Student visa COVID-19 information

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

Epidemic management notice information

The New Zealand Government’s epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters is in effect from Thursday 2 April 2020.

Epidemic Management Notice information

Student visa holders in New Zealand

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 their visas automatically 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. Visa type and conditions stay the same. 

Confirm your visa expiry date with our Visa Verification Service:

Visa verification service

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.

Student visa holders may not be able to attend classes in person due to New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions. Students are expected to meet online or remote learning arrangements made with their education provider. For most people, contact classes are expected to resume on Monday 18 May 2020 under Alert Level 2. If your provider has resumed face to face teaching, you are expected to attend.


New visa conditions: Visa holders who do not comply with instructions from a Health Officer 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.

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.

If 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

Short-term variation of conditions

If you are already employed in an essential services role you may be able to work longer hours for up to 6 weeks after Alert Level 3 ends. At 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday 13 May, New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. This means the new conditions will now expire at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday 24 June.

Your employer must have been operating during Alert Level 4 and make a request to vary your visa conditions. There is no fees or levies payable under this special category. You cannot use this process if you hold an interim visa.

Essential Services | MBIE

This process is 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.

Healthcare sector

If you were employed in an essential health worker role (including aged residential care) on 3 April 2020, you will be able to work more than 20 hours for the period 3 April 2020 to 3 July 2020 in order to support the public health response to COVID-19. This also applies to interim visa holders who immediately prior held a student visa. This does not require a short-term variation.

If this does not apply, your employer must use the short-term variation of conditions for you to work more than 20 hours.

Essential health care roles

Supermarket workers

Previous immigration instructions that allowed you to work more than 20 hours on a student visa if you were employed at a supermarket on 23 March 2020 ended on 25 April 2020. Your employer must apply for a short-term variation of conditions if you wish to work more than 20 hours.

Visa processing

Our immigration offices in New Zealand have opened from Alert Level 2 in New Zealand and we will resume visa processing. Our Beijing, Manila, Mumbai and Pacific offices 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