How to Get a Visa to Study in New Zealand

People often think of New Zealand as a rugby-crazy country that’s cut off from the rest of the world and full of hobbits, but there are actually a lot of good reasons to move here for college, and not just if you’re a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Here is everything you need to know to get a student visa for New Zealand.

Who DOESN’T need a student visa to go to New Zealand

If you are a citizen of New Zealand or Australia, have a New Zealand residence class visa, or have a valid Australian permanent residence visa (including a current Australian resident return visa) without conditions, you do not need a student visa for New Zealand. If none of the above describes you, you will need to apply for a student visa.

People who DO need a student visa to study in New Zealand
If you are not from New Zealand or Australia and want to study in New Zealand for more than three months, you will need a student visa.

With a temporary or visitor visa, you can study in New Zealand for less than three months. If you want to take a longer course, you have to get a student visa.

How to apply for a visa to study in New Zealand
Before going there, you can apply for a New Zealand student visa online or in person.

To apply in person in your home country, you will need to contact your local New Zealand consulate or embassy to get an application form and/or an appointment. You can also fill out an application online by going to and making an account. You should fill out the application at least six weeks before your trip to New Zealand.

The application fee is different for each country. You’ll have to prove:

Letter of acceptance from a school in New Zealand
In order to get a student visa for New Zealand, you will need to show proof that you have been accepted at a recognized school in New Zealand.

Proof that there are enough funds

You will also have to show that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees and cover your living costs while you study in New Zealand. This can be done by showing proof of a loan, a scholarship, or other funds (via a sponsor, a loan, a scholarship, government support or sufficient bank balance). If your course is longer than nine months, you must show that you have at least NZD$15,000 (about US$10,870) for each year.

Proof of where to go next

This can be proof that you have already paid for your next trip, proof that you have more money, or an agreement from a sponsor to pay for your next trip. The point is to show that you plan to leave the country once you finish your studies and have enough money to do so.

Travel insurance

Most of the time, your education provider can help you do this.

Medical certificates

If you want to study in New Zealand for more than 12 months, you will need a general medical certificate, a chest x-ray certificate, and possibly a tuberculosis screening.

If you are under 18, you will also need to show proof that you have a place to live, and if you are 17 or older, you will need a “good character” certificate from the police.

In addition to the documents above, you’ll also need to show:

Two color photos for a passport

A passport that is valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave New Zealand
Evidence that you paid the application fee
When a student visa is requested online, it usually takes 20 days to be processed. When a student visa is requested on paper, it usually takes 25 days to be processed.

With a student visa, can you work in New Zealand?

International full-time students with a student visa can legally work in New Zealand for up to 20 hours a week during the school year, and they can work full-time during holidays like Christmas, Easter, and the summer break. Work experience you need for school doesn’t count toward the 20-hour limit. Students from other countries can’t work for themselves.

Students getting a Master’s by Research or a PhD can work as many hours as they want.

You might still be able to work in New Zealand after you finish school, but you will need to check with the visa office and then apply for the right work visa.


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