Exchange Student Visa

If you are outside New Zealand and have been accepted into an approved student exchange scheme, apply for this visa to study full-time in New Zealand.

Length of stay
Depends on exchange length

Up to 4 years 

NZD $375
Processing time
80% within
2 weeks
With this visa you can
  • Study full-time in New Zealand in a school-to-school exchange, an exchange programme organisation scheme or a tertiary exchange.
  • Work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying or full-time in the holidays, depending on your age and how long your study is for.
Things to note
  • You can only apply if you’re outside of New Zealand.
  • You don’t have to pay tuition fees, as you’re considered a domestic student.
  • Student exchange schemes may include school-to-school (or sister school exchanges), exchanges organised by exchange programme organisations and tertiary exchanges.

What you need to apply

Check if you are eligible to apply for this visa and what supporting documents and information you need to provide.

View All Evidence
  • 1 acceptable photo if you apply online, or 2 photos if you use a paper application form.
  • your passport or certificate of identity.

Acceptable photos

If you apply online, you must upload a copy of your passport when you apply. We will let you know if you need to send your passport after you have applied.

Providing your passport for online applications

If you submit a paper application, provide your original passport or a certified copy.  We can usually process your application faster if you provide your original passport.


You must also provide your Kartu Keluarga.

If you are not a French national, you must provide a copy of your carte d’assuré.

Even if your partner and children aren’t coming with you, please also provide:

  • copies of their passports
  • a copy of your livret de famille.

You must also provide a copy of your livret de famille.

Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

Also provide your:

  • Hukou (household registration book)
  • Chinese identity card.

If you are submitting a paper application form, you must provide a supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students.

Supplementary form for Hong Kong and Macao visitors, workers and students (INZ 1220) PDF 240KB

If you are a citizen of China and you submit a paper application form in China, you must also complete a supplementary form.

Supplementary form for Chinese citizens (INZ 1027) PDF 338KB

We may ask you to have a chest x-ray, a medical examination or both as proof of your good health.

If you are staying less than:

  • 6 months you do not normally need a chest x-ray. 
  • 12 months you do not normally need a medical certificate. 

Who needs an x-ray or medical examination

When we process your application we let you know if we need you to have a chest x-ray or medical examination.

Acceptable standard of health criteria for visa approvals

Please only provide medical certificates if requested


You must provide a chest x-ray completed in the last 3 months, even if you've provided one to us previously, if:

  • you have spent 6 consecutive months in China since the last x-ray certificate was issued, and
  • you are now coming to NZ for more than 6 months.

If you have a criminal conviction or are a security risk to New Zealand we may not be able to grant you a visa.

Good character for temporary visas

You must provide police certificates if your total time in New Zealand will be 24 months or longer across all visits. This includes any time you have spent in New Zealand in the past on other visas, even if you have been out of the country since then.

You also must provide police certificates if we ask for them.

If you are 16 years old or younger you do not need to provide police certificates.

Providing police certificates

How to get a police certificate

If you have already sent us Police Certificates with a previous visa application and they are less than 24 months old, you do not need to send them again.

Police certificates must be less than 6 months old when you submit your application. They must be from any country you are a citizen of, or have spent more than 5 years in since you turned 17.

When we decide if your intentions are genuine, we consider all the information:

  • you provide to support your application
  • we have about your personal circumstances, and
  • you provided in any previous applications.

Genuine intentions to visit, study or work in NZ

You must provide an offer of place from a New Zealand education provider if you are attending a school to school or tertiary exchange programme. Your offer should state that you are an exchange student.

You do not need an offer of place if you are coming to in New Zealand with an Exchange Programme Organisation (EPO). Instead, you need a letter from your EPO explaining that you are an exchange student.

You must provide evidence that you’ve been accepted into an approved student exchange scheme. For example, a letter from the scheme organiser.


The Study Abroad program is a not a an approved student exchange scheme.

If you are coming as part of the Study Abroad program, you should a apply for a fee paying student visa.
Fee Paying Student visa

Permission to work up to 20 hours a week and/or full-time in the summer holidays from each of the following:


You don’t need written permission if you‘re 18 years of age or over and at secondary school, and want to work during the summer holiday period.

We won’t grant work rights to children under 16 who have a Student Visa.

If you’re allowed to work full-time in the holidays, proof:

  • of the holidays scheduled by your approved education provider, as shown in your offer of place document
  • that your course value is 120 credits – this information may be on your fee receipt or invoice, or other correspondence provided by your approved education provider.

Evidence can include either of the following:

  • a letter from your approved education provider
  • a course outline that shows the practical component requirement, as shown in your offer of place document.

We will check our records, to make sure you are not already in New Zealand.


If you’re already in New Zealand, we can only grant this visa in very special circumstances.

Evidence can include: 

  • a travel ticket out of New Zealand
  • a guarantee from your student exchange scheme’s New Zealand guarantor that even if you don’t complete your exchange, they’ll make arrangements for you to leave New Zealand at the end of your stay.

Process and costs

The information below will help you understand the process, timeframes and costs involved in applying for this visa, so you can plan ahead and have the best chance of submitting a complete application.


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How to submit

Payment methods and receiving centre details if applicable.


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These are the conditions that you must meet once you have your visa.

Entry permission

You must apply for entry permission when you arrive in New Zealand. You can do this by completing a digital New Zealand traveller declaration (NZTD), or an NZTD paper declaration.

New Zealand Customs and Biosecurity also check that you meet their entry requirements.

Arriving in New Zealand


You can be refused entry permission if:

  • you do not meet our character requirements
  • your circumstances have changed since you were granted a visa
  • you refuse to let us take your photo or to provide us with your fingerprints or an iris scan, if asked for them
  • you are unable to provide evidence of any onward travel or funds required by the conditions of your visa.

If you are refused entry to New Zealand

Before you travel to New Zealand


If you want to travel in and out of New Zealand, you must have valid multiple entry travel conditions to return to New Zealand.

Varying the conditions of a student visa


If applying from inside New Zealand, we will normally give multiple entry travel conditions when we grant a visa.

If there are no multiple entry travel conditions and you leave New Zealand the visa will expire.

The travel conditions will be listed on the visa label or in a visa letter.

Onward travel

You must have a travel ticket or a guarantee from your New Zealand Student Exchange Scheme organiser that they’ll arrange for you to leave at the end of your stay.


You may be asked for evidence of your travel arrangements when you check in or arrive in New Zealand.  If you’re not required to provide evidence, we’ll record it in your visa label or visa letter.


If your student exchange scheme is for one academic year or more, you can work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during all scheduled holidays.

If you’re 16 or 17, or in year 12 or 13 at secondary school, you must have written permission to work from your parents, school and Exchange Provider Organisation. If you’re 18 or over you don’t need permission to work in the summer holidays.

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.


Everyone who has a job in New Zealand pays tax on what they earn. An IRD number can be applied for online through Inland Revenue.

Apply online for an IRD number

You aren’t allowed to be self-employed. You have to work as an employee with an employment agreement and not as an independent contractor.

You can’t provide commercial sexual services or operate a business that provides these services.

We won’t grant work rights to children under 16 who have a Student Visa.

Attendance and progress

You must study full-time and attend your course at the approved education provider noted on your visa, unless you have a reasonable excuse for absences.

You must make satisfactory progress on your course.

Visa expiry

You can stay in New Zealand until your visa expires.


If you want a holiday in New Zealand after your exchange, you can apply for a Visitor Visa to stay another 3 months as a tourist.