Having a student visa means you can study in New Zealand for a set time at a specified institution as a full-time student.
You can only stay in New Zealand on a student visa for a maximum of four years. There are four ways that Immigration New Zealand (INZ) decides the length of your visa.
If you are enrolled in years 1 to 8 of a school, or you are a student aged 13 or under and enrolled in a private training establishment, you must be accompanied by your parent or legal guardian. They must apply for a special visitor visa known as a guardian visa. A guardian visa allows your parent or legal guardian to live with and care for you in New Zealand.
However, your parent or legal guardian won’t have to accompany you if you are one of the following:
If you are aged 14 to 17 years inclusive, or you are enrolling in years 9 to 13 at a school, your parent or legal guardian can also apply for a guardian visa to care for you in New Zealand, but it is not compulsory.
You need to be studying full-time to be eligible for a student visa. However, you may be able to study part-time on a visitor visa if all of the following apply to you:
You may also be able to study part-time if you are in the final semester of a programme of study which will give you a New Zealand qualification that qualifies for points under the Skilled Migrant Category.
You may be allowed to work for up to 20 hours each week and full-time during all scheduled vacations and/or during the summer vacation period.
Note: New Zealand law prohibits any person on a temporary entry class visa, including a student visa, from providing commercial sexual services or operating or investing in a business which provides such services.
You can work part-time for up to 20 hours per week if your full-time programme of study meets one of the following criteria:
* credit for previous English language study undertaken will be given if your ongoing study is continuous (ie no breaks), you held a student visa, and you enrol with the same university or Category One education provider for a subsequent course. For example, if you have completed a 10 week course at the University of Auckland and enrol in a subsequent 10 week English language course starting immediately, you will be eligible for part-time work rights as your total continuous study time of 20 weeks exceeds 14 consecutive weeks duration.
You may work full-time during all vacations scheduled by your education provider if you are undertaking a full-time programme of study of at least one academic year’s duration. An academic year means a programme of study of a minimum of 120 credits during a period of at least eight months, that is, a minimum of two semesters.
If your full-time programme of study has a duration of at least eight months, and is a minimum of two semesters, but is less than 120 credits, you can work full-time over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. You do not have to have a job offer.
If you are enrolled in Masters by research or doctoral degree programmes awarded by a New Zealand tertiary institution, there are no restrictions on the hours you can work.
NZAP students may be granted conditions on their student visa allowing them to work:
To be granted work conditions as an NZAP student, you must be studying under one of the following schemes:
You cannot work if you are studying under one of the following schemes:
If you are studying in years 12 or 13, the last two years of secondary school, you can work up to 20 hours per week during the school year and full-time in the summer vacation period between school years. If you are under the age of 18, you must have written permission from your school and your parents or legal guardian.
Many temporary visa holders may study for up to three months per visa, or for up to three months in every 12-month period where a visa is granted for more than one year. You do not need to apply for a student visa or variation of conditions.
If you are here on a visitor or work visa and you want to study full time for longer than three months, you need to apply for a student visa.
If you are here on a visitor or work visa and you want to study part time for longer than three months, you can apply for a variation of conditions to your current visa.
A variation of conditions is not required if you hold a work visa and you wish to undertake:
If you need to apply for a variation of conditions, you can apply for it when you apply for your work visa or at any stage while holding a work visa.
If you apply for a variation of conditions at the same time as your work visa, you do not pay a fee. If you apply for it after your work visa is granted, then you must pay the relevant fee.
You cannot start studying or undertaking any training until you are granted a variation of conditions.
If your partner or children want to come to New Zealand with you, they need to apply for a visitor visa or, if they will also be studying, their own student visa.
Partners of NZAP students may be eligible for a work visa valid for the duration of their partner's NZAP scholarship. Dependent children may be eligible for a student visa.
You must have appropriate and current medical and travel insurance while you're studying in New Zealand. This is a requirement of the Ministry of Education's Code of Practice.
Student visa holders are generally not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services. People covered by New Zealand’s reciprocal health agreements with Australia and United Kingdom are entitled to publicly funded health care for immediately necessary medical treatment only.
For full details on our health requirements, see the Health Requirements Leaflet (INZ 1121) [PDF 70KB] and the Student Visa Guide (INZ 1013) [PDF 289KB].
For details of our insurance requirements see:
If you study by distance learning with a New Zealand education provider, they may require you to come to New Zealand to undertake practical study, sit exams or meet other requirements.
If you need to stay longer than three months you’ll need a student visa. If your stay is for less than three months you can apply for a visitor visa. For either application we’ll need to see proof that you:
Most people can be considered for a visa to study in New Zealand. However, to protect the interests of New Zealanders we do not grant visas to people who do not meet certain requirements, or who are involved in certain activities.
You will not be granted a student visa if an immigration officer believes you have not made a genuine application for a visa, or that you do not intend to meet the conditions of the visa.
You may also not be granted a visa if:
If we are unsure whether you meet the requirements of your visa, you may need to apply for a limited visa.
If you are not sure whether these conditions apply to you, see our examples of eligibility, or see the requirements in immigration instructions in the Operational Manual.
Once you have a student visa, you must meet certain conditions during your stay:
Note: You may be able to change your programme of study and/or providers once you are here but you must first contact us so that we can either change your visa conditions or consider your application for a new student visa.
If you do not meet these conditions, you may become liable for deportation.
As well as meeting the conditions for all student visa holders, you may become liable for deportation if your NZAP funding stops.
Note: You need written approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade if you want a visa for New Zealand in the two-year period after the end of your or your partner's scholarship.