Visa to Study
If you’re planning to study here full time for more than three months you’ll need a student visa.
Student visa requirements include:
- an offer of place from an educational institution approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
- a written guarantee from an institution or person that suitable accommodation is available to you in New Zealand (if you're under 18 years)
- evidence of sufficient funds to live on while you are studying
- a return air ticket to your country, or evidence of sufficient funds to buy one.
If you’re spending six months or more here in New Zealand you may need to be screened for tuberculosis.
If you’re over 17 and intending to be in New Zealand for over two years, a police certificate will be required to show that you are of good character.
If your course is three months or less, you don’t need a student visa: just a visitor visa.
If you have been offered a place in an approved exchange scheme you can apply for a student visa for the duration of your exchange, provided you meet NZ’s health and character requirements and are a genuine exchange participant. If you’re coming on a working holiday scheme you can do one or more courses of study as long as their total duration doesn’t exceed six months.
This is just a summary. You should make sure you get the full details at Immigration New Zealand. You may also be able to apply for your student visa online.
Most importantly, you must tell the school if your visa status changes.
Working after study
If your long-term plan is to work here and become a New Zealand resident, then you'll need to know about NZ’s requirements to work after study. It's good to have these in mind when deciding what course to enrol in so you gain a qualification that's needed and valued by New Zealand employers.
Visas for school children
Dependent children of temporary work visa holders also need a student visa. This entitles them to attend New Zealand primary and secondary schools as domestic students. To avoid delays it is strongly recommended that you apply for this visa from your home country. Without a student visa, they can only attend school for two weeks as a domestic student or for three months as a fee-paying international student.
Getting immigration advice
If you wish to apply for a New Zealand visa there are three main ways to do this:
1. Complete the application form yourself
You can choose the visa you need using the Visa Options Check and complete the application form yourself with the information provided by Immigration New Zealand.
Each visa type has an application form and accompanying guide. We recommend you read the guide before attempting to complete the application form.
Don’t worry if you get stuck along the way; you can contact Immigration New Zealand for help.
2. Engage a licensed immigration adviser
You can engage a licensed immigration adviser to assist you with your visa application but they must have a current licence.
A person who provides New Zealand immigration advice without being licensed or exempt commits an offence.
Before engaging an adviser, check the register of licensed immigration advisers to make sure the person you are engaging has a valid immigration adviser licence. Check the licence expiry date and type of licence (some advisers may only be able to advise on limited areas).
The Government's Immigration Advisers Authority provides information on who can give New Zealand immigration advice and explains how to complain if you are unhappy. They also provide a useful guide about Licensed Immigration Advisers.
Should you have any difficulty finding a licensed immigration adviser or complaining about one, you can contact the Immigration Advisers Authority directly. The Authority is responsible for licensing immigration advisers, receiving complaints and taking action against those giving immigration advice without a licence.