Student visa COVID-19 information

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

On this page:

Epidemic management notice information

Student visa holders in New Zealand

Student visa holders and applicants overseas

Student visa changes to support essential services

Visa processing


Epidemic management notice information

The New Zealand Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters is in came into effect from Thursday 2 April 2020. It was changed on 24 June 2020, but the visa extensions that were made on 2 April 2020 will remain in place.

Epidemic Management Notice information

Student visa holders in New Zealand

Visa extensions under the Epidemic Management Notice

Holders of a work, student, visitor, limited or interim visa with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who were in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have had their visas extended to 25 September 2020. Extensions were confirmed with an email from Immigration New Zealand to the most recent address provided by the student or their agent in early April 2020. The conditions on the visa stay the same. 

If you were in New Zealand on 2 April and your visa expired before 9 July

Holders of student visas with an expiry date of 2 April to 9 July 2020 inclusive who were in New Zealand on 2 April 2020 will have had their visas extended to 25 September 2020. This was under the original Epidemic Management Notice. A confirmation of this was emailed to all visa holders. 

Confirm your visa expiry date with our Visa Verification Service:

Visa verification service

If your visa expires after 9 July and you are in New Zealand

Holders of student visas with an expiry date after 9 July, your visa was not extended by the Epidemic Management Notice or the change announced on 7 July 2020. Your current visa expiry remains the same. You need to:

  • leave the country before your visa expires,
  • make an application for a new visa.

Students who have completed their studies, who are unable to complete their studies, who wish to extend their course, or to change their course / education provider, should submit an application for a new visa or variation of conditions. Normal fees apply.

Explore New Zealand visa options


New visa conditions: Visa holders must follow health instructions in New Zealand or you can be detained and deported.

Students whose visa expired on or before 1 April are unlawfully in the country and must leave New Zealand immediately if possible or make a request for a special temporary or resident visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.

If you do not leave New Zealand before your visa expires

Student visa holders and applicants overseas

Student visa holders can no longer enter New Zealand. Exceptions to the border closure can be made by Immigration New Zealand for exceptional circumstances only.

Border closures and exceptions

If the “first entry before” date on your visa has passed you will need to apply for a new visa. 


As there is no date set for lifting of border restrictions do not apply for a student visa if you are outside of New Zealand.

Students who are overseas 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.

Current requirements for post-study work visa applications still apply - 30 weeks minimum study in New Zealand for qualifications at level 7 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework or 60 weeks for qualifications at levels 4 to 6. If you choose to study online in your home country first a future post-study work visa application may be affected.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) sets the international student English language entry requirements for most education providers.

Latest NZQA information on how to fulfil English language requirements

If you decide to cancel 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 and changes to visa conditions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Student visa changes to support essential services

Changes have been made to relax visa restrictions for student visa holders to work in essential services to support New Zealand’s response to COVID-19. Students currently employed in essential services will be able to work for more than 20 hours in certain circumstances.

Short-term variation of conditions

Short-term variation of conditions for essential services was a temporary measure in response to COVID-19. INZ stopped accepting requests for short term variations for essential services on Thursday 18 June 2020.

This short term variation of conditions applied while New Zealand was at Alert Level 3 and 6 weeks after that. At 11:59 p.m. on 13 May, New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. This meant the new conditions expired at 11:59 p.m. on 24 June 2020.

Essential Services | MBIE

This process was not intended to allow students to work full time long term. If you wish to change from a student to a work visa, you must qualify for and apply for an appropriate work visa.

Visa processing

Our immigration offices in New Zealand are now open and we have started student visa processing. Our offices in Beijing, Manila, Mumbai and the Pacific remain closed. We will prioritise temporary entry visas, including student and post-study visas, and residence visas for applicants in New Zealand.

COVID 19 - Key Updates I Visa processing


We are unable to confirm processing timeframes for any visa categories at this time.

If you need to submit a new visa application, it is recommended that you submit an online application where you can as paper based application processing will be delayed.

If you are a student in New Zealand applying for another student visa you must provide a tuition fee receipt and 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. Your home country's embassy in New Zealand may be able to offer support.

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