Student visa for New Zealand

How to get a New Zealand student visa | Requirements, fees, and more!

Last Updated on October 7, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

A student visa for New Zealand will allow you to study in New Zealand, work part-time, and live there for up to 4 years. Read this blog to learn more about the New Zealand student visa requirements, application process, fees, and more.

Applying for a student visa for New Zealand is not easy. You have to find out which visa will work for you, what are the New Zealand student visa requirements, and learn how to apply.

And in the middle of it all, you have to look at medical papers, travel insurance, and get documents that will prove you have enough money!

To give you an idea of what should be done and help ease your visa process, we have compiled all the information you need in this blog. Read on!

Which type of New Zealand student visa will I need?

You will find student visas for students from specific countries or for those who want to study in New Zealand for a specific reason. But on an overall basis, there are 3 kinds of student visas that will let you study full-time in New Zealand-

  1. Fee paying student visa – this visa will let you study a single course for up to 4 years, work part-time, and live by yourself in New Zealand
  2. Pathway student visa – using this, you can 3 courses, one after the other, for up to 5 years, and work part-time 
  3. Dependent child student visa – this is for people who are in New Zealand on a study or work visa and allows their dependents to live and study in New Zealand as a domestic student in a primary or secondary school

What is the New Zealand student visa application process?

The first thing you need to do is see how COVID-19 is affecting students who want to pursue their education in New Zealand. After you know that and are sure you can apply for a Fee paying student visa, follow these steps to complete the process for your New Zealand student visa application-

  • Collect your documents
    We will take a look at the list of documents required for your visa application in the next section. But the point is – don’t rush in the end moment to find these papers. Keep them ready in advance.
  • Choose how you want to apply
    While most students prefer to apply online because it’s faster, you can also decide to apply using a printed form.
  • Apply
    If you choose to apply online, set up a New Zealand Government RealMe account and start filling your application form. Otherwise, download the Student Visa Application form (NZ 1012) and fill it.
New Zealand student visa process infographic
You will need a student visa if you are taking up a full-time course in New Zealand that will last for longer than 3 months
  • Submit your application
    In case you want to apply offline, you may want to check where to send the form and the supporting documents.
  • Pay the New Zealand visa fees (around $57)
  • Wait for a decision 
    It takes between 4 to 6 weeks for a student visa to be processed. But you can always check the progress on your visa application online.
  • Get your visa!

New Zealand student visa requirements

There’s a bunch of documents you will need to keep handy before applying for your Fee paying student visa. Your New Zealand student visa requirements will include-

  • An offer of placement from an educational institution approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
  • Evidence that you have money for your tuition fees
  • Proof that you have enough money to live on in New Zealand (NZD$15,000 for your first year of study, NZD$1250 for each month if your program of study is less than 36 months, a scholarship, or a sponsor)
  • A ticket out of New Zealand or proof that you have enough funds to buy one
  • Medical certificates from a doctor approved by INZ
  • Police certificates from the Regional Passport Office
  • Approved medical and travel insurance
  • Your passport and acceptable passport-style photo(s)
  • Translations of any documents not in English
  • New Zealand student visa fees (around $57)

The New Zealand government might also ask you to share other documents, like a cover letter and a Statement of Purpose. These will help them make a faster decision on your visa application.

COVID updates

According to the New Zealand immigration website, “Student visa applicants who are outside New Zealand can study online without a visa.”

When New Zealand’s border restrictions are lifted, these students will have to provide evidence of their online study to support the visa application.

Remember – if you choose to study online in your home country first, you will still need to meet standard student visa requirements to be granted a New Zealand student visa.

Will this student visa allow me to work?

Yes. You can work part-time for 20 hours a week while studying and take up a full-time job during the holidays.

Working in New Zealand after graduation
A post-study work visa after graduation will let you work for up to 3 years after your graduation

There are two other benefits of a Fee paying student visa. One of them is being able to study a full-time course at a school, tertiary institution, or English language study. The other perk of a New Zealand student visa is that you can live by yourself (but only if you’re above a certain age).

Also, the visa’s multiple entry-level conditions can allow you to travel anywhere in and out of New Zealand!

For how long will my student visa be valid?

Your student visa will be valid for the same length of time as the study you’ve paid for. This means that, if you want to stay back, you will need to land a job before you graduate and get a post-study work visa before your student visa expires.

The good news is that New Zealand has always welcomed people with skills. Companies in Auckland, Marlborough, or West coast have several job openings in sectors such as health, media, law, engineering, and IT. There are also opportunities for people with skills in trades and business services.

To find employers who are hiring, you can head to websites like Working In, Workhere, or New Kiwis, get yourself a job, and apply for your work visa!

Who does not need a student visa for New Zealand?

You will need a student visa if you want to study full-time in New Zealand for more than 3 months. 

If your course will last for 3 months or less, you can study in New Zealand through a visitor visa. You can also study part-time for up to 9 months, as long as you apply to vary the conditions of your visitor visa.

You can also study on a work visa in case your course is 3 months or less and your employer wants you to do a course.

However, you will not need a student visa if-

  • You are a citizen of New Zealand or Australia
  • If you are a resident of New Zealand
  • You have a permanent visa for Australia

Can I get a work visa after graduation?

Oh, yes! A post-study work visa in New Zealand will let you work for any employer and in almost any job for up to 3 years after your graduation.

With this work visa in your hands, your partner can also apply for a work visa and your children can study for free, just like any other domestic student.

The visa you get, however, can last up to 1, 2, or 3 years depending on the level of your qualification and where you studied.

So, if you’re planning to live in New Zealand permanently, it’s best to get a job in an occupation where there’s a shortage of skilled workers. It will definitely improve your chances of getting a residence visa.

So, there you have it – an ultimate guide on how to turn from a student in New Zealand into a permanent resident of the country!

Let me know if you found this information helpful or drop a comment in case you feel I missed out on anything.

I’d be very happy to answer any questions you may have.

Until then, happy planning!

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