Student visa COVID-19 information

Updates for student visa holders and applicants.

On this page:

Entry for PhD and postgraduate students

Student visa holders in New Zealand

Student visa holders and applicants outside New Zealand

Visa changes for students working in supermarkets during Alert Level 3 or 4

Visa processing

 

Entry for PhD and postgraduate students

The Government is allowing up to 250 international PhD and postgraduate students who have been nominated by their education provider to return to New Zealand to continue their studies.

PhD and postgraduate students may be eligible for this exception to the border restrictions if they hold, or have held, a visa to study in New Zealand in 2020 but have been unable to enter the country. Eligible students who would like to be considered should contact their education provider.

Eligibility and identification | Ministry of Education

Partners and dependants of nominated students may be included in applications, in line with current visa requirements.

Travel to New Zealand

All travellers must pay Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) charges.

Travel to New Zealand | miq.govt.nz

Student visa holders in New Zealand

WARNING

If you have a visa you must follow health instructions in New Zealand or you can be detained and deported.

Apply for a new visa or a variation of conditions if you: 

  • have completed your studies
  • are unable to complete your studies
  • want to extend your course, or
  • want to change your course or education provider.

Normal fees apply.

Explore New Zealand visa options

COVID-19 short-term visitor visa

You can apply for the new COVID-19 short-term visitor visa if you intend to leave New Zealand but are unable to travel before your student visa expires. You will need to pay a fee when applying. You can apply more than once.

COVID-19 Short-term Visitor visa

Student visa holders and applicants outside New Zealand

New Zealand’s border is closed to most travellers, including student visa holders, and entry is strictly controlled.

Critical purpose reasons you can travel to New Zealand

Many student visa holders who are outside New Zealand who do not meet entry criteria will be able to study with their education provider online.

If the 'first entry before' date on your visa has passed you will not be able to travel to New Zealand on that visa. When the border re-opens and you have re-confirmed your study plans, you will need to apply for a new student visa before you will be able to travel to New Zealand. 

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

Student visa applicants who are outside New Zealand can study online without a visa. When New Zealand’s border restrictions are lifted, you can provide evidence of your online study to support your visa application. If you choose to study online in your home country first, you will still need to meet standard student visa requirements to be granted a student visa. These requirements include being a genuine student, having sufficient funds for maintenance, and being of good health and character.

If you decide to cancel or defer your study plans, contact your education provider. If your visa application has not been processed you can contact us to withdraw it. Requests for visa application fee refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Post-study work visa eligibility

Current requirements for post-study work visa applications still apply - at least 30 weeks full-time study in New Zealand for qualifications at level 7 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, or at least 60 weeks full-time study in New Zealand for qualifications at levels 4 to 6. If you choose to study online in your home country you will still need to meet the requirement to study in New Zealand to be eligible for a post-study work visa.

Visa changes for students working in supermarkets during Alert Level 3 or 4

Changes have been made to relax visa restrictions for some visa holders to work at a supermarket to support New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 when a region is in Alert Level 3 or 4, from 20 August 2020 to 31 July 2021.

If a student is employed by a supermarket on the day immediately prior to the region entering Alert Level 3 or 4, they will be able to work for more than 20 hours.

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

Supermarkets mean those operated by:

  • Woolworths New Zealand – owners of Countdown, Super Value and FreshChoice supermarkets
  • Foodstuffs Limited – owners of New World, Pak n Save and Four Square.

Visa processing

We are processing visa applications from people in New Zealand. Most of our visa processing offices outside of New Zealand remain closed.

We are not processing visa applications from people outside New Zealand. Legally we cannot grant a visa to someone unlikely to be able to enter New Zealand. This applies to most people outside the country.

Offshore visa application suspension

From 10 August 2020, the Government suspended the ability for people offshore to apply for a temporary visa (including student visas), now extended until February 2021.

COVID 19 - Key Updates I Visa processing

Suspension of overseas visa applications

Embassies | MFAT

Further information

We will update this page with new information when it becomes available.

0800 358 5453 | Healthline

Advice and support on life as an international student in New Zealand | NauMai

Contact us

Immigration Contact Centre is currently experiencing extremely high call volumes and you may face an extended delay in your call being answered.

+64 9 952 1679 | outside New Zealand

0508 225 288 | within New Zealand