How to Get a New Zealand Student Visa

Here is all you should know to apply for a New Zealand student visa. New Zealand is often crudely stereotyped as a rugby-mad nation isolated from the rest of the world and swarming with hobbits, but, truth be told, there are a lot of reasons to give consideration to moving to a university there (and not just because you are a super-fan of Lord of the Rings).

People who DON’T require a student visa for New Zealand

If you’re a national of New Zealand or Australia, possess a New Zealand residence class visa, or possess a valid Australian permanent residence visa (encompassing a current Australian resident return visa) without conditions the visa, you do not require a student visa for New Zealand. If none of the above relates to you then you will have to apply for a New Zealand Student Visa.

People who DO require a New Zealand student visa

If you are intending to study in New Zealand for over three months and are not from New Zealand or Australia, you will require a New Zealand Student Visa.

For programs not up to three months long, you can study in New Zealand on a temporary/visitor visa. For longer programs it is compulsory that you get a student visa.

New Zealand student visa – How to apply

To submit an application for a New Zealand student visa, you can apply online or in person.

To apply in person at your home nation, you will have to get in touch with your local New Zealand embassy or consulate to obtain an application form and/or appointment. On the other hand, you can apply online by going to the official website, and signing up for an account. You should submit an application at least six weeks before you plan to move to New Zealand.

Application fees vary based on your nation of origin. You will have to show:

  • Admission letter from a school in New Zealand

For your New Zealand student visa application, you will be required to provide evidence of acceptance at a licensed New Zealand-based education provider.

  • Evidence of sufficient funds

You will also be required to show that you have enough money to pay your tuition fees (this can comprise proof of loan coverage, scholarship award or other funds) and evidence of funds to provide for your living expenses while you study in New Zealand (through a sponsor, a scholarship, a loan, government support or sufficient bank balance). You have to prove you have a minimum of NZD$15,000 (~US$10,870) for every year if your program is longer than nine months.

  • Proof of onward travel

This can be proof of already paid-for return tickets, evidence of additional funds or agreement from a sponsor to pay for return travel. The point is to prove that you plan, and can afford, to leave the nation once you conclude your studies.

  • Travel insurance

This can usually be settled through your education provider.

  • Medical certificates

If you are intending to study in New Zealand for over 12 months you will have to supply a general medical certificate, a chest x-ray certificate and probably go through a tuberculosis screening.

If you are under 18 years of age, you will also have to present evidence of arranged housing, and if you are 17 years of age or older, a police certificate of “good character”.

In addition to the above, you’ll also need to submit:

  • Two color passport photos
  • A passport valid for minimum of three months after the date you plan to leave New Zealand
  • Evidence you have paid the application fee

Student visas applied for online typically take 20 days to treat, while student visas applied for through the paper form take 25 days to treat.

Can you work in New Zealand with a student visa?

Foreign full-time students with a New Zealand Student Visa are lawfully allowed to work in New Zealand for up to 20 hours each week during session, and may work full-time during all reserved holiday periods like Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. Work experience needed in your studies does not count towards the 20-hour restriction. Foreign students cannot be self-employed.

Masters by research and PhD candidates can work as many hours as they desire.

After your program, you may still be qualified to work in New Zealand, but you will have to check with the visa consultants and then apply for the relevant work visa.

For additional information about New Zealand student visas or concerning your ability to work in New Zealand, check the government’s official immigration website.

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