Pathway Student Visa

Visa details

This visa allows you to study up to 3 courses, one after the other, on a single student visa. You must have a Pathway Student Visa offer of place and the funds to pay for your tuition fees.

Length of stay
Up to

5 years

NZD $375
Processing time
90% within
67 days
With this visa you can
  • Study up to 3 courses, one after the other, on a single student visa.
  • Work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying and full-time in the holidays, depending on your course of study.
Things to note
  • You can't include your partner or dependent children in a student visa application, but they can apply for their own visas based on their relationship to you.
  • Pathway Student Visas are long enough to complete your qualification plan.  
  • You’ll need to meet the pre-requisites for any second and third courses on your study pathway to stay in New Zealand on a Pathway Student Visa.

Who can apply

The criteria and evidence below will provide you with the information you need to provide to meet the requirements of this visa.

View All Evidence


You must provide proof of your identity

  • 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 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.

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've applied.

Sending your passport for online applications

  1. Also provide your Kartu Keluarga.

  2. If you’re not a French national, also provide a copy of your carte d’assuré.

  3. 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.
  4. Also provide a copy of your livret de famille.

  5. Also provide a copy of your Identity card.

  6. Also provide your:

    • Hukou (household registration book)
    • Chinese identity card.
  7. 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

  8. 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


You must be in good health

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

Who needs an x-ray or medical examination

Update on medical certificate requests on Immigration Online

  1. Full fee paying students don’t usually need to provide a medical certificate.

    You will need to get a chest X-ray if you’re from, or have spent time in a country where Tuberculosis (TB) is common.

  2. 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.


You must be of good character

You may need to provide police certificates as proof of your good character.

If you are aged 17 and over, and will stay in New Zealand for more than 24 months (this includes any time you have already spent in New Zealand), you must provide police certificates from:

  • your country(s) of citizenship
  • any country(s) you've spent more than 5 years in since turning 17.

You do not need to provide police certificates if:

  • you have provided them to us with an earlier visa application, and they were issued in the previous 36 months, or
  • you are under 20 years of age and have held a student visa (or consecutive student visas) on and since the date you turned 17 and are applying for a further student visa.

Good character

Police certificates

Study pathways

You must be offered a valid study pathway from Pathway education provider(s)

You must provide a letter of support from your Pathway education provider, or joint letter if your study pathway is with more than one provider, that:

  • sets out the courses that will make up your study pathway
  • sets out the start and end dates for each course.

Pathway education providers

Offer of place

You must have an offer of place from an approved education provider

Your Pathway Student Visa offer must include:

  • the name of your course and how long the course is for
  • whether your study will be full-time, part-time or as a distance learning or correspondence student
  • if your course is for more than one academic year, the dates of all of the course’s scheduled holidays
  • if you’re under 18, confirmation that your accommodation complies with the ‘Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students’.

Offers of place must also include your approved education provider’s signed declaration that they’ve assessed and are satisfied that:

  • the programme offered is appropriate for your expectations
  • you have the English language ability and academic capability to succeed

Pathway education providers

Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2021

  1. The only evidence you must provide is a written guarantee of maintenance from a relative in New Zealand. This relative must be a New Zealand citizen or resident.

  2. If your study pathway is with more than one Pathway education provider, you’ll need to provide a separate offer of place from each education provider.

  3. It’s OK if you provide information about your scheduled holidays in a separate document.

Tuition fees

Unless you’re exempt, you must have enough money to pay your tuition fees

You must provide evidence that:

  • you have paid the tuition fees for your first course of study or your first year of study (whichever is shorter)
  • you can pay for the rest of your study pathway.

Evidence can include any one of the following:

  • evidence of savings you can use to pay for your tuition fees
  • a letter from your Pathway education provider showing fees are paid or that you don’t have to pay fees
  • evidence that your home country government loan has been applied for, and confirmation from the education provider they expect to receive the fees
  • confirmation from your education provider that your tuition fees will be paid by New Zealand Aid
  • evidence you’ve applied for a home country government loan and confirmation that you’re enrolling in a bachelor degree programme or higher at a Private Training Establishment (PTE)
  • evidence that you’re exempt from paying tuition fees.

Pathway education providers

  1. If you apply for your visa outside of New Zealand, you don’t have to show us you’ve paid your tuition fees until after your application is approved in principle.


  2. Evidence of how you’ll pay for subsequent years of study can include, for example, savings or family income you can access while in New Zealand.


You must have enough money to live on while you’re in New Zealand

Evidence can include:

  • proof that you have $20,000 per year of tertiary, English language, or non-compulsory study or $1,667 per month if your study will be shorter than 1 year. If you will be enrolled in compulsory education (years 1-13 at a school), you will need NZD $17,000 or $1,417 per month 
  • proof that you’ll have enough money to live on for the remaining time on your study pathway
  • documents that show your living costs have already been paid
  • a ‘Sponsorship for Temporary Entry’  form completed by an acceptable sponsor
  • a ‘Financial Undertaking for a Student’ form completed by an acceptable guarantor.

What sponsors must do – responsibilities and obligations

Sponsorship for Temporary Entry (INZ 1025) PDF 414KB

  1. The only evidence you must provide is a written guarantee of maintenance from a relative in New Zealand. This relative must be a New Zealand citizen or resident.

  2. If you are applying in South Asia, you need to provide acceptable evidence you can comfortably afford to study in New Zealand.

    Evidence of funds to support your study

  3. If you’re applying in South Asia, only immediate family are able to sponsor you or provide a financial undertaking. Immediate family are your partner, parents, siblings, grandparents and parents-in-law.

  4. Depending on what city you live in while you are in New Zealand, you might need more than NZD $17,000 per year (NZD $1,417 per month) to live on while you are studying.

    What things cost in New Zealand | NauMai NZ

Medical and travel insurance

You must have full medical and travel insurance for the length of your stay

  • You must declare in your visa application that you agree to arrange and hold insurance.
  • Your insurance policy must cover you from the date that you arrive in New Zealand until the day you leave.
  • Your insurance policy must cover all of the following:
    • travel (this includes travel to and from New Zealand, within New Zealand, and outside New Zealand if travelling as part of the course)
    • medical care in New Zealand, including diagnosis, prescription, surgery, and hospitalisation
    • the transportation out of New Zealand as a result of serious illness or injury, including cover of travel costs incurred by family members assisting the student
    • death (including cover of the travel costs of family members to and from New Zealand, costs of repatriation, and funeral expenses).
  1. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students don’t need to hold insurance.

  2. You can arrange insurance through your education provider. If you are arranging your own insurance, your education provider can give you more information about what your policy must cover.

Parent or legal guardian

If you are aged 9 or younger you must be accompanied by your parent or legal guardian unless you will live in an NZQA approved school hostel

If you must be accompanied, you must provide proof that your parent or legal guardian cares for you in your home country and has the legal right to provide care for you.

Evidence your parent or legal guardian cares for you in your home country can include:

  • your parent or guardian’s passport, or residence document showing that you’ve been living with them in your home country
  • documents that show they’ve paid for your education
  • educational records or documents that show they’re responsible for your education

Evidence your parent or legal guardian has the legal right to provide care for you can include:

  • your birth certificate or adoption papers (if they are your parent)
  • court documents (if they are a court-appointed guardian)
  • relevant legal documents if they are a testamentary guardian (i.e. they were named as guardian in your parents’ will, and your parents are deceased).
  1. Your parent or legal guardian must apply separately for the type of visa they need.

    If you have to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, you must live with that person while you’re studying.

Permission to work

If you're aged 16 or 17, or in years 12 or 13 of secondary school, you must have written permission to work

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

  1. If you’re 18 or over, you don’t need permission to work over the summer holidays. We won’t grant work rights to children under 16 who have a Student Visa.

Full-time vacation work rights

You must provide information about your holidays and your course

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.

Practical experience (optional)

If you’re required to do practical work experience as part of your course, you must provide evidence that it’s a course requirement

Evidence can include either of the following:

  • a letter from your approved education provider 
  • a course outline that shows the practical work experience requirement.
  1. Any practical work experience you need to do complete your course can be worked in addition to the other hours your visa conditions allow you to work. 

Already have a Student Visa

You must be able to show that you’re passing your course and meeting your attendance requirements

If you already have a Student Visa and you’re applying for another Student Visa, you must provide photocopied evidence of your previous student performance, progress and attendance. This can include:

  • academic transcripts
  • a letter from your approved education provider
  • attendance records.

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 an arrival card, which you are given on the way to New Zealand.

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 you’re applying from inside New Zealand, we’ll normally give you multiple entry travel conditions when we grant you this visa.

    If you don’t have multiple entry travel conditions and you leave New Zealand, your visa will expire.

    Your travel conditions will be recorded on your visa label or in your visa letter.

Onward travel

During the length of your visa, you must have a travel ticket or funds available to buy a ticket to a country you can enter. The funds can be in the form of any of the following:

  • sufficient funds held in New Zealand to purchase a travel ticket 
  • an acceptable form of financial undertaking by your guarantor
  • current sponsorship by an acceptable sponsor.

Acceptable sponsors

  • Unless your visa label or letter states “Return/onward travel not required” you must have a ticket to leave New Zealand whenever you travel here.

Medical and travel insurance

You must maintain your medical and travel insurance policy while you're studying in New Zealand, from the time you enrol until your visa expires.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students don’t need to have insurance.


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.
Work rights for students

  • 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.

  • If you’re applying for a Pathway student visa and the first course of your study pathway gives you work rights, you’ll be allowed to work in New Zealand for the length of your visa.

    If the first course on your study pathway doesn’t give you work rights, but your second or third courses do, you can apply for a ‘variation of conditions’ to allow you to work in New Zealand.

    Application for a Variation of Conditions (INZ1020 PDF 268KB)

Parent or legal guardian

If you’re required to be accompanied, your parent or legal guardian must live with you while you’re studying and they can’t leave New Zealand without you.

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.

  • If you want to change your education provider or move to a lower level course, you’ll need to apply for a new student visa.

    If you want to move to a higher level course, you’ll need to apply for a ‘variation of conditions’ to continue studying on your Pathway Student Visa.

    Application for a Variation of Conditions (INZ1020) PDF 268KB

Visa expiry

You must leave New Zealand before your visa expires.

  • Visa expiry dates are printed on a visa label or included in a visa letter.