Student Visas for New Zealand

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 college, 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 for three months or longer, you will need a student visa.

Is there an age limit?

There are no age limits on 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 New Zealand student visa and working holiday visa schemes are completely separate from one another.

Can I work on a student visa?

Once you are in New Zealand you can apply for a Variation of Conditions to your student permit, which will allow you to work up to 20 hours a week in the academic year and in the holidays.

How much does the visa cost?

Student visa applications from the UK currently cost £135, plus a service fee of £24 per application.. Fees are subject to change, so please check the Immigration New Zealand website before making your application.

How long does a visa take to get?

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) recommends that you allow four to six weeks for student visa processing.

How long will my visa last?

The visa is valid for the duration of the course if it is up to 12 months long, or for the academic year for courses that are longer than a year.

How soon can I arrive in New Zealand, once I get my visa?

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

How do I apply?

You need to obtain an Application To Study In New Zealand form, available from Immigration New Zealand, or from Study Options. You will need to follow the instructions on how to make an application at the front of the form. The application should be lodged at the Visa Application Centre, run by TT Visa Services. You can make your application via Study Options, by post, or in person at the public counter. TT Visa Services is located at Mimet House, 5A Praed Street, London W2 1NJ.

What do I need to apply?

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

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

Will I need to provide any character documents?

All applicants for New Zealand visas need to be of good character. This generally means you have no criminal convictions. If you have convictions or 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 any health documents?

You must have an ‘acceptable standard of health’ (ASH). In order for INZ to determine 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 a medical certificate 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 the assessment process, 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 can apply for a work visa as a 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 towards a postgraduate qualification.

If your course does not fall into either of the categories above, 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.

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 visas, visit the Immigration New Zealand website.

What are my obligations?

If you study in New Zealand you must hold comprehensive health insurance for the duration of your stay, as only residents and holders of two year or more 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 further permit to remain in or a visa to travel to the country in the future.

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