ll need to provide:
- 2 colour passport photos
- all the required documents, and
- a passport that’s valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave NZ.
Documents you may need to send with your application include:
- medical certificates
- police certificates
- translations of any documents not in English
- the correct application fee.
How much visa applications cost and when to pay
This information is provided here:
Working while on a student visa
You can usually work up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full time over the holidays.
Who can work on a student visa
The visa in your passport will tell you if you can work, when and for how long.
You can usually work part time for up to 20 hours per week as long as your full-time study programme is:
- at least 2 years in duration, or
- at least 1 full academic year, if you’re studying in NZ on an approved tertiary exchange scheme.
You must also be studying on a programme that:
- leads to a New Zealand qualification that gives you points towards an application for a Skilled Migrant Category visa, or
- is an English language course that meets conditions approved by Immigration NZ, or
- is funded by a New Zealand Aid Programme scholarship and you’re studying under the:
- New Zealand Development Scholarship
- Commonwealth Scholarship
- New Zealand Pacific Scholarship, or
- New Zealand Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Scholars Award.
Hours you can work
Most NZ student visas let you work up to 20 hours a week during term-time and full time during holidays. Check your visa to confirm the hours you can work.
If you have to complete work experience as part of your training, this can be additional to your 20 hours a week.
Masters by research and PhD students can work as many hours as they like.
What you can’t do
International students aren’t allowed to be self-employed. You must work for an employer and have an employment agreement.
You can’t provide commercial sexual services. This means you can’t:
- work as a prostitute
- operate a New Zealand prostitution business
- invest in a prostitution business.
New Zealand Visa Types
- Visitor Visa to New Zealand
- Work Visa to New Zealand
- Visas for Partners & Children to New Zealand
- Study Visa to New Zealand
- Entrepreneur Visas to New Zealand
- Visas to Invest in New Zealand
- Citizenship Visa to New Zealand