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.

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 or permit, then you do not need to get a student visa or permit to study. If your course is due to take three months or longer to complete, you will need a student visa.

Is there an age limit?

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

Can I get a student visa if I’ve already used my NZ working holiday visa? 

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

Can I work on a student visa?

Yes, 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 and the holidays. 

How much does it cost to apply?

Student visa applications made from the UK currently cost NZ$330 if you apply online. If you want to submit a paper application, the charge is £173, plus a processing fee of £19. Fees are subject to change, so always check with INZ at www.immigration.govt.nz before making your application. 

How do I apply?

You can submit your application using the INZ online form, at www.immigration.govt.nz. This is the preferred method of applying. Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form, which is also available from the INZ website. Hard copy applications must be lodged at the New Zealand Visa Application Centre in London. You can make your application by post or in person at the New Zealand Visa Application Centre, 66 Wilson Street, London, EC2A 2BT. 

How long does it take to process?

Immigration New Zealand recommend that you allow around four weeks (20 working days) for processing for student visa applications submitted online, and between five and six weeks for applications submitted as hard copy. Processing can take up to three months during busy periods, however, so it is important to apply as soon as possible. 

Will I need to provide any character documents? 

All applicants for New Zealand visas need to be of good character. This generally means that you have no criminal convictions. If you do have convictions or if you intend on remaining 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 an 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 visa application form (INZ 1012) or the online student visa guide checklist specifically prompts you to do so. If INZ needs a medical or chest x-ray during assessment, a visa officer will be in touch to request this directly. 

Can I take my partner with me?

It is not possible to add your partner to your student visa as a dependant. They will need to apply for their own visa to be in New Zealand if they wish to work or study. They have the option of applying for a Partner of a Student Work Visa, provided that you (as the student) are either:

i) Studying towards a Level 7 or 8 qualification on the Immigration New Zealand Long Term Skill Shortage List, or

ii) Studying toward a Level 9 or 10 qualification (masters or PhD)

If your course of study does not fall into either of these categories, 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 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 travel to and enter New Zealand. 

How long will my visa last?

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

All information is correct at the time of going to press but is subject to change. Check Immigration New Zealand’s website for the latest information, at www.immigration.govt.nz 

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