Last Updated: November 17, 2021
New Zealand Student Visa
New Zealand is one of the most sought-after destinations by students who wish to pursue their further studies. This is especially due to the friendly and welcoming citizens of the country and the top universities that offer a wide array of courses with developed educational infrastructure. Every academic year, students from all over the globe apply for the New Zealand study visa for better educational and work opportunities in the country.
An estimated number of over 60,000 student visas are granted every year. The country is known for regarding independence and resourcefulness above status and rules which makes it an ideal location for students and fresh graduates who wish to start afresh in their life. Students who enroll in the universities here will be able to receive high-quality education and also work while they are studying in the country.
Choosing a Course
New Zealand offers a lot of options in higher education which allows international students to choose from a wide range of levels-
- Diploma Programs
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Master’s Degree
- Postgraduate Diploma Programs
- Postgraduate Studies
- PhD Degrees
Types of Student Visa and their Validity
New Zealand provides 4 different kinds of visas for international students out of which the Fee Paying Student Visa is the most popular one. Candidates will be able to receive the visa they have applied for within a duration of 2 to 7 weeks depending on the processing time of the visa they have applied for.
- Fee Paying Student Visa- International students who wish to study in the country for more than three months will have to apply for this visa. It is the most popular student visa provided by New Zealand and has a validity of 4 years. The course they have been admitted to should be in the full-time mode.
- Pathway Student Visa- This student visa is provided to candidates who wish to do more than one academic course in the country. Candidates will be able to do 3 consecutive courses with this visa for a period of 5 years in all. The visa allows candidates to take courses that are provided by different education providers as long as they are approved by the Ministry of Education of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
- Post-Study Work Visa- This visa is not a student visa per se but is provided to candidates who wish to have practical work experience from the country after completing their desired course. Candidates will be able to work for a duration of 3 years in the country under specific work conditions.
- Foreign Government Supported Student Visa- This study visa is provided to international students who have received an educational loan or scholarship from the government of their country of origin.
Who Needs to Apply for the New Zealand Student Visa
Candidates who wish to study in New Zealand will have to apply for a student visa based on the duration and number of courses they plan on doing in the country. Students who have enrolled for courses that have a duration of fewer than three months will be able to go to the country on a visitor visa. The most popular visa for candidates who wish to do long-term programs is the Fee Paying Student Visa which has a duration of 4 years.
The only candidates who do not require a visa are-
- New Zealand Citizens or Residents
- Australian Citizens
- Candidates with Permanent Resident Visa for Australia
Steps to Applying for a New Zealand Fee Paying Student Visa
The steps to applying for a New Zealand student visa begin when the candidate applies to universities in the country. The most strenuous part of applying for the visa is collecting the documents that are required for the process. The application process will include the following procedures.
Applying to a New Zealand University
The first step to applying for a New Zealand student visa is in deciding the course that the candidate wishes to do in the country. International students will have to apply to the universities that offer the course of their choice and get accepted if they have to apply for a student visa. One of the documents required for applying includes the acceptance letter to a higher education institute in the country. Candidates must at least be invited for an entrance exam by the said university.
New Zealand does not have a set English language proficiency requirement for student visa applications. But at the same time, most education providers will have an English language requirement that candidates will have to meet.
Most student visas require candidates to provide a medical certificate which will include a medical examination and a chest x-ray. Candidates who are paying the full fee for courses are not required to provide medical certificates. But at the same time, if they have a history of living in a country where Tuberculosis, they will be required to provide a chest x-ray taken.
Proof of Financial Resources to Cover Costs
Unless the candidate has been exempted from paying fees for the program they have enrolled for, candidates are required to provide financial proof stating that they have the required funds for completing their education. The evidence that is provided can be any of the following-
- Letter from Education Provider stating that the fee has been paid in full or that the fee doesn’t have to be paid.
- Evidence that a loan from the home country government has been approved.
- Evidence that the candidate has received a scholarship from Education Provider.
Candidates are required to have an amount of NZ$15,000 for a full year of study in the country or NZ$1,250 per month.
Documents Required to Apply for a New Zealand Student Visa
Candidates who plan on applying for a student visa must initially ensure that they have been accepted at an educational institute in the country which is approved by the Ministry of Education or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. They will also have to provide proof of being able to sustain themselves financially while studying in the country until they return to their country of origin. The documents that are being submitted have to be translated into English.
- Passport with at least 6 months validity
- Colored Passport-Sized Photographs
- Medical Certificate
- Police Verification Certificate
- Proof of Admission from University in New Zealand
- Financial Support Evidence
- Health and Travel Insurance Documents
- Application Fees
- Proof of English Language Proficiency
Working While Studying in New Zealand
Candidates who wish to work during their study duration will be able to do so as long as they do not compromise their academic endeavor and maintain the required percentage of attendance per semester. International students will be able to work for 20 hours per week during semester days and they will be able to work full-time during a scheduled holiday. Students must work for a New Zealand-based employer since under no condition will they be allowed to be self-employed.
A few educational institutions in New Zealand provide part-time jobs to students where they will be able to work as part-time teachers or in the administration department depending on their skills and the availability of the position. Candidates who cannot work within the campus will be able to work outside the campus in cafes, shops, and other skill-related workspaces. Students who are working part-time in the country will be entitled to receive the same employment rights as New Zealand citizens have. They will also be paid the minimum standard wage and will have stipulated breaks, paid public/annual holidays.
Appealing Visa Refusal
Candidates whose visa application has been declined will be able to get the decision reviewed only under special circumstances. The request cannot be made online and has to be sent as a letter in English with the candidate’s signature and the reason why the candidate believes the decision must be reviewed. The conditions under which the application will be reviewed include-
- The candidate must be in New Zealand when the request is made.
- The review request must reach the immigration office within 14 calendar days of the visa request being denied.
Candidates will not be able to appeal the decision a second time. But if they are confident that they can mitigate the issues that were there with the previous application, they will be able to reapply from scratch for the same visa.
Fee Paying Student Visa Renewal Process
The students can renew their student visa in the following ways-
Applying through Education Provider
Candidates will be able to renew their student visas online or through the campus that they are studying in. The preferred mode of renewing a student visa is by contacting one’s education providers and supplying them with the necessary documents so that they will be able to finalize the visa with the immigration department. The duration for renewing a visa through this method is less than a week.
The steps that are to be taken by candidates for renewing the visa through their educational provider will include-
- Contacting Education Provider if it is certified with Provider Direct
- Collect and Provide Evidence of Academic Performance, Progress Made, and Attendance Record
- Pay Application Fee to Education Provider
- Wait for Education Provider to Finalize Visa with INZ
Candidates will also be able to renew their visa online but this option is taken only when educational providers do not provide the same service. This process takes around 1 month. Most New Zealand student visas have to be renewed every year and are based on the academic performance of the candidate, the progress they have made in their studies, and the attendance record of the candidate.
The steps involved for applying online include-
- Create Immigration Online Account
- Complete Application
- Upload Necessary Documents and Photo
- Pay Application Fee (only through credit card)
- Submit Application
: Candidates who have a Fee Paying Student Visa will have a maximum stay duration of 4 years or equivalent duration of their current course. Such students will not require the renewal of the visa.
Some Things to Remember
- Due to the ongoing pandemic, the New Zealand Government is allowing only 250 postgraduate and Ph.D. students and 1000 priority bachelor degree international students for entering New Zealand to resume their studies.
- Eligible postgraduate and Ph.D. students must prove they possess NZD 15,000 for sustaining themselves in New Zealand for a year.
- Eligible priority Bachelor’s degree international students must provide proof of possessing NZD 20,000 for their one-year stay in New Zealand.