graduateshotline logo
Last Updated: January 07, 2024

New Zealand Student Visa

New Zealand is one of the most sought-after destinations by students who wish to pursue 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 a 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 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 lives. 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-

Types of Student Visas and Their Validity

New Zealand provides 7 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.

Who Needs to Apply for the 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 taking 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-

Cost of New Zealand Student Visas

The following are the costs related to different types of student visas:
Visa TypeCost
Fee Paying Student VisaNZD 375
Pathway Student VisaNZD 375
Post Study Work VisaNZD 700
Foreign Government Supported Student VisaNZD 375
Exchange Student VisaNZD 375
Student and Trainee Work VisaNZD 700
Visitor VisaNZD 211
Additionally, if the applicant is not from the Pacific or New Zealand, there is an immigration levy of NZD 95 and an application fee of NZD 300.

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 Chosen University and Receiving an Offer Letter

The first step to applying for a New Zealand student visa is i n 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.

Proof of English Language Proficiency (if required)

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. The approved test for English language proficiency and the necessary minimum score are as follows:
TestMinimum score
IELTSA total score of 5.0 or higher
TOEFL iBTA total score of 35 or higher
PTE AcademicA total score of 36 or higher
Cambridge English B2 First (FCE)A total score of 154 or higher
B2 First for Schools (FCE for Schools)A total score of 154 or higher
Occupational English Test (OET)All four skills must have a grade of C or higher

Proof of Medical Examination

If a student is staying longer than a year and is applying for a student visa for a Ph.D. program, an MFAT-funded scholarship, an exchange program, a Fee Paying Student Visa, or a Pathway Student Visa, they must undergo a medical examination. Additionally, if the student has ever used intravenous drugs, received blood transfusions, or engaged in any activity that could have exposed them to a serious infectious disease like HIV or Hepatitis B or C, they must also have a medical examination. When applying for a visa, the results of the medical examination and chest X-ray cannot be more than three months old.

The medical examination for a New Zealand visa consists of three parts. These include a physical examination and medical history, blood and urine tests, and a chest X-ray. Not everyone needs to get a chest X-ray. Evidence of a chest x-ray or medical examination can be shown by providing an eMedical reference number or a medical certificate if the applicant's country does not have a panel physician.

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- Candidates are required to have an amount of NZD 20,000 for a full year of study in the country or NZD 1,667 per month.
If an applicant is applying for a pathway student visa and their intended study pathway is longer than one year, they only need to show financial evidence for the first year of study as well as the ability to access funds to support themselves for the remainder of the intended period of study.

Gathering the Required Documents and Beginning the Application Process

Candidates who plan on applying for a student visa must initially ensure that they have been accepted at an educational institute in the country that 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.
Documents Required While Applying for New Zealand Student Visa: After obtaining all necessary paperwork, the applicant must decide whether to apply online or print a form and mail it to Immigration New Zealand. Applying online is a quicker and easier process.
For Online visa application process, applicants must register for a RealMe account or log in. Next, candidates must decide which kind of visa they wish to apply for, fill out the application, pay the required fees, and attach any supporting documentation. Images must be JPGs or JPEGs, and all uploaded documents must be PDFs.
To apply through Paper Form, applicants must fill out an application form (INZ 1012) and send it along with their passport, any applicable fees, and other documents to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) office.

Waiting for the Decision

Depending on the specifics of the student's case and the information they submit with their application, the processing time of the visa application is determined. Students might be asked for more details if necessary. If more information is required, the applicant is notified by phone, email, or through their RealMe account.

If the applicant applied for a visa online, they can check the status of their application by logging into their RealMe account. Their application is being processed if it shows "Submitted" in the application status. They will receive an email at the email address they provided on their account if more information is needed.

There is no way to find out the status of a paper application submitted by a prospective visa applicant. They need to find out how long it takes to apply for a visa before they apply. They can get in touch with the VAC or INZ if it takes longer than the allotted time.

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-

Applying Online

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 in applying online include- Note: Candidates who have a Fee Paying Student Visa will have a maximum stay duration of 4 years or the equivalent duration of their current course. Such students will not require the renewal of the visa.

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 endeavors 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. They will also be paid the minimum standard wage and will have stipulated breaks, and 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- 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.

Some Things to Remember

Student visa




Australia/New Zealand


Asian Countries