How to Apply for a New Zealand Student Visa

This article aims to help you understand how to apply for a New Zealand student visa.

The New Zealand student visa application process is often regarded as one of the most complicated in any country, but it need not be. For this reason, knowing the requirements for acquiring a student visa to study in New Zealand is essential.

Specific procedures are required for a New Zealand student visa. You should gather all the required documents, pay your fees, and submit your application. Before submitting your application, ensure you are eligible to obtain a New Zealand student visa. 

It is important to note that New Zealand has reopened its borders to international students from 31 July 2022. The government is transitioning to a new recruiting procedure to rebuild the country’s foreign enrolment. 

Can I work in New Zealand after I complete my studies?

Bachelor’s and all postgraduate students will have the right to work in New Zealand for up to 36 months after they complete their programme. However, if you study a non-degree level programme, you will not have the right to work after completing your studies, except in cases where you studied a course with a shortage of immigrant workers. 

Keep reading through this guide to learn how to meet the requirements and make your New Zealand student visa application.

Who needs a New Zealand student visa? 

International students need to apply for a Zealand student visa before arrival to undertake a study programme in New Zealand. New Zealand boasts numerous career prospects and features world-recognised higher learning institutions, thus making it an attractive destination for international students.

The visa application process varies greatly depending on your nationality. As such, it is in your best interest to start your application process immediately after you receive your acceptance letter from your prospective New Zealand university.

Applying for a New Zealand student visa from your home country is possible if you have all the necessary documents and meet the other criteria set by the commission. 

Do I need a New Zealand student visa as an Australian citizen?

If you are an Australian citizen, you do not need to apply for a New Zealand student visa to study in New Zealand. You will usually be allowed to live, work or study in New Zealand and will not need to apply for a visa before travelling.

Any international student wishing to pursue a university education in New Zealand must first be granted the right to do so by the New Zealand government. You must also receive a provisional admission to be eligible to study in the country.

What are the types of New Zealand student visas? 

There are four main student visas in New Zealand based on the type of programme you intend to pursue. The four main types are Exchange Student Visa, Foreign Government Supported Student Visa, Pathway Student Visa and Fee-paying Student Visa.

Exchange Student Visa

This student visa is available to those who have applied and been accepted into an approved student exchange programme in New Zealand.

If you apply for an exchange student visa, you are eligible to study abroad for four years in any student exchange programme, and you can work up to 20 hours per week while studying.

Foreign Government Supported Student Visa 

Foreign government-sponsored student visas are necessary for students who have already received a government scholarship or stipend. You can study full-time at the course stated on your visa, including schools, university or English language study. The Foreign Government Supported Student Visa pathway duration is up to 4 years.

Work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying and full-time in the holidays, depending on your visa conditions.

You must provide the New Zealand immigration authorities with proof of eligibility and financial support.

Pathway Student Visa 

Pathway student visas are issued to international students enrolled in pathway programmes. A single pathway student visa will allow you to study up to three consecutive courses in the country, and work part-time for up to 20 hours a week. The pathway student visa duration is up to 5 years.

Fee-paying Student Visa

A fee-paying student visa will allow you to study a full-time course at any approved university in New Zealand. You are particularly eligible if you have been accepted into a postgraduate programme.

You can study full-time and work up to 20 hours per week in New Zealand on the Fee-paying Student Visa. The duration of the visa is usually 4 years. This is the most common type of student visa in New Zealand.

Who is eligible to apply for a New Zealand student visa? 

You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a student visa in New Zealand: 

  • Be accepted into a course at an educational institution approved by the Ministry of Education or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.
  • Proof of sufficient funds for your tuition fees or evidence you have a scholarship.
  • A plane ticket or proof that you have the financial ability to buy one.

What are the New Zealand student visa application requirements?

  • An international passport with six months validity.
  • A National Identity Card, if applicable.
  • Birth certificate
  • A Police Clearance Certificate (depending on the country)
  • A copy of your marriage certificate, if applicable.
  • If applicable, evidence of change of name, such as documents showing your other names. An example of such a document is a marriage certificate.
  • Documents indicating that you have adequate funds to cater for your stay and to leave New Zealand, such as pay slips, tax records, credit card limit, or bank statements.
  • Scholarship acceptance letter or certificate, if applicable.
  • Work experience letters, if applicable.
  • Proof of funds worth NZD$15,000 for your first year of study. NZD$1250 per month for sustenance if your programme is less than 36 months.
  • Previous international passports or visas to show your travel history
  • Admission confirmation letter or Confirmation of Enrolment certificate for all the courses you intend to pursue.
  • A copy of the parent or guardian’s international passport for individuals under 18.
  • Proof to indicate only a temporary stay in New Zealand. You must show willingness and ability to return to your home country once you finish your studies. 

Proof of Good Health to Study in New Zealand

You must submit proof of good health through a chest X-ray scan or a medical test report. Chest X-ray scans are mandatory for international students intending to study in New Zealand.

Proof of Good Character to Study in New Zealand

You must submit proof of your good character to get a visa. You may be asked to submit a police certificate to ascertain whether have a police record, sentenced to prison, or had an altercation with your country’s law policies.

Ideally, you should provide information to the New Zealand embassy, demonstrating that you pose no threat to the country. 

Proof of Genuine Intention to Study in New Zealand

You must provide enough proof to the New Zealand embassy that you do not have any malicious intentions to have a hassle-free student visa application process.

For this reason, you will need to provide the following documents to help the embassy better understand your true intentions for applying for a New Zealand student visa. You can back up your claims by submitting the following documents.

  • Proof of travel history, including all pages containing visa records, photo pages, and entry and exit stamps.
  • Proof of your circumstances in your home country shows why you need a New Zealand student visa.

Letter of Acceptance from Your Prospective University to Study in New Zealand

Your university in New Zealand’s letter of acceptance must provide detailed information about the course you intend to pursue in New Zealand. 

The acceptance letter must have the following details.

  • The name of your course and its duration.
  • Confirmation that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will pay the tuition fee.
  • Whether your program is full-time, part-time, or will be completed based on correspondence.
  • If the course lasts for more than a year, you must mention a list of all the scheduled holidays in the offer letter.
  • The confirmation letter from the university must also include a signed declaration by the authorities stating that they have assessed your ability to meet the requirements and are satisfied with the results.
  • The program offered is appropriate for your abilities.
  • Proof that you are well versed in the English language and have the academic capability to succeed.

How to apply for a New Zealand student visa from abroad

Click on New Zealand’s official website.

Click the ‘Login’ button and select ‘Visitor Visa’ from the drop-down menu.

Then, proceed to create to sign up for your online application. Click ‘Create a realme login.’ You will be directed to a page where you’ll be prompted to answer some personal questions. Then, click ‘create my realme’.

Realme Login to Apply for a New Zealand Student Visa
Realme Login to Apply for a New Zealand Student Visa

Enter your first and last name, then insert your email address. Then, click ‘Agree and Continue.’ You will get a link to your email address for verification. Click on this link to proceed.

After you click the link, you will find Immigration New Zealand’s portal. Click on ‘create a new visitor visa application.’

Proceed with the guide, answer the questions that appear, and then upload supporting documents. You will then need to pay your fees with your Mastercard or visa. You should also secure an appointment with the New Zealand visa application centre (VAC). 

How much does it cost to apply for a New Zealand student visa?

VFS Global processing New Zealand student visa applications, so it is advisable to use them to make your application as seamless as possible. Login’ to end this process and log in to continue. VFS Global charges at least NZ$50 as a service charge.

You also need to pay at least NZ$310 for New Zealand student visa fees. Other charges may include courier fees and SMS charges.

Once you submit your application, wait for at least 25 days. Your embassy will reach you when your application is ready. You can monitor your application while waiting for your embassy to conclude your visa application.

Can I relocate with my family if I hold a New Zealand student visa?

Generally, your partner and children under 18 can be granted a student visa. They might be issued a visitor visa, student visa, or work visa, depending on the Tertiary course they intend to pursue.

If your spouse is granted a work visa, they work full-time in New Zealand. You may be eligible to send your children to school as “domestic students” if you are enrolled in a tertiary program that allows you to do so. 

Fortunately, most New Zealand student visas will allow your family members to accompany you to study in New Zealand. You must also demonstrate the financial ability to support your spouse or children. 

In addition to tuition and fees, you will have to pay for housing, food, textbooks, transportation, and other necessities while in New Zealand. Various factors affect the cost of living, including your location, the type of housing you choose to live in, and the number of people you choose to live with.

As an international student, it may help to arrive in New Zealand first, start your studies, find accommodation, and get accustomed before bringing your family.


We believe this list will be instrumental in your New Zealand student visa application journey. Remember, New Zealand has introduced a new strategy for resuming student visa applications.

Also, note that if you intend to work after completing your bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD course, the length of time you can work may be proportional to your term of study in New Zealand.

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