Immigration New Zealand visa requirements
To get a visa or permit to study in New Zealand you must meet our requirements for international students. The course you intend to undertake must also meet our requirements.
Offer of a place
To get a student visa, you need to have an offer of a place from a New Zealand education provider. The offer must include:
- the name of the course and the minimum time required for completing it.
- proof that the course and course provider meet New Zealand’s requirements for international students.
- the amount of the fee for the complete course, or if the course is longer than one year, the annual fee.
- whether you have to pay course fees and whether the fees are domestic or foreign fees.
- whether you are studying full-time or part-time.
- Your course must be approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
Primary and secondary schools
Two main kinds of primary and secondary schools in New Zealand can offer places to international students. The main difference between the two is the way they are funded, which affects their ability to offer courses to international students.
- State or integrated primary and secondary schools are funded by the New Zealand government. Schools accredited by New Zealand’s Ministry of Education can offer places to full fee-paying international students after all New Zealand domestic and NZAID scholarship students are placed.
- Private primary and secondary schools are schools funded mainly through student fees. Provided they are accredited by the Ministry of Education, these schools can offer places equally to international students and New Zealand students.
Health and character
You have to meet our health and character requirements and prove to us that your intent is genuine.
Some people who have committed serious crimes will not be allowed into New Zealand at all. See section 7(1) of the Immigration Act.
Evidence of funds to support yourself
To gain a student visa or permit we want to see that you are able to meet your living costs during your stay.
Evidence may include:
- enough money held in New Zealand by you, or on your behalf,
- an undertaking by another person to cover your accommodation and living costs (we’ll want to see this before you leave for New Zealand),
- an undertaking by a New Zealand sponsor to cover your accommodation and living costs, or
- financial assistance available to you under aid programmes operated in New Zealand by a government agency.
Courses less than nine months
If the course you intend to study lasts less than nine months you’ll need to show us you have access to:
- NZ$1000 for each month of your stay,
- NZ$400 for each month, if your accommodation is already paid for (you will need to show us that you’ve paid), or
- a letter from your education provider saying that your accommodation and other living costs are included in the package you’ve already paid for.
Courses more than nine months
If the course you intend to study lasts more than nine months you’ll need to show us you have access to:
- NZ$10,000 per year to cover your costs during your stay in New Zealand, or
- if you are a citizen of Samoa or Tonga, a written guarantee from a relative who is a New Zealand citizen or resident that they will cover your living costs.
- Evidence of funds may be in the form of cash, travellers' cheques, bank drafts, or a recognised credit card with enough credit.
Proof that you plan to leave
So that we are sure that you will leave New Zealand when you have finished your course of study, we will need evidence of how you will leave New Zealand. For example, we may want to see travel tickets out of New Zealand to a country you are allowed to enter, or evidence of enough money held in New Zealand, additional to the funds you’ll need for your living expenses.
You must have a passport that is valid for at least three months past the end of your intended stay.
Once you have a student permit, you must meet certain conditions during your stay:
- You must attend the place of study noted in your permit. However, you can apply to us to change your course or institution.
- If you have to be accompanied by a guardian, you must live with that person.
- You must be able to show that you are passing your course.
- You may only undertake work allowed by your student permit.
- You must obey New Zealand’s laws.
- You must only stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by your permit.
If you break any of these conditions we may revoke your permit.
Please note that this page is meant as a guide only and may not be up-to-date with current legislation. All visa requirements will need to be verified by NZ Immigration.