19th Apr 2023
Afia Azmi

Understanding the New Zealand Student Visa Process: A Comprehensive Guide

New Zealand's robust academic system offers various courses and degrees from some leading universities. It also strongly focuses on developing students' problem-solving and critical thinking skills and providing excellent resources for research and study. Study-abroad students find the country attractive due to its safe and clean environment.

New Zealand student visa system has a range of requirements that international students must meet to be eligible for the visa. Once approved, the visa enables students to study full-time at a New Zealand education institution. This comprehensive system has made New Zealand an attractive option for international students seeking to pursue their education abroad.

Types of New Zealand Student Visa
Student VisaOverseas students can study full-time in New Zealand for up to four years with the most common form of New Zealand student visa, known as the "Fee Paying Student Visa" or "Student Visa". New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), or a New Zealand tertiary institution-approved programme of study, usually accepts students who are granted this visa.
Exchange Student VisaThese are designed for people coming to New Zealand to participate in an approved exchange programme. These visas allow you to study in New Zealand for 12 months and can be used for various activities, including study, work and tourism. 
Pathway Student VisaOverseas students who want to study in New Zealand for an extended period can apply for this visa. It enables students to stay in New Zealand for up to five years and may lead to permanent residency. 
Post-study Work VisaThe Post-Study Work Visa allows eligible international students to stay in New Zealand for up to three years after completing their studies. This visa will enable students to gain practical experience in their field of study, allowing them to develop their skills and knowledge further. 
Foreign Government Supported Student VisaAdditionally, a Foreign Government Supported Student Visa is available for students sponsored by their government to study in New Zealand. This type of visa is specifically designed for those who have been sponsored by their government or an agency/organization with an agreement with the New Zealand Government.
Eligibility for a New Zealand Student Visa
Enrollment in an Approved CourseApplicants must be enrolled in an approved study programme at a New Zealand educational institution. The NZQA or a New Zealand tertiary institution must certify the system. 
Financial SupportProvide proof of adequate funds to cover tuition, living expenses, and travel costs - NZD 20,000 or NZD 1,250 per month for a full year of study. This can be a scholarship letter, bank letter, or financial commitment from a sponsor for housing and living expenses.
Health and CharacterTo be eligible for a New Zealand student visa, you must demonstrate superior health and character, including a medical examination, a police certificate, and potentially a chest X-ray.
English Langauge Proficiency This means that applicants must demonstrate an acceptable level of English proficiency in the form of an IELTS or TOEFL score. 
Intention to leave New ZealandThe intent to leave New Zealand is another crucial eligibility criterion. The student must convince Immigration New Zealand (INZ) that they have the means to cover their tuition and living expenses and that they have a plan to depart the country at the end of their study program.
Immigration RequirementsImmigration New Zealand requires that all student visa applicants must have a valid passport, meet health and character requirements, have a confirmed place at an approved education provider, and demonstrate that they have the financial ability to support themselves while in New Zealand. 
Other Documents

You may need to submit extra paperwork such as a 

  • Completed Student Visa Application Form (INZ 1012)
  • Academic Transcripts and Qualification Certificates
  • Information regarding your Financial Guarantor
  • Proof of payment for the Application Fee
  • Two passport-sized Photographs, as well as any other documents requested by the authorities.
How to apply for a New Zealand student visa? 

Students may apply for a student visa in New Zealand online via the New Zealand Immigration website.

Gather your DocumentsYou will need to gather the documents mentioned above and any others that the New Zealand government may require.
Create an AccountApply online with the required documentation, including proof of financial support, a valid passport, and health insurance. You'll then receive a confirmation email with visa processing information.
Pay the Application FeePay the relevant visa application fee using a credit or debit card. The base visa fee is NZD 375 (INR 19,200 )
Submit your ApplicationOnce you have completed the application form and paid the fee, complete your application online. You must also submit your passport within 20 days of your application date. 
Attend a Biometric AppointmentYou must attend a mandatory biometric meeting to provide your fingerprints and photograph to the New Zealand Immigration authorities for your student visa application.
Wait for a DecisionThe New Zealand Immigration authorities will process your application and notify you of their decision. The New Zealand High Commission takes 63 calendar days to process visas. 


When should a student apply for a New Zealand student visa?

A student should apply for a New Zealand student visa as early as possible, preferably 3 months before the start of their course. By submitting the visa application well in advance, it will provide enough time for the authorities to process the application and resolve any issues or delays that may arise.

It is also imperative to note that the processing time for a New Zealand student visa can vary depending on the volume of applications. In addition, the need for additional information or documentation. Sometimes, it may take longer than the usual processing time, so students should plan accordingly and apply well before their intended travel date. 

Cost of a New Zealand Student Visa

The cost of a New Zealand student visa varies depending on the visa type, the course duration, and the country of origin. As of April 2023, here are the current visa application fees for some common student visa types:

  • Student Visa (offshore) - NZD 330
  • Student Visa (onshore) - NZD 380 
  • Pathway Student Visa - NZD 250 
  • Exchange Student Visa - NZD 130 

Student visas to New Zealand for Indians cost INR 24,000 offline and INR 19,200 online.

New Zealand Dependents Visa

A New Zealand Dependent Visa is designed to allow the partner and children of a New Zealand resident or citizen to join them in New Zealand. This visa type is available to those in a long-term relationship with a New Zealand citizen or resident, or those with an established legal guardianship or parenting order. Appointed family members can include your spouse or partner and dependent children under 18. Additionally, if your dependent children are over 18, they may be eligible for a student visa in their own right.

You must provide evidence of your relationship to bring your dependent family members to New Zealand. You must also show that you have sufficient funds to support them during their stay in New Zealand. You will also need to include their details in your visa application. 

Compliance with the Laws

International students in New Zealand must comply with visa conditions and laws.

This includes -

  • Having the correct visa and attending their enrolled course.
  • Not engaging in illegal or non-related activities.

Not abiding by these conditions can result in deportation from New Zealand and losing their student visa.

Post-study Visa Options
Post-study Work Visa (Open)This visa lets international students work in New Zealand for up to three years after finishing their studies. It's available to all students with qualifications from recognized institutions.
Post-study Work Visa (Employer Assisted)This visa lets international students apply for an open work visa for up to three years with a job offer from a New Zealand employer.
Skilled Migrant CategoryThis visa is available to international students who have completed a Level 4 or higher qualification and possess skills that are in demand by NZ employers.
Entrepreneur Work VisaThis Visa lets international students who graduate from a New Zealand university stay and set up a business for up to three years, gaining valuable local market experience.
Global Impact VisaGlobal Impact Visa offers international students in New Zealand the chance to stay and make a positive impact on the country. They can gain work experience, start a business or contribute to a community project.
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