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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.

Student visa and COVID-19 information — Immigration NZ

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.

Fee Paying Student Visa — criteria

Pathway Student Visa — criteria

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.

Visa factsheet: Dependent Child Student Visa

Choosing a course

Find a programme of study or qualification that suits you.

Find a course

Find primary, intermediate and secondary schools that teach international students.

Find an institution or school

If you’re applying for a Pathway Student Visa, you must study with a Pathway Education Provider.

Pathway Education Providers

Study fees

Most people who come to NZ to study pay full fees as international students.

Cost of living — fees

Domestic 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.

Definition of a domestic student in New Zealand

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.

Cost of living


Health and character

To get a visa, you need to be healthy and of good character.

Health requirements for a student visa

Character requirements for a student visa

Health insurance

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.

Visa factsheet: Guardian of a Student Visitor Visa

School hostels

Documents to provide with your application

Your identity

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.

Acceptable visa photos

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.

Fee Paying Student Visa — criteria

Pathway Student Visa — criteria

Application fees

You also need to pay the correct application fee.

Fees, decision times and where to apply

Utility links and page information

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