Student Visas

Studying in New Zealand

New Zealand is the premier choice for thousands of migrants each year who wish to study abroad. There are multiple course opportunities and desirable post-study visa options. At the heart of New Zealand’s education system sits the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), governed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). This includes both secondary and tertiary qualifications. NZQA is the government agency responsible for New Zealand qualifications and for assessing qualifications gained overseas to determine the equivalent level in New Zealand terms.

We are well positioned to assist potential new and returning students in mapping their study and career pathways. Whether they choose to upskill or naturally progress in their chosen field of study, we enable students and professionals to work through their options and make an informed decision. We are able to deliver this for our clients through extensive partnerships with key education institutes around New Zealand. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so we know the education landscape pretty well!

Commonly used categories of student visas

While there are a few different kinds of student visas available to study in New Zealand, the most common are dependent student visas and fee paying student visas.

Requirements for International Students

Fee paying international students need to meet certain requirements as set out by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) in order to be granted a student visa. They should:

  • Have an offer of admission from an approved educational institution.
  • Must have adequate funds to pay tuition fees.
  • Be fully covered by travel and medical insurance for the duration of their stay.
  • Have enough funds to support themselves while in New Zealand, or have sponsorship.
  • Fulfil health and character requirements.
  • Have a ticket to depart New Zealand or enough funds to purchase one, or have sponsorship for the cost of the ticket.
  • Have genuine intentions about studying in New Zealand; INZ must be convinced that you are not using the student visa for other reasons.

Dependent Child Student Visa

If you hold a valid New Zealand work or student visa, you can bring your dependent child here to study at a primary or secondary school. You don't have to pay tuition fees for a dependent child to attend school because they will be treated as a domestic student.

Fee Paying Student Visa

These include both first-time offshore students and onshore returning students. Not every institute can provide offers of place to international students. Only those education providers that are signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 can do so. This visa allows the holder to study full-time with part-time work rights (full-time can be undertaken during holidays) in most cases. The student visa granted is normally for the same length of time as the study paid for. For these applications, a person’s bona fide (genuine intentions) and funds are very closely assessed. Immigration officers want to know why a particular course has been chosen, how this aligns with a person’s profile, and whether there is a genuine intent to study the course. Funds must be from a genuine source and be genuinely available to the student.

Dependent Student Visas

Dependent children of certain kinds of work and student visa holders can apply for a student visa to allow them to go to school while their parents work or study in New Zealand. These students are treated as domestic students and do not have to pay international tuition fees. However, it is critical that applicants are aware of the cut-off age for dependency for temporary visas. Children aged 20 or over are not eligible to file a visa based on their relationship with their parents, but can file a visa in their own right. This age group will no longer be eligible for dependent student visas. To support a dependent student visa, a parent on an Essential Skills Work Visa must earn at least $43,322.76 per year before tax.