Applying for a student visa
All the Information follow the NZ Immigration Policy
Visa requirements Link here
Student Permit Application Checklist (onshore)
Signed and completed application form (INZ 1012)
Application Fee ($200 NZD)
Passport Photograph (stapled to the front)
Passport, valid for the period of your intended stay (actual passport - not photocopy)
Offer of Place (must show start date and end date and fee amount)
Tuition Fee Receipt (showing period paid for and amount)
Evidence of Sufficient funds (min $10,000 for full year in own bank account, or $1,000 per month for shorter course). Ideally 3 month transaction history should be supplied
Or completed Financial Undertaking form - must be completed by NZ Citizen or PR.)
Or evidence of funds, as per levels stipulated above, are held on behalf of the student (eg Secondary Schools)
Evidence of outward travel (or additional funds to purchase)
Accommodation Guarantee (if guaranteed by school, please ensure this is stated on offer of place or separate document)
Temporary Entry Chest X - Ray (if 11 years of age or over, intending to stay between 6 and 12 months from date of entry, and not on Low incidence TB list)
Medical Certificate (if you intend to be in New Zealand for more than 12 months from date of entry or it is over 24 months since the date of your last medicals)
Police Certificate (if 17 years of age or over, and intending to stay in NZ for more than 24 months from date of original entry)
Details of visa and permit requirements, advice on rights to employment in New Zealand while studying, and reporting requirements are available through New Zealand Immigration Service, and can be viewed on their website at www.immigration.govt.nz.
All students wishing to take a New Zealand education programme lasting longer than 12 weeks need a student visa to travel here. The following information has been taken from the New Zealand Immigration Service, and explains who needs a visa and how to obtain one. Please check the Immigration New Zealand web page for regular up dates. Policies change from time to time and it is important that you keep up to date. ICA is not responsible for Immigration policy changes.
What Is A Student Visa?
A Student Visa is:
• A legal endorsement you need in your passport to facilitate your travel to New Zealand for the purpose of study; and
• a legal endorsement you need in your passport if you are in New Zealand and wish to travel overseas and return to New Zealand for the purpose of study; and
• a legal endorsement showing you have permission to travel to New Zealand and may be granted a Student Permit when you arrive; and
• Be able to be issued for a single (one journey) or multiple (more than one journey) entry.
What Is A Student Permit?
A Student Permit is:
• A legal endorsement in your passport, which allows you to study in New Zealand. It will state the expiry date and give the conditions of your permit.
The conditions of your Student Permit will include details about:
• your course of study;
• The educational institution that you are required to study with.
• The location of the institution in New Zealand;
• Any other restrictions (such as not being allowed to work).
Who Needs A Student Visa?
You will need to apply for a Student Visa if:
• You are living outside of New Zealand, and are coming to New Zealand to study full time for longer than three months (Your spouse or partner and children who wish to accompany you may apply for a Visitor or Student Visa).
• Students entering as visitors to New Zealand from visa free countries may apply for a Student Permit once an educational institute has accepted them.
Who Needs A Student Permit?
You may apply for a Student Permit if:
• you are a visitor or a worker in New Zealand and wish to study full time; or
• you need to extend your Student Permit for further study or training; or
• your spouse is in New Zealand on another type of temporary permit i.e., Work Permit; or
• you are a child and wish to study while your family is in New Zealand.
What Courses May I Study?
Your course of study and educational institution must be approved for foreign students.
The educational institution will advise you if their courses are approved.
If you have any queries you will need to contact the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
Can I Study Part Time?
If you are a visitor or worker in New Zealand and wish to study part time, you may apply for a Variation of Conditions to study.
You will need to show evidence that you:
• are enrolled in the course; and
• have paid the fees for non New Zealand students; and
• have paid the Variation of Conditions fee.
Who Does Not Need A Permit Or Visa To Study In New Zealand?
You do not need a visa or permit to study in New Zealand if you are:
• a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand Resident Permit holder; or
• an Australian citizen or an Australian resident who holds a current Australian resident return visa; or
• one of a group of people who are exempt from the requirement to hold a permit to be in New Zealand; or
• studying a course of no more than three months (while on a valid visitor permit); or
• a holder of a Limited Purpose Permit granted for the express purpose of attending a course of study or training; or
• a holder of another type of temporary permit of which you have varied the conditions of your permit to allow you to undertake your course of study or training.
How Do I Apply For A Student Visa Or Permit?
Student Visa and Permit requirements are found on the Application to Study in New Zealand form found at http://www.immigration.govt.nz/
Do I Need A Medical Certificate?
All visa applicants must be of an acceptable standard of health. This is to ensure that you are:
• not likely to be a danger to public health;
• not likely to be a burden on the health services;
• fit for the purposes of entry.
If you intend to study a course which is 24 months or longer you will need to provide a medical and x-ray certificate . Your medical and x-ray certificate must not be more than three months old at the time your application is lodged.
If there is an indication of any medical condition which could mean you may not meet the provisions above, you may be required to provide a medical and x-ray certificate if the intention is to stay in New Zealand less than 24 months.
In some countries, the New Zealand Immigration Service selects medical panels of registered medical practitioners and/or radiologists. If you are resident in one of these countries, a panel member must complete your medical and x-ray certificate forms.
You may either refer to the list of countries using panel doctors or consult the nearest branch of the New Zealand Immigration Service for details of the appropriate panel doctor for your area.
Most students are not entitled to publicly funded health services while in New Zealand unless they are a:
• resident or citizen of Australia;
• A national of the United Kingdom in New Zealand;
• Holder of a temporary permit that is valid for two years or more.
• For advice on eligibility and/or entitlements, please refer to the Ministry of Health web site.
If you do not belong to one of these special categories and you receive medical treatment during your visit, you will be liable for the full costs of that treatment.
It is compulsory that you have medical insurance for the duration of your stay in New Zealand.
Can I Be Refused A Visa Or Permit?
You can be refused a visa or permit if:
• If you do not meet the entry requirements;
• If you are not a genuine applicant for a study visa or permit;
• You are a person to whom Section 7 of the Immigration Act 1987 applies and you do not have an exemption.
Can my Visa or Permit be Revoked?
Student permits are issued to enable a person to undertake a particular course of study at a specified institution. Failure to do this may constitute a breach of the permit conditions, in which case the permit may be revoked. Educational institutions wishing to report students who have breached these conditions can do so using the form provided by NZIM.
Where Can I Get More Information And Advice?
You can get more information from:
• New Zealand Immigration Service Application Forms
• National Contact Centre
• New Zealand Diplomatic and Consular Offices
• New Zealand Immigration Service Branch Offices
• New Zealand Immigration Service Operational Manual
Student Permits & Visas
Changes to student processing in the Auckland region
Why the change to how student applications are processed?
Processing student applications in one place enables the Department to provide more timely and consistent service to students. It allows us to better manage the seasonal peaks in the volume of student applications and allows branches to provide a consistent service to other immigration applications.
When will these changes take place?
From the 17th of July 2006 all paper based student applications will be processed by the student processing unit in Palmerston North. Applications sent to the Auckland branches, or placed in the secure student drop boxes there, will be forwarded to the student processing unit.
What do the changes mean for students?
This means that your application for a student permit will now be processed in our student processing unit, based in Palmerston North.
To apply for a student permit or visa you will now be able to:
post your student application and fee payment directly to:
Student Processing Unit
Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 1049
Palmerston North 4440,
place your student application and fee payment in a secure student drop box at your local branch, or
apply on campus using Students Online if your institute is one of the participating institutes.
What if I need to see an Immigration Officer?
Most applications can be processed without the student meeting with an immigration officer. If an interview is needed, you will be invited to attend an appointment at your local branch.
Who do I contact if I need questions answered?
If you have any questions about your application, the process, or the forms you need, call our contact centre on 09 914 4100 (from Auckland) or free phone 0508 55 88 55 from the rest of New Zealand.
If you need to get an application form you can get one from the contact centre on 09 914 4100 or 0508 55 88 55 online at www.immigration.govt.nz, or from any Immigration Branch.
How do I pay my application fee?
You must include your fee payment with your application documents. Please do not send cash. You can pay by Bank Cheque, Visa or Mastercard.
Is the drop box secure?
Yes. The preferred method is for you to send your application directly to Student Processing Unit, Immigration New Zealand, PO Box 1049, Palmerston North 4440. We recommend registered post or courier for your security.
However, should you choose to use the student drop box option, your application will be sent to the student processing unit by secure courier. Your documents will be returned to you in a signature required courier package.
How long will it take?
The processing time will be approximately 15 working days. The fastest option is for you to send your application directly to Student Processing Unit, Immigration New Zealand, PO Box 1049, Palmerston North 4440.
To ensure we are able to process your application without delay, please make sure you complete all necessary documentation and enclose the correct fee.
Please apply at least 30 days before your current permit expires. Unless it is an emergency (and you have documentation proving it), you will not be able to come into a branch and receive same day service.
What if I need my application processed urgently?
An urgent service will be available at your local branch for emergency situations only. This urgent service is only available with documented proof such as travel documents and for cases such as a family emergency. If you need your application processed urgently call the contact centre on 09 914 4100 or 0508 55 88 55 and they will advise the best steps to take for your situation.
What if I need my passport back urgently?
If you need your passport returned urgently, call the contact centre on 09 914 4100 or 0508 55 88 55 and they will make arrangements for you. Your passport can normally be returned to you the next working day.
Student Processing Unit
Immigration New Zealand
PO Box 1049
Palmerston North 4440
09 914 4100 if calling from within Auckland
0508 55 88 55 free phone from within New Zealand.
Student policy changes
What has changed?
Work entitlement for international students :
All eligible students will be able to apply to work for up to 20 hours in any given week during the academic year, instead of the current 15 hours per week.
Year 12 and 13 students, with written consent from their parents and school, may now work up to 20 hours in any given week.
English language students may now work up to 20 hours in any given week provided they are studying for at least six months at tertiary level, where the primary purpose is to develop their English language skills, and they have an overall band of IELTS 5.0 at the time they apply for a student visa or permit.
Anyone undertaking a course of 12 months or more will be able to apply to work full-time over the summer holidays.
Partners of students studying in areas of absolute skill shortage and partners of all postgraduate students will be able to apply for an open work permit valid for the duration of the student’s course of study.
Work entitlement for international students after graduation
Expanded group of students, regardless of institution type, who may apply for a two year post-study work permit to obtain practical work experience relevant to their qualification. Until now, only polytechnic and university graduates were eligible. A two year post-study work permit requires an offer of employment relevant to their course or qualification. The student must have completed a course that has a minimum completion time of three years; or successfully completed in New Zealand a qualification that would qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category.
International students who do not have an offer of employment but who have graduated from a course that would gain points under Skilled Migrant Category will be eligible for a six-month open work permit, known as a Graduate Job Search Work Visa/Permit. They must provide evidence they have available funds of at least $2,100 for maintenance during the six-month period.
Are eligible students automatically entitled to work?
No. Eligible students need to apply to the New Zealand Immigration Service for a variation of conditions (VOC) to their student permit before undertaking employment. Students should not apply for a work permit.
Where can students apply for a VOC to their student permit?
Students should submit applications to their local branch of the New Zealand Immigration Service. If students are in New Zealand, they should use the ‘drop box’ at their local branch. If students are studying at an institution which is certified with Students On-line they should submit applications at the institute.
Students will need to complete an Application for Variation of Conditions form (NZIS 1020) and provide any additional documentation required. For example, year 12 and 13 school students must include written parental and school consent.
When can students apply for these new work rights?
The new rules have been in effect since Monday 4 July 2005.
Do students who currently have a VOC for 15 hours work need to pay a fee to get the additional five hours?
Yes, there is a $60 fee for a VOC although if a student applies for the VOC at the time of application for a student permit, the fee may be waived. There is no charge for students studying at an institution which is certified with Students On-line.
Can (offshore) visa officers issue a VOC on a student visa?
Yes, visa officers are able to issue a VOC, for eligible students.
Can students wait until they apply for their next student permit before applying for the right to work part-time?
Yes, although without a Variation of Conditions they are not permitted to work. If they wait to apply when they submit their next application for a student permit, the application fee may be waived.
Are there restrictions on the type of work a student can do?
Yes. Students may not be self employed. They may not engage in commercial sexual services.
How many hours per week can a student apply to work during the academic year?
20 hours. These hours cannot be accumulated.
Do students require an offer of employment to get work rights on a student permit?
Who can work during the Christmas-New Year holiday?
Students who hold a student permit and are undertaking a full-time course of study of 12 months or more can apply to work during the Christmas-New Year holiday.
Note: Years 12/13 school students need written consent from their parents (unless they are over 18) and the school.
Note: summer work rights apply only to Year 12 and 13 students who have finished that academic year; students who have just completed Year 11 are not eligible.
Can secondary students apply to work during the academic year?
Secondary students in years 12 and 13 may work during the academic year but they must have written permission from their parents and their school.
What defines full-time study?
For private training establishments, enrolment in a course requiring a minimum 20 hours attendance per week For other tertiary educational institutions, enrolment in at least three papers, or equivalent, per semester.
The final decision on whether a student is undertaking full-time study rests with visa and immigration officers.
Can the partner of a student apply for a work visa/permit?
Yes, if the student is studying towards qualifications in areas of absolute skill shortage (see Appendix Six, the Long Term Skill Shortage List of the NZIS Operational Manual) or studying towards postgraduate qualifications and they meet the generic policy requirements for partnership. An offer of employment is not required.
Note: this does not apply to partners of students supported by the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).
Can people undertaking industry training or Modern Apprenticeship apply for a student visa or permit with a variation of conditions to work?
No, these applicants must apply for a work visa or permit.
Are there any changes to the two-year work permit for students to gain practical experience?
Yes. Eligibility for this provision has been expanded. Until now, only polytechnic and university graduates were eligible. There is also now a restriction on how long a student has to apply for this visa/permit. Applicants must apply no later than three months after the end date of their student permit, unless they are a holder of a Graduate Job Search Work Permit.
Are postgraduate students entitled to work rights on a student permit?
Yes, postgraduate students undertaking a full-time course culminating in a qualification that qualifies for points under the Skilled Migrant Category are eligible.
How do I know if my qualification gives me points under the Skilled Migrant Category?
See Skilled Migrant Policy (SM14) in the NZIS Operational Manual for the List of Recognised Qualifications.
Who is eligible for the new Graduate Job Search Work Visa/Permit?
Anyone who has successfully completed, in New Zealand, a qualification that qualifies for points under the Skilled Migrant Category and applies no later than three months after the end date of their student permit for that qualification. To gain this six-month open graduate job search work visa/permit, these students must provide funds of $2,100 to maintain themselves while they are in New Zealand. An offer of employment is not required.
If a student with a Graduate Job Search Work Permit gets an offer of employment and then wants to apply for a two-year work permit under Study to Work policy, can they?
Yes, provided they have an offer of employment relevant to their qualification and they meet all other requirements. The application fee may be waived.
English language students
Are English language students eligible for work rights during the academic year?
Yes, if they are studying for at least six months at tertiary level, where the primary purpose is to develop their English language skills. They must have an overall band of IELTS 5.0 at the time they apply for a student visa or permit.
Can an English language student apply for work rights in the middle of a course of study if they have reached IELTS 5.0?
No, only students with an overall band score of IELTS 5.0 at the time they apply for a student visa/permit are eligible for work rights.
Can an equivalent testing system be used, such as TOEFL or another standard test?
No, students must provide evidence of their IELTS score to be considered for work rights.
Is the academic or general level of IELTS used?
The Department of Labour and its Immigration Service accepts both.
How does the Immigration Service determine whether a course of study has a ‘primary purpose’ to develop a student’s English language skills?
Visa and immigration officers will note the objectives of the course, and its content, to determine whether or not the primary purpose of the course of study is to develop English language skills.
Can New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students apply for work?
Only if it is a compulsory course requirement to work or is related to their postgraduate course of study. NZAID students must also have written approval from NZAID and their education provider.
For the duration of an NZAID student’s scholarship, his or her dependent partner may apply for a non-labour market tested work permit once they arrive in New Zealand, provided they have a job offer and the written approval of NZAID.
Are there any changes to the rules for NZAID students?
Restrictions apply to people who have held a NZAID supported student permit, their partners and dependent children. Unless they have written approval from NZAID, this group is not eligible for a temporary/residence permit in the two years following completion of the NZAID student’s scholarship. Exception: for short-term visitor visa/permit or a work visa/permit to complete course requirements.
Is the partner of a NZAID student eligible for an open work permit?
The partner of a NZAID student must have an offer of employment, which is not subject to a labour market test, and written approval from NZAID in order to be eligible for a work permit.
I wish to employ students. How will I know if they are eligible to work?
They will have a permit in their passport, or a letter from the Department of Labour or the New Zealand Immigration Service that states they are eligible to work.
If the permit in a student’s passport states they can work for 15 hours, can I employ them for 20 hours a week?
Only if they have a letter addressed to them from the Department of Labour, or the New Zealand Immigration Service, that states they can work for 20 hours in any given week.