Learn all about the New Zealand Study Visa.

New Zealand Study Visa

New Zealand Study VisaIf you are thinking of studying in New Zealand for more than 12 weeks, you will need to obtain a New Zealand study visa before arrival in New Zealand. If your course is shorter than 12 weeks, you’ll only need a visitor visa to go to New Zealand.

Your partner and dependents can also accompany you to New Zealand by making applications for a partner of a student visitor visa and child of a student visitor visa.

Below we take you through the need-to-knows information on the New Zealand study visa.

Does everyone need a student visa?

If any of the following apply to you, you will be exempt from applying for a New Zealand study visa:

  • You are a citizens of Australia.
  • You hold a New Zealand residence class visa.
  • If you are on a Working Holiday Schemes you are able to undertake one or more courses of study as long as the total duration of all of the courses does not exceed three or six months depending on the scheme.
  • You hold a current Australian permanent residence visa including a current Australian resident return visa.
  • Study is permitted for up to 3 months in any 12 month period where you hold a temporary visa that is valid for 24 months or longer.
  • You are undertaking a course of less than 3 calendar months.

Also - school age visitor visa holders attending a primary, intermediate, or secondary school are permitted a single period of study of up to three months per calendar year is permitted. Note the study must finishes within the calendar year. Note that the study must finish within the calendar year and also that school-age visitor visa holders may not study in term one of a school year if they attended a school in term 4 of the previous year whilst on a visitor’s visa.

A New Zealand study visa can be issued for as long as 4 years.

How long can a New Zealand study visa be valid for?

The maximum period of time you can stay in New Zealand and studies is 4 years. The period of time a study visa will be granted for depends upon various factors.

  1. Your student visa is normally valid for the same duration as the tuition you have paid for if you are a full fee paying student.
  2. If your course is with an education provider that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has a Memorandum of Understanding with, applications are considered for the length of the course.
  3. If in receipt of a full scholarship, your student visa is normally valid for the duration of your scholarship, up to a maximum of four years.

Must I study full time on a student visa?

You will need to enrol on a full-time study course unless you meet all the following exceptions:

  • You meet the visitor visa requirements.
  • Your course is less than 9 months in duration.
  • You have paid you school fees in full.
  • Your education provider is approved to accept international students by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

It is also possible to study part time if you are in the last semester of a course that will provide you with qualifications that may make you meet the criteria for a skilled migrant visa.

Where can you study?

It is a requirement for a student visa that the education provider you intend to study with is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Note most major education providers are registered with NZQA.

You can work up to 20 hours per week and full time during holidays on your New Zealand study visa.

Can you work on a student visa?

Study visa holders are permitted to work in New Zealand for up to 20 hours per week during terms and full time during holidays.

Note that there are no restrictions on work rights for PhD and Masters research students.

Is Medical insurance required?

You must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while you’re studying in New Zealand.

Who will not be granted a Student Visa New Zealand?

You may not be granted a student visa if:

  • An immigration officer believes you have not made a genuine application for a visa.
  • It is believed you are likely to stay in New Zealand unlawfully or you would breach the conditions of your visa
  • You are not:
    • Eligible for a visa under sections 15 and 16 of the Immigration Act 2009.
    • You are in New Zealand unlawfully when you apply.
    • You do not meet the health or character requirements.

You must have been offered a place at an appropriate New Zealand learning institution before you can apply for your New Zealand study visa.

Your offer of a place from a New Zealand educational provider

 To apply for a New Zealand study visa you will must have been offered a place with an appropriate New Zealand educational provider. The offer must include:

  • The name and contact details of the educational provider.
  • The course you will be attending and the duration of the course.
  • Proof that the course you will be attending and that the education provider meet New Zealand’s requirements for international students.
  • The cost of the course and if the course is longer than one year, the annual tuition fee.
  • The details of the person who will be paying the tuition fees.
  • Whether the course is full time or part time.
  • Confirmation of meeting the requirements under the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

What else do you need to submit with your application?

  • Your health and character:
    • You have to meet the health and character requirements
  • Genuine reason
    • Proof that the intention of your stay in New Zealand is genuine.
  • Medical and travel insurance
    • All international students must have appropriate medical and travel insurance in place.
  • Financial evidence
    • As a prospective international student, will must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of the course. The funds you must have depends on how long you intend to study for:
      • For courses less than 36 weeks you will need to show NZ$1,250 per month of study.
      • For courses in excess of one year you will need to show NZ$15,000 for each year of study.

In the event that you have prepaid accommodation costs, these costs can be deducted from the amounts above.

  • Proof of leaving when the course ends
    • It will be required that you either show tickets or sufficient funds, in excess of living expenses, to prove you have the means to leave New Zealand at the end of your course.
  • Passport validity
    • Students must have a passport that is valid for at least three months past the final date of their intended stay.

Maintaining your student visa

As a holder of a student visa you must abide by the following requirements or your student visa will be at risk:

  • You may only attend the educational provider specified on your visa. Especially relevant is that changes in the course or educational provider would need to be applied for.
  • If accompanied by a guardian, you must reside with them.
  • You must :
    • Abide by New Zealand laws.
    • Undertake work in line with what is specified on your study visa.
    • Be able to show that you are passing your course.
    • Leave New Zealand before your visa expires.

If you have secured a place at a New Zealand learning institution take advantage of our free initial assessment with one of licensed New Zealand immigration advisers.

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