Varying the conditions of a student visa

Student visas may be changed to let you study a different course, change your education provider or where you are studying. In some cases, you can change your visa to let you work.

You have a student visa and want to work

You may be allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during all scheduled holidays and/or during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Part-time work (Tertiary students)

You can work up to 20 hours a week if you’re studying full-time for any of the following:

  • for at least 2 years
  • for a New Zealand qualification that gains points under the Skilled Migrant Category
  • to develop English language skills, on a course that meets certain conditions
  • for a foundation programme for at least 1 academic year at level 4 or higher on the New Zealand Qualification Framework(NZQF), at an education provider in Canterbury.

Full-time work (Tertiary students)

You may be able to work full-time:

  • during scheduled breaks in study, if you’re studying full-time for at least 1 academic year and your course is worth more than 120 credits
  • during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, if you’re studying full-time and your course is worth less than 120 credits.

Secondary school students

If you’re studying in year 12 or 13, the last 2 years of secondary school, you can work up to 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time during the Christmas and New Year holiday period between school years.

  • if you’re under 18, you must have written permission from your school and your parents or legal guardian to work.
  • you don’t need written permission if you‘re over 18 and at secondary school, and want to work during the summer holiday period.

Unlimited work rights for PhD and Masters by research students

If you’re enrolled in Masters by research or doctoral degree programme awarded by a New Zealand tertiary institution, there are no restrictions on the hours you can work.

Practical experience

You’re allowed to work, to meet a requirement of practical experience for your programme of study in New Zealand, if practical experience is a course requirement.

To vary your student visa to allow work you must provide:

  • Evidence you meet one of the criteria above
  • 'Application for a Variation of Conditions or a Variation of Travel Conditions' (INZ1020)
  • Application fee

You have a student visa and want to do a different course or study somewhere else

You must provide:

  • Offer of place
  • 'Application for a Variation of Conditions or a Variation of Travel Conditions' (INZ1020)
  • Application fee

We won't ask for evidence you've paid the new tuition fees until we've approved in principle to vary your student visa.

You can change your course, provider, or the location of your study if you've met the conditions of your current student visa and are still a bona fide applicant. We must also be satisfied that your original student visa would have been granted for the new course or education provider.

Genuine intentions to visit, study or work in NZ