Student visa

If you are a new international student in NZ, you need a student visa before you start your study. Find out how to apply for the right type of visa.

You must have a valid student visa to study in New Zealand—unless you are a New Zealand or Australian citizen, or a permanent resident. Your student visa must name Victoria University of Wellington as your place of study, and the same programme of study on your Offer of Place.

You do not need a visa if you are living outside New Zealand while you study. After the New Zealand border opens, if you plan to come to New Zealand to continue your study in person, you must then apply for a student visa before you travel. You must have a valid visa before you can enter New Zealand.

If you are a new student applying for a visa for the first, please use the INZ checklist to make sure you have completed everything.

Which student visa to apply for

There are different student visa categories depending on what you are studying. Visit the Immigration New Zealand website to explore all study visa options.

Pathway students

Apply for a Pathway Student Visa if you are studying the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme or Foundation Studies followed by a degree programme at the University.

Exchange students

Apply for an Exchange Visa if you are an exchange student from an overseas university. If you are unsure whether you are an exchange student or a Study Abroad student, check your Offer of Place.

New Zealand Scholarship students

Apply for the MFAT-funded NZ Scholarship Student Visa if you are a New Zealand Scholarship student.

All other students

Most other international students, including Study Abroad students and PhD students with scholarships, should apply for the Fee Paying Student Visa.

If you are bringing your family with you, each family member will also need a visa. You need to apply for your family member’s visa directly through Immigration New Zealand. Find out more about visas for your partner and family.

How to apply for a student visa

If you want to apply for a student visa, you need to apply for your visa directly through Immigration New Zealand online:

  1. Go to the Immigration New Zealand website.
  2. Create a RealMe account within the INZ website when prompted, before you start your application.
  3. Complete the INZ online application form. You will need to refer to your Offer of Place letter for your programme details and check your trimester start and end dates.
  4. At the end of the form, upload a PDF file of any requested documentation.

Your RealMe account is the best place to check for updates on the status of your visa. Make sure you regularly log into RealMe and look through all of your documents for any new information from INZ.

Documentation to support your application

Different supporting documents are required depending on where you are applying from and your individual situation. You will be told what you need to upload when you complete the online application form.

You will usually need at least:

  1. a passport that is valid for at least three months past the end of your intended stay
  2. a copy of your Offer of Place letter from Victoria University of Wellington
  3. if you are a New Zealand Scholarship student, a copy of your Scholarship Letter of Offer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)
  4. Summary of Deposit from the University, or proof that you have a scholarship or loan that is paying on your behalf. We recommend that you pay your fees in advance as bank transfers can take time to be processed and can cause delays in issuing your visa. However, as a first time student you can pay your fees after receiving Approval in Principle for your visa to avoid refunds in case your visa is declined.
  5. proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you are studying in New Zealand—at least $20,000 for one year or $1667 per month if your enrolment is less than a year
  6. proof of how you will return home when your studies are complete (such as copies of airline tickets or proof of funds to buy them).

Conditions of your student visa

It is a condition of most New Zealand student visas that you study full time and in person (not online).

You must follow the conditions of your student visa while you are studying in New Zealand. These include:

  • attending classes
  • making good academic progress
  • following all New Zealand laws
  • holding approved insurance from the date of your enrolment until your visa expires (unless you are a PhD student or part of the New Zealand Scholarships programme).

If you break the conditions of your student visa, you could be told to leave New Zealand and may have trouble applying for other visas in the future.

Working on a student visa

Your student visa may allow you to work while you study. Most full-time international students can work part time while studying and full time during University holidays.

Go to the Education New Zealand website NauMai NZ for more information about student visa conditions and work rules and rights for international students.