How to Get New Zealand Student Visa | Step-by-Step Procedures

New Zealand is about 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and about 1000 kilometers (600 miles) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. You can work up to 20 hours per week during the semester if you have a part-time job while studying in New Zealand. During scheduled vacations, you can work full-time.

They typically grant visas to students who have been accepted into a program of study at a New Zealand university or college that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA has also approved). Have you considered studying in New Zealand but don’t know the process of a student visa in New Zealand?

This article is a full guide, providing information and all the documents you need to get started. Keep reading.

What are the Types Of Student Visa in New Zealand?

The following are the various student visas available in New Zealand:

  • Fee-Paying Student Visa: This visa is valid for up to four years of full-time study. They also permitted the visa holder to work part-time.
  • Exchange Student Visa: This visa allows you to enroll in a full-time course in New Zealand for up to four years through an approved student exchange program.
  • Pathway Student Visa: A Pathway Student Visa allows you to enroll in three consecutive study courses for up to five years. Individual study courses do not cause the application of separate visas. With a Pathway Student Visa, you can work part-time.
  • Foreign Government Supported Student Visa: You can study full-time in New Zealand for up to four years on a foreign government scholarship or loan.
  • New Student Visa Pathway. If you intend to study over one course in New Zealand the New Pathway Student Visa Pilot Program is for you. This program allows you to enroll in three consecutive courses on a single student visa for up to three years in a row.

Advantages of applying through the New Pathway Student Visa Pilot scheme:

  • Use only once: Once you get a study visa under this scheme, you may take three courses over a time of a maximum of 5 years.
  • Uninterrupted study experience: The new Pathway Student Visa makes transitioning between courses easier and more seamless. This means you can devote more time to your studies rather than visiting the immigration office.
  • Improved support from education providers: As part of this pilot student visa program, you can expect improved support from your education providers until you complete the courses. To take care of your education in New Zealand, your education providers must have a formal agreement in place.
  • Scope of work to be done while studying: One of the appealing features of the New Pathway Student Visa Pilot program is the ability to work while studying in New Zealand.

Depending on the nature of your course, you may work up to 20 hours per week during the semesters. During your vacations, you can work full-time.

How Student Visa Works in New Zealand

Once you have obtained a New Zealand Student visa, you will study for up to three (3) courses over a maximum of five (5) years on the same visa without having to return to your home country. They will plan out all of your studies from the start, transitioning between courses (and providers) much smoother and allowing you to focus on your studies.

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In New Zealand, your education providers will also assist or support you throughout your entire course until the end.

If you are receiving an education from over one Pathway taking part institution, the providers must have a formal agreement to care for you and your education while you are in New Zealand.

Some courses allow you to work up to 20 hours per week and full-time during scheduled breaks and/or summer vacation. If your first course is accepted into New Zealand’s work rights, you will be able to work for the duration of your visa.

If it is only available for your second or subsequent program of study, you must apply to Immigration New Zealand for the various conditions before you can begin working.

Requirements or Eligibility Criteria for Student Visa in New Zealand

To be eligible to apply for a student visa in New Zealand, you would have to be admitted into a university in New Zealand for your course of study. Here is a list of the documents you must submit when applying for a student visa in New Zealand.

  • Offer a letter from a recognized educational institute or education provider.
  • Proof that you have enough money to cover your tuition and living expenses while in New Zealand.
  • A copy of your current passport
  • Passport-sized photos taken recently
  • If you are under the age of 18, it guarantees you accommodation, if not, you would need proof of your accommodation.
  • Proof of payment of the application fee for a student visa
  • Certificates of Medical Fitness and Police Clearance
  • A copy of your return flight ticket or proof that you have enough money to buy one

How Long is the New Zealand Student Visa Valid?

The visa is valid for the duration of your course if it is less than a year-long, or for approximately 12 months if it is longer than a year (you will be required to renew your visa through the International Student Office of your university after this time if your course lasts longer than a year).

What is the Fees and Cost Of Student Visa in New Zealand?

The total amount you would be required to pay for your New Zealand visa is about $270 (INR 13,182.63)

A formal academic offer from a New Zealand Ministry of Education-approved educational institution or a course approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority is required for a New Zealand study visa.

You or your guardian will provide proof that you can pay your tuition fees (which are typically NZ $20,000-30,000 per year for international students). Alternatively, you must demonstrate that your chosen institution has offered you a scholarship or grant to cover these expenses.

You’ll also need to show that you have enough money to live on while in the country. Financial proof can come from you or a parent/guardian, but you’ll need at least NZ $15,000 to support yourself for the first year.

If they deny your application for a student visa for any reason, the application fee is non-refundable. The conversion into different currencies is based on current conversion rates, which are subject to change. Visa application fees are subject to change.

How To Apply For Student Visa In New Zealand?

If you show interest in applying for a student visa in New Zealand, the step-by-step guide will help

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Step 1: Apply for a college/university

To learn more about the courses these shortlisted colleges/universities offer, go to their official websites. Following that, decide on a course of study. Then you can apply for admission to that college/university online. You can also apply offline using a paper application.

You will submit a few documents when applying for a study visa in New Zealand. Complete the application process by submitting the required documents. Then you have to wait for the offer letter.

Step 2: Put together your medical certificate and police clearance certificate (PCC)

You must undergo a thorough medical examination to get a medical certificate when you receive an offer letter from an educational institute. A doctor who the New Zealand Immigration Department has approved must perform the medical exam.

Simultaneously, you must apply for a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) from your local Deputy Commissioner of Police or Regional Passport Office.

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Step 3: Submit your visa application

You must now submit your visa application along with the documentation. The immigration website of New Zealand has a list of documents required for various study visa categories.

Step 4: Paying the tuition fees

After submitting your visa application, you will receive an “Approval in Principle (AIP).” This authorization is from the Immigration New Zealand website. You must pay your tuition fees to the respective college/university for the first year.

Step 5: Await the result

After submitting the visa application form and paying the fees, you must await the final decision. They will communicate the outcome of your New Zealand study visa application to you via email.

If they approve your application, an immigration NZ officer will issue you a visa soon.

Student Visa Processing Time in New Zealand

The time to process a New Zealand Student Visa heavily depends on your study course and the educational institute you are applying to.

The New Zealand student visa process takes approximately four to five weeks from start to finish (on average!), so plan time to ensure that everything is in order before your course begins. We recommend applying with at least two months to spare.

If immigration requires more information, the New Zealand Immigration department will notify you, but you are almost there! If you applied online, you should receive an eVisa once your application is approved.

Can I Get A Student Visa In New Zealand Without IELTS?

Yes, you can get a study visa to New Zealand without taking the IELTS. Before approving your visa, the New Zealand Immigration authority will interview you to assess your English language communication skills.

If English is your school’s official instruction medium, you can get a certificate stating unequivocally that you attended an English medium school from grades 8 to 12. This letter would serve as proof of your command of the English language.

Furthermore, some universities may request that you attend an interview with an admissions officer to assess your language skills. It is important to note that the school board (CBSE, ISCE, or State board) you attended makes no difference as long as the instruction medium is English. Alternatively, you will be eligible if you attended an English medium school for at least 5 years or 3 years in secondary school.

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You can also submit proof of the above when applying to a New Zealand university. Please keep in mind that in both cases, you will introduce additional documents such as school mark sheets.

For international students, there are many standard English language tests available. You can look through them and select one that you believe will be simple for you. Some of the standard English tests accepted by universities in New Zealand are:

  • PTE
  • NZCEL (New Zealand Certificate in the English Language)
  • CPE (Cambridge English: Proficiency)
  • CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced)

Working While Studying In New Zealand

You can work up to 20 hours per week during the semester if you have a part-time job while studying in New Zealand. During scheduled vacations, you can work full-time.

Frequently Asked Questions

To be eligible for a student visa, you must: be accepted for a course at an education institute approved by the Ministry of Education or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA); and have money for your tuition fees or proof of a scholarship that covers your fees.

Immigration New Zealand recommends you allow four weeks (20 working days) for the processing of online student visa applications and five to six weeks for hard copy applications.

Once the visa fee has been paid, the applicant will be able to schedule a visa interview with the New Zealand Embassy/Consulate. The visa interview is the final stage of the application process in which one of the Consular Officers will ask questions in order to evaluate the applications.

Your passport, which must be valid for at least three months beyond the end of your stay in New Zealand. A letter of acceptance from a New Zealand education provider stating the minimum course duration, total tuition fee, and whether tuition is paid in domestic or foreign currency.

Ten years. Even after a ten-year gap, a student can apply for a visa to New Zealand if he or she can provide credible evidence of what he or she has been doing in terms of work experience, studies, and skill set.


You may attend an interview (usually conducted online or over the phone) as part of the application process to determine your eligibility for the New Zealand study visa.

We do not intend these types of interviews to deceive or catch you off guard. You’ll answer lot of questions about where you want to study, what you’re learning, your plans, and your future career goals.

Make sure you have a few “standard” answers prepared, especially if you suffer from interview nerves, so you don’t get tongue-tied on the big day. The best thing you can do is respond to these questions slowly and truthfully, taking care to articulate yourself properly.



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