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New Zealand Student Visas

Anyone enrolling as an international student on a course lasting three months or more in New Zealand will need a student visa. Here are the key things to know

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, then you do not need to get a student visa to study. If your course will take three months or longer to complete, you will need a Fee Paying Student Visa.
Is there an age limit?
No, there are no age limits to getting 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, your working holiday visa status has no impact on a student visa application, assuming you didn’t break any Immigration rules during your WHV (such as overstaying, or working when your visa didn’t allow you to). If you had any such issues during or after your WHV please contact Study Options to discuss your case.
Can I work on a student visa?
Yes, in most cases student visa holders can work up to 20 hours a week during term and full time during the holidays.
How much does it cost to apply for a student visa?

Student visa applications submitted via the online system from the UK currently cost NZ$430. Fees are subject to change each year, so please check before making your application.

How do I apply?

The best way to apply is to submit your student visa application online, at: You can, alternatively, complete a paper application form, which is also available from the INZ website, but online applications are preferred (and processed more quickly). The webpage above has lots of helpful guides to making your application, including a checklist of the supporting documents required for first-time student visa applicants.

Will I have to show any evidence of my finances?
Yes, you’ll need to prove you have enough money to live on while you study. INZ will want to see evidence that you have access to NZ$20,000 per year as a student – this can be shown using bank statements, evidence of a scholarship, or by your family completing a financial undertaking form to guarantee your living costs. You’ll also need to show that you have enough money to buy a ticket home from New Zealand.
What about character documents?

All applicants for New Zealand visas need to be of ‘good character’. This generally means you have no criminal convictions. If you intend to be in New Zealand for more than 24 months you will need to include police clearances from each country for which you have citizenship in your visa application. You will also need to provide police clearances for every country you have lived in for five years or more since you turned 17. Find out more at

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 x-ray certificate, but this is not always required for student visa applicants. Check whether you will need to include health documentation at

Can I take my partner with me?
It is not possible to include a partner in your student visa application 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, study, or simply accompany you while you are studying your course. They have the option of applying for a Partner of a Student Work Visa if you (as the student) are:

i) Studying for a Level 7 or Level 8 qualification that is on the Green List, Qualifications Eligible for a Post Study Work Visa list, or the New Long Term Skill Shortage List, or

ii) studying for a postgraduate qualification (Level 9 or Level 10).

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 long does a student visa take to get?
Immigration New Zealand recommends you allow around four weeks (20 working days) for processing for student visa applications submitted online.
How soon can I travel to New Zealand once I get my student visa?
The visa is valid immediately upon issuing, so once you have your visa you can use it to enter New Zealand. Please DON’T book any travel that cannot be easily amended until you have been granted a visa for 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. For courses that last longer than a year, you will be required to renew your visa through the Immigration New Zealand online system for further years of study. This is a process that the team at your university’s International Office will help you with.
Can I apply for another visa when my course finishes?

Yes, potentially, if you meet policy. For information about other visa options, visit

What are my obligations on this visa?
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 visa at all times. If you fail to do this you may be declined a permit to remain in or a visa to travel to the country in the future.
What will I need to apply?

The full requirements are given on checklists available from but an outline list of documents is as follows:

  • The completed application form
  • A valid passport (you will need to upload the identity page)
  • The application fee
  • An unconditional offer of place to study at a university in New Zealand
  • Receipt showing payment of one year’s tuition fees
  • Evidence of sufficient funds for living costs
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to purchase an outward ticket
  • Evidence of your health and character, if required
  • A cover letter or statement of purpose explaining why you want to study in New Zealand and providing more information about you. A guide to writing this can be found on the INZ first time applicant checklist (please contact Study Options with any questions!)

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