If you want to study and attend university or trade school in New Zealand, you will likely need a Study Visa. If you are already in New Zealand on a Visitor’s Visa, you will need to obtain a Study Permit.
The number of Study Visas granted each year is up to the schools and institutions that admit international students. Each school admits international students according to its own requirements. Once you are accepted to a school or institution, you must then apply for a Study Visa.
There are a few instances where a student does not need a Study Visa – such as, if you are a citizen of Australia, hold a New Zealand Residence Permit, or hold a current Australian Permanent Residence Visa including a current Australian Resident Return Visa. If you plan to study a single, short course of less than three calendar months you can apply for a Visitor’s Visa, if needed, instead.
People visiting New Zealand under the Working Holiday Schemes may study in New Zealand for a period up to, or less than, the duration of their visa, so for most people this will be three months, but if from the UK you could study for up to six months.
In all other cases for those who want to study as an International Student in New Zealand, a Study Visa, or Study Permit is necessary.
Applying for a Study Visa
- Print and complete the Student Visa Application form. Alternatively, you can pick up a form from your local NZ Immigration Office.
- Make sure you meet the health requirements. If studying for less than 6 months you may need to provide a chest x-ray. If studying for 12 months or longer, you will need a Medical and X-Ray Certificate.
- Make sure you meet the character requirements. If studying in NZ for 24 months or longer, you will need to provide a police certificate.
- Submit the form making sure all requirements are met, and include the correct fee. If you are currently in NZ, you can either post your form to:
Student Processing Unit
Immigration New Zealand
P O Box 1049
Palmerston North 4440
Or, place the form in the Auckland branch student drop box
Or, apply at your nearest certified educational institute.
You must be accepted as a student in a course that is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, or NZQA. You must obtain an offer from the education provider that includes:
- the name of the course and the minimum time required for completing it,
- proof that the course and course provider meet New Zealand’s requirements for international students,
- the fee for the complete course, or if the course is longer than one year, the annual fee,
- whether you have to pay course fees and whether the fees are domestic or foreign fees,
- whether you will be studying full-time or part-time.
You must also provide:
- a recent passport size photo.
- a valid passport.
- a police certificate including fingerprints (if you plan to stay for over 24 months).
- a medical certificate proving you are in good general health.
- a chest x-ray certificate, completed by a certified radiologist (if you plan to be in New Zealand for longer than a year, or a Temporary Entry X-ray Certificate to show you have been screened for tuberculosis (TB) if you plan to stay longer than six months.
You will also need to prove you have the means financially to remain in New Zealand for as long as you need to study. If you will be studying in New Zealand for less than nine months you’ll need to prove access to:
- NZ$1000 for each month of your stay,
- NZ$400 for each month, if your accommodation is already paid for (you will need to show us that you’ve paid), or
- a letter from your education provider saying that your accommodation and other living costs are included in the package you’ve already paid for.
If you will be studying for more than nine months, you’ll need to prove access to:
- NZ$10,000 per year to cover your costs during your stay in New Zealand, or
- if you are a citizen of Samoa or Tonga, a written guarantee from a relative who is a New Zealand citizen or resident that they will cover your living costs.
Evidence can include cash, travelers’ cheques, bank statements or an up-to-date statement from a recognized credit card showing sufficient available credit, or, written proof that another person is able and committed to covering your accommodation and living costs, or proof of financial aid such as a loan or grant through a New Zealand government agency
You will also need to show evidence that you will be able to leave New Zealand when your studies are over, such as an airline ticket, or additional money to cover your travel home.
Once you have obtained your Study Visa, you must:
- attend the school or institution specified in your permit. If you want to change your course or institution, you may apply.
- if you are underage, be accompanied by a guardian, you must live with that person.
- be able to demonstrate that you are passing your course.
- only undertake work allowed by your student permit.
- obey New Zealand’s laws.
- only stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by your permit.
For all of the required forms and more information, please visit the Immigration New Zealand site.