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Student Visa

Visa options

Student Visas
New international students must receive an offer of place at a New Zealand Education Institution before they can apply for a student visa, and the visa must remain current in order to remain studying in New Zealand. Additionally, international students must pass at least 75% of their courses, and achieve over 95% attendance, before Immigration New Zealand will accept a student visa renewal application.

Visit Immigration New Zealand for details on new and continuing students or contact us at for further information and guidance. All manual applications must be made directly to Immigration New Zealand.

If your spouse or partner has joined you in New Zealand, they may be eligible for a New Zealand work visa under Immigration New Zealand’s Family Stream. To qualify, you must be enrolled in:

  • A Level 7 (or higher) qualification (that is, a bachelor’s degree or graduate diploma programme) in an area of absolute skill shortage as specified in the Long Term Skill Shortage List, or
  • A postgraduate qualification (that is, the PGDBA or MBA programmes)

A work visa application for your spouse or partner must be made directly to Immigration New Zealand. For information on the conditions that apply, and to view the Long Term Skill Shortage List, visit the website.

Study Opportunities
In New Zealand, you can study for internationally-recognised qualifications at a wide range of educational institutions. New Zealand’s educational institutions are well regarded throughout the world. There is a great range of opportunities available to international students here: quality secondary school education, a well-established network of English language schools, and internationally respected and recognised tertiary education providers.

Can I study in New Zealand?
Everyone who comes to study in New Zealand from overseas must meet certain rules and requirements. If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa. In this section you can find out whether you need a visa, whether you’ll qualify, and what a student visa will allow you to do.

Meeting the visa requirements
Find out what you need to do to meet our requirements to get a student visa. You can also find out about what your student visa means for your family.

People who do not need a student visa
You don’t need a visa if you are a citizen of New Zealand or Australia, you hold a New Zealand residence class visa, or you are the holder of a current Australian permanent residence visa including a current Australian resident return visa. If there are conditions on your Australian permanent residence visa or resident return visa, then you will need to apply for a student visa.

People undertaking short courses
If you want to undertake one or more short courses which are approved or exempted by New Zealand Qualifications Authority, for no more than three calendar months duration in total, you do not need a student visa or a variation of conditions.
If you hold a temporary visa that is valid for 24 months or more, you can study one or more courses for up to three months in total in each 12-month period.

School-age children
School-age visitor visa holders can attend a primary, intermediate, or secondary school for a single period of study of up to three months per calendar year provided the study finishes within the calendar year. School-age visitor visa holders are not permitted to study in term one of a school year if they undertook a single period of study in term four of the previous year while on a visitor visa.

If you are planning to attend for more than two weeks or are paying fees, you must attend a school that is a signatory to the Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

To be considered a domestic student the child must hold a student visa.

*If you are an exchange student who will be studying in New Zealand for less than three months under a reciprocal exchange scheme managed by an Exchange Programme Organisation, you are not required to attend a school that is a signatory to the Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

Working Holiday Schemes
Participants of working holiday schemes may undertake one or more courses of study as long as the total duration of all of the courses undertaken does not exceed three or six months
depending on the scheme.  The length of course allowed under each scheme is on each scheme’s webpage.

Exchange students*
If you have been offered a place in an approved exchange scheme you may apply for a student visa for the duration of your exchange, provided you meet our health and character requirements and are a genuine exchange participant.

You must also provide evidence that you:

  • have been accepted into an approved student exchange scheme (from the scheme organiser), and
  • have onward travel arrangements for when your exchange scheme has finished.

You must apply for a student exchange visa before you travel to New Zealand. Only in very special circumstances (as determined by Immigration New Zealand) will a student exchange visa be granted if you are already in New Zealand.

The requirements for a student visa
Before you apply, ensure that you understand the requirements that you need to meet, and the requirements that your programme of study (or course) must meet.

Also see our examples to make sure you will be eligible for a visa to study in New Zealand.

What a student visa allows
Find out how long you can stay, whether you can work while studying, who we will refuse entry to, and answers to other questions about student visas.

Partners and children of residence and temporary entry class visa holders
If your partner or parent is in New Zealand and you want to join them here and study, the type of visa you may apply for may depend on factors such as your partner or parent’s immigration status.

If you’re sure you need a student visa, and you meet the requirements, find out how to apply.

How to apply
Find out about the application process:

  • Where to start ?
  • How to apply for your first visa ?
  • How to apply for a further visa ?
  • How to change the conditions of your visa ?

After you are accepted
Find out more about what you need to do after your student visa has been granted.

Children unlawfully in New Zealand accessing compulsory education

If your child is unlawfully in New Zealand and you wish to access education for them under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) you may wish to view Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s FAQs on this subject.