visas & working
If you are studying in New Zealand for over three months you will need a student visa, unless you are a citizen (or hold a residence visa) of either New Zealand or Australia.
How to apply
You will need to fill out an application form and send this, along with all the required documents, to your nearest immigration office or embassy. You can find details of the offices on the Immigration New Zealand website. The application form can be requested from your local office, or be downloaded and printed from the website.
What documentation will you need?
- Evidence of your offer of a place at an institution
- A receipt for tuition fees you have paid
- Academic transcripts/certificates and attendance reports for any previous study in New Zealand
- Evidence of sufficient funds and outward travel, such as a bank statement
- A police certificate, less than six months old, if you are studying in New Zealand for more than two years
- A medical certificate if you are staying in New Zealand for more than one year
- A Temporary Entry X-ray certificate to show you have been screened for tuberculosis (TB) if you are staying in New Zealand for more than six months
- All students are also required to have relevant medical and travel insurance, and you may be required to show proof of this
The application fee you will need to pay depends on your country of residence and where you are living. New Zealand has some agreements with other countries that mean you may not need to pay an application fee. To find out how much your fees will be, try the Immigration New Zealand's fees finder.
If you are coming to New Zealand to study for up to three months on a course that has been exempted or approved by the NZQA, you can study on a visitor visa.
Normally, you must be studying full-time to qualify for a student visa. However, if you wish to study part-time, you may be able to qualify for a student visa under certain conditions.
If your partner or children want to come to New Zealand with you they will need to apply for their own relevant visa - usually a visitor visa, or a student visa (if they are also studying).
A student visa only allows you to stay in New Zealand for a limited time (normally a maximum of four years). If you are a full-fee paying student you may be granted a visa for the period for which you have paid your fees, unless you are on a 'Length of Course' visa. If you are a scholarship student you may be granted a visa for the period of your award.
If you are in full-time study you will usually be allowed to work, subject to a maximum number of hours. In order to be able to work, you will need to apply for a change in your visa conditions.
How many hours can I work?
- On a course of at least two years with a private training establishment or tertiary institution, OR
- On a course culminating in a New Zealand qualification that would qualify for points in the Skilled Migrant Category, OR
- In a full-time course of at least six months at a private training establishment or tertiary institution, providing your immigration officer is satisfied that your main reason for studying is to develop your English language skills and that your ability is a minimum of IELTS score 5.0, OR
- Studying at a tertiary level for at least one academic year as part of an approved tertiary student exchange scheme
Can I support myself with my earnings?
Although part-time work can be an extra help with your living costs, you should be able to pay your tuition fees and living costs whilst studying in New Zealand without working. You will need to prove that you have access to enough funds for your stay in New Zealand in order to be granted a student visa, and part-time work cannot be accounted for as part of these funds.
Can I do work placements?
You can undertake work placements if they are needed to meet course requirements for practical work experience, or if they are within the terms detailed above.
- Up to two or three years if you have an offer of employment relevant to your qualification
- Up to twelve months if you don't have an offer of employment, then a further visa of up to two or three years when you have found a job
For more information on any aspect of visas & working in New Zealand, try the New Zealand Immigration Website.