Before you apply for a student visa
Before you start your application, you need to plan your study, work out how you’ll support yourself in NZ and check which documents you need to provide with your application.
Find out how COVID-19 affects student visa holders and their education providers.
Making study and travel plans before you apply
To qualify for a student visa, you’ll need:
- to be accepted for a course at an education institute approved by the Ministry of Education or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)
- money for your tuition fees or proof that you have a scholarship that pays your fees
- proof you have enough money to live on while you’re in NZ, and
- a ticket out of NZ or evidence that you enough money to buy one.
Note: The dependent children of people who already hold a work visa or a student visa do not need to be accepted for a course before they apply for a student visa.
Choosing a course
Find a programme of study or qualification that suits you.
Find primary, intermediate and secondary schools that teach international students.
If you’re applying for a Pathway Student Visa, you must study with a Pathway Education Provider.
Most people who come to NZ to study pay full fees as international students.
If you qualify as a domestic student, your fees are usually less — but you’ll still need a student visa.
You’re a domestic student if, for example you’re:
- studying at primary or secondary school under a government-approved exchange programme
- studying at primary or secondary school in NZ because your parent or legal guardian is here on a student or work visa
- studying for a PhD.
Paying your living expenses
To support yourself while you study in NZ, you need to show you have one of the following:
- NZD$15,000 for your first year of study
- NZD$1250 for each month if your programme of study is less than 36 months
- a scholarship, such as a New Zealand Aid Programme scholarship, or
- a sponsor or family member who’s agreed to accept financial responsibility for you while you’re in NZ.
Health and character
To get a visa, you need to be healthy and of good character.
If you’re a fee paying student, you need approved medical and travel insurance. Contact your education provider to get help with arranging medical and travel insurance.
Students aged 9 or younger
International students who are 9 or younger must:
- have a parent or legal guardian living with them, or
- live in a school hostel approved by NZQA.
Documents to provide with your application
You need to provide:
- a colour photo of your head and shoulders — or 2, if you apply using the printed form
- a passport that’s valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave NZ.
Other supporting documents
If you’ve been offered a place on a course of study, the institution you’ll study at gives you a document confirming your place. You must include this with your visa application.
You may also have to provide:
- medical certificates
- police certificates, and
- translations of any documents not in English.
You also need to pay the correct application fee.