Student visa COVID-19 information

How COVID-19 affects student visa holders and their education providers in New Zealand.

Epidemic notices

An Epidemic Management Notice relating to immigration matters is in effect from 2 April 2020 until 25 June 2020. It allows for extensions of all temporary entry class visas, where the holder is:

  • still in New Zealand, and
  • their visa expires between 2 April and 9 July inclusive.

Epidemic Management Notice information

Visa holder extensions

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July inclusive, and you are still in New Zealand, your visa will be automatically extended to 25 September 2020. You will get an email to confirm your visa extension. You do not have to do anything. The email will be sent to the most recent email address that the visa holder provided Immigration New Zealand.

You can find your visa expiry date in your eVisa letter, as well as by checking Visa View or the Visa Verification Service on the Immigration New Zealand website.

If you hold a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 1 April or earlier, and you have not applied for another visa, you are now unlawfully in New Zealand. You can either:

  • leave the country immediately if possible, or
  • make a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.

Student visa holders COVID-19 information

Student visa holders can no longer enter New Zealand. Exceptions to the border closure can be made by Immigration New Zealand for exceptional circumstances. The starting point for any consideration is that for the protection of New Zealand the border is closed. Exceptions are only in place for extreme circumstances.

Border closures and exceptions

As educational facilities are closed due to New Zealand’s current COVID-19 Alert Level, student visa holders can’t attend classes in person. Students are expected to study online or remotely. Contact your education provider urgently to discuss your learning arrangements. Online attendance will be recorded. Your education provider can discuss this with INZ.


Self-isolation rules and any other government health measures must be obeyed.

New visa conditions: Visa holders who do not comply with instructions from a Health Officer can be detained and deported.

0800 358 5453 | Healthline

Self-isolation guidance | Ministry of Health

Student visa changes to support essential services

Changes have been made to relax visa restrictions for some visa holders to work in essential services to support New Zealand’s response to COVID-19. Students currently employed by supermarkets and the healthcare sector will be able to work for more than 20 hours in certain circumstances as listed below.

If this applies to you and you want to work more than 20 hours, you will need to discuss your plans with your education provider as you still must meet the study requirements of your student visa.


If you were an employee at a supermarket on 23 March 2020, you may work more than 20 hours per week from 25 March 2020 to 25 April 2020 (inclusive).

This applies to supermarkets operated by Woolworths New Zealand – owners of Countdown, Super Value and FreshChoice supermarkets – and Foodstuffs Limited – owners of New World, Pak n Save and Four Square.

Healthcare sector

If you are currently employed in healthcare roles (including aged residential care) you will be able to work more than 20 hours for three months in order to support the public health response to COVID-19.

Further information about how this will be implemented for healthcare employers will be released when available.

Visa processing

All INZ’s overseas offices are closed for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We only have skeleton staff in New Zealand and their only priority is dealing with any COVID-19 requests. Responses are being prioritised based on the direction of government e.g. health workers, and are intended only for exceptional cases.

Fees and funds

Students who are applying in New Zealand for another student visa must provide a tuition fee receipt with their applications. If you have financial concerns relating to tuition fees you should discuss these with your education provider. INZ will consider applications in this situation on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with your education provider.

Student visa applicants must provide proof of NZD $15,000 of funds per year (pro-rata for courses under 36 weeks). It is vitally important you are able to support yourself financially while in New Zealand.

Students overseas: Deferred study

If you have deferred your study to later in the year or early 2021, and your visa will remain valid over this period, your education provider should notify INZ. Your file will be updated with this information. Your visa remains valid and your visa travel conditions still apply.

If you decide to cancel your study plans, contact your education provider. 


When travel restrictions are lifted let us know your travel plans and your file will be updated accordingly. Any changes to visa conditions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

You can request a change the travel dates of your visa, or you can apply for a new visa once you have a better idea of your new travel dates.

Student visa holders or applicants who have specific questions about their study plans should contact their education provider.

+64 9 952 1679 | outside New Zealand

0508 225 288 | within New Zealand