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When you need an NZ student visa

You need a student visa if you want to study full time in New Zealand for more than 3 months.

You must be accepted into a course with an approved educational provider, such as a school, university or polytechnic, before you can apply for a student visa.

The only exceptions to this are the dependent children of people who are applying for, or already hold a work visa or a student visa.

What you can study

You can only study programmes that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has approved for international students.

Find a course

Types of student visas

There are 3 main visas that let you study full time in New Zealand. There are also student visas for people from specific countries or people coming here to study for a specific reason.

Explore visa options to study

1. If you are taking a single course

A Fee Paying Student Visa lets you study for up to 4 years on an approved course.

Fee Paying Student Visa

2. If you are taking several courses

A Pathway Student Visa lets you study as many as 3 courses one after another for up to 5 years with an approved provider — for example, secondary school studies followed by study towards a bachelor’s degree.

Pathway Student Visa

3. If you’re in NZ and you want your children to study here too

A Dependent Child Student Visa is for the children (19 or younger) of people who are in New Zealand on some student or work visas.

Dependent Child Student Visa

When you have a work visa, you may be able to support your partner and dependent children to get a visa too, but there are some restrictions.

Bringing family if you have a work visa

Studying on other visas

Studying on a visitor visa

You may be able to study on a visitor visa if:

  • your course is 3 months or less, or
  • you plan to study part time for up to 9 months, as long as you apply to vary the conditions of your visa first.

Studying on a work visa

You may be able to study on a work visa if:

  • your course is 3 months or less, or
  • your employer needs you to do some study as part of your job.

All visa options to study

Students who do not need a visa

You do not need a student visa to study if:

  • you’re an NZ citizen or resident
  • you’re an Australian citizen
  • you have a permanent resident visa for Australia — without conditions.

What full-time study means

You’re studying full time if you:

  • attend primary or secondary school
  • enroll for at least 3 papers (or equivalent) each semester at a tertiary institution such as a university or polytechnic, or you
  • study on a course at a private training establishment (PTE):
    • for at least 20 hours a week, or
    • if the course is Level 7 or above on the New Zealand Qualification Framework, you take at least 3 papers (or equivalent) each semester.

Understanding New Zealand qualifications

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