COVID-19 update

Read the latest COVID-19 updates from the University and find out how we are supporting our community.

Students outside New Zealand

COVID-19 information for Victoria University of Wellington international students affected by travel restrictions.

This page was last updated on 15 January 2020.

New Zealand closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-permanent residents at 11.59 pm on Thursday 19 March. Student visa holders cannot currently enter New Zealand.

If you are a prospective or current student affected by the COVID-19 New Zealand border restrictions, we have answers to some common questions below. This includes information about what to do if you are not able to attend your classes at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

About COVID-19 in New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has a four-stage alert level system, and New Zealand is currently at alert level 1, which enables the University to run both online and face-to-face courses.

More academic advice for students.

Wellington University International

The team at Wellington University International continues to support international students, both those overseas and in New Zealand. Enrolled students can contact the team directly by email at for information, advice, or guidance on visas, insurance, referrals, and other wellbeing and support needs. One-on-one appointments by phone or Zoom can be requested through email.

New students interested in studying at Victoria University of Wellington can contact us here.

Travel into New Zealand

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the New Zealand border is currently closed to anyone who isn’t a New Zealand resident or citizen. If you have an offer of place for a future trimester, we will let you know as soon as we have any new information about New Zealand’s border restrictions and how they will impact student visa holders.

Applications for future intakes

Our international admissions team is continuing to receive and process applications for future trimester intakes.

Flexibility with documentation

Where possible we will consider applications where the applicant is unable to provide their full documentation or English-language test results with their application due to restrictions in their previous country of study.

If you have any questions about how to provide your application documents, contact us at

Starting online then switching to on-campus

Courses can be started online then switched to on-campus if the person studying is able to travel, as long as the course offers both formats. Find out more about qualifications you can begin online.

Read information from Student Learning about how to study successfully online.

Fees are the same for online and on-campus studies.

You will need to apply for a student visa to travel to New Zealand when the border opens in the future. All international students must have a valid visa to study on campus.

Go to Immigration New Zealand for the latest student visa advice.

Immigration and visas

Travel restrictions

New Zealand's borders are closed to all non-citizens and non-permanent residents as of 11.59 pm Thursday 20 March. Student visa holders cannot enter New Zealand until the border reopens

Find out more at Immigration New Zealand.


Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is not accepting visa applications from students outside New Zealand until February 2021. INZ will review this suspension of visa processing monthly. We will provide updates as soon as new information is available.

Students with a pending visa application can apply to withdraw their application and request an application fee refund. Refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis by Immigration New Zealand.

Once visa processing resumes, existing and new visa applications will be processed according to the priorities set by the New Zealand Government.

Visa processing offices in Beijing, Manila, Mumbai, and the Pacific (except for the Apia branch) remain closed.

You do not need a visa to study online outside New Zealand.

Visit Immigration New Zealand's website for the latest information on visas.

Post-study work visa

To be eligible for the post-study work visa, students must study on campus in New Zealand for at least 30 weeks.

Any study you complete online will not contribute to your post-study work rights.

Go to Immigration New Zealand for more information about post-study work rights.

For more detailed information about visas

Find COVID-19-related information for Student visa holders on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Information for enrolled students who are outside New Zealand

Who to contact

Your faculty is responsible for communication with you, and all returning students have been given details on how best to contact their faculty directly. If you haven’t received those details, call +64 4 463 5350 or email

Students who have already paid but can’t travel to New Zealand yet

If you have already paid your fees and plan to delay your start to another trimester, your deposit will remain in your student account until you enrol in your courses.

To request a refund of the deposit paid, please contact

Information for applicants from outside New Zealand

Applying to study during COVID-19

Applications are still being processed for future trimester intakes.

If you are applying for the English Proficiency Programme or an undergraduate degree, you can apply online OR apply using an approved education agent. If you are unsure you can contact us and tell us where you are from, what you want to study, and where you have studied previously. We will advise you on your application options.

Further information on how to apply for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Applying to study during COVID-19—PhD

To apply for a PhD, you must apply through the Wellington Faculty of Graduate Research. Before you start your application, make sure you meet the entry requirements, check the application and start dates, and check your fees and costs on the degree or programme page.

Due to the global COVID-19 situation, the University is temporarily allowing international students who have an Offer of Place to enrol from overseas and begin their PhD studies from a distance.

Further information on how to apply for PhD study.

Getting application documents verified

If you are unable to access services because of COVID-19, you do not need to post or verify your documents for the initial assessment of your application.

Our international admissions team will let you know if you need to post or verify your documents at a later stage. If you have any questions about this, contact our team at

Deferring your Offer of Place

To defer your Offer of Place to the next available trimester start, visit our website and follow the instructions to defer your offer.

If you have any questions about deferring your Offer of Place, contact us at

Studying online

Available online courses

In 2021, most courses will be offered both in-person and remotely, with some exceptions. The University’s courses will be taught through Blackboard, the University’s system. Go to our online study page for more information, including online study options for Trimester 1, 2021.

Online course delivery

When you study online, you will be part of our wider university community. Classes are taught by distance through the University’s Blackboard online content system, with opportunities to connect remotely with your lecturers and tutors. If time zone differences allow, classes may be delivered live via Zoom. Some classes, however, may only be available as pre-recorded lectures.

Skills for studying online

Digital learning hub

Online tutorial delivery

This will vary from course to course. Details will be given on Blackboard.

Options include:

  • discussion board through Zoom (online seminar software)
  • no tutorials
  • additional onsite tutorials to allow students to catch up once they have arrived on campus.
Technology for studying online

You will need access to Blackboard. All information about other course requirements will be available on the course pages of Blackboard.

Outside New Zealand, the connection works best with a VPN (virtual private network) on any device, or if you don’t have a VPN, on a Windows operating system.

Support and resources


Delayed arrival in New Zealand

If you have already signed a contract for Student Accommodation but can’t travel to New Zealand, please contact the Accommodation Service to cancel your contract.

StudentSafe insurance

I am currently enrolled and studying from overseas. Do I have to keep the insurance?

You have the option to keep this insurance as you are enrolled in the system, but it isn’t necessary, since you are studying overseas.  

Due to the travel ban, StudentSafe University insurance has been extended to cover you living for up to 180 days in your home country.

To discuss your options, contact

Will any insurance cover gap affect my claim in the future?

Yes, generally, if insurance continuity is interrupted, any previous medical condition will be considered as a pre-existing medical condition. You will need to fill out the medical risk assessment form.

I am withdrawing from this trimester/this year. How can I cancel my insurance policy?

Since you are not enrolled, the insurance premium can be reversed from your University tuition account. Complete the insurance waiver form and email it back to

If you withdrew from your course after a certain time, you may only qualify for a partial refund. For more information email us at the address above.

Can I purchase Studentsafe Outbound policy or Exploresafe Outbound policy when I am overseas?

No. You must purchase these insurance policies before you leave New Zealand. If you are already overseas, then the insurance company can’t provide you with any extra cover.

Read our latest announcements

The University is providing up-to-date information on the global outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on staff and students.