Step by Step Procedures on How To Get New Zealand Student Visa

Written by Michael Nz. on April 29, 2022

8 min read
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New Zealand is located about 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and about 1,000 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 generally grant visas to students who have been accepted onto a program of study at a New Zealand university or college that has also been approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Have you been thinking about going to study in New Zealand but you do not know the process of a student visa in New Zealand?

This article is a complete guide that provides information and all the documents you need to get started. Keep reading.

What are the types of student visas in New Zealand?

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

  • Paid Student Visa: This visa is valid for up to four years of full-time study. They also allowed 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 courses of study for up to five years. Individual courses of study do not give rise to separate visa applications. 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 grant or loan from a foreign government.
  • New student visa route. If you intend to study more than 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 can take three courses in a maximum time of 5 years.
  • Seamless study experience: The new Pathway student visa makes the transition between courses easier and smoother. This means that you can spend more time on your studies instead of visiting the immigration office.
  • Better support from education providers: As part of this student visa pilot program, you can expect better support from your education providers until you complete the courses. To arrange for 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 attractive 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 semesters. During your vacation, you can work full time.

How does the New Zealand student visa work?

Once you have obtained a New Zealand student visa, you will study 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 all your studies from the beginning, and the transition between courses (and providers) will be much smoother and will allow you to concentrate on your studies.

In New Zealand, your education providers will also help or support you throughout the course to the end.

RELATED: How to apply for a student visa in Israel

If you are receiving education from more than one Pathway participating institution, the providers must have a formal agreement to look after 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 vacations. If your first course is accepted in New Zealand employment law, you will be able to work for the duration of your visa.

If you are only available for your second or subsequent program of study, you must apply to Immigration New Zealand for the various conditions before you can start work.

Requirements or Eligibility Criteria for the Student Visa in New Zealand

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

  • 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 size photos were taken recently
  • If you are under 18 years old, 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 Aptitude and Police Authorization
  • A copy of your return plane 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, or for approximately 12 months if it is more than a year (you will be required to renew your visa through your university’s International Student Office after this once if your course is longer than a year).

What are the New Zealand student visa fees and cost?

The total amount you will need to pay for your New Zealand visa is approximately $270 (INR 13,182.63)

A formal academic offer from an educational institution approved by the New Zealand Ministry of Education 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 afford the tuition fees (which are typically NZ$20,000 to NZ$30,000 per year for international students). Alternatively, you must show that your chosen institution has offered you a scholarship or grant to cover these expenses.

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

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

How to apply for a student visa in New Zealand?

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

Step 1: Apply to a college/university

For more information on the courses offered at these shortlisted colleges/universities, please visit their official websites. After that, decide on a course of study. You can then apply for admission to that college/university online. You can also apply offline using a paper application.

RELATED: How to apply for a student visa in Italy.

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

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

As soon as you receive an offer letter from an educational institute, you must undergo a full medical examination to obtain a medical certificate. A doctor who has been approved by the New Zealand Immigration Department must carry out the medical examination.

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

Read: Study in Spain: Tuition Fees, Cost of Living and Admission 

Step 3: Submit your visa application

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

Step 4: Pay the tuition fees

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

Step 5: wait for the result

After submitting the visa application form and paying the fees, you have to wait for the final decision. You will be notified of the outcome of your New Zealand study visa application by email.

If your application is approved, a New Zealand immigration officer will grant you a visa as soon as possible.

New Zealand student visa processing time

The time period for processing a New Zealand student visa depends largely on your course of study 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 ahead to ensure everything is in order before your course begins. We recommend submitting the application with at least two months of margin.

If immigration requires more information, Immigration New Zealand will notify you, but you’re almost there! If you applied online, you should receive an eVisa as soon as your application is approved.

Can I get a New Zealand student visa without IELTS?

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

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

Additionally, some universities may require 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 medium of instruction is English. Alternatively, you will be eligible if you attended an English intermediate school for at least 5 years in elementary school or 3 years in high school.

You can also provide proof of the above when applying to a New Zealand university. Please note that in both of the above cases, you will need to submit additional documents, such as school report cards.

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

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

Work while you study 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.

Frequent questions

What is the procedure for obtaining a New Zealand student visa?

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 tuition or proof of a scholarship to cover your expenses.

How long does it take to get a New Zealand student visa?

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

Is there an interview for a student visa to New Zealand?

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 to evaluate the applications.

What documents are required for a New Zealand student visa?

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

In New Zealand, how much gap is acceptable to study?

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


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

We do not intend that these types of interviews to mislead you or catch you off guard. You will answer any questions about where you want to study, what you are learning, and your future career plans and goals.

Make sure you have some “standard” answers ready, especially if you’re suffering from interview nerves, so you don’t get tongue-tied on the big day. The best thing you can do is answer these questions slowly and honestly, taking care to articulate yourself correctly.

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