Students outside New Zealand

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

This page was last updated on 22 September 2021.

New Zealand closed its border to all non-citizens and non-permanent residents at 11.59 pm on Thursday 19 March 2020. Student visa holders cannot currently enter New Zealand unless they are approved as part of the New Zealand Government's border exemption scheme.

This page contains information for prospective or enrolled international students who are affected by the COVID-19 New Zealand border restrictions. If you're already in New Zealand, you can find information on this page.

New Zealand's current COVID-19 situation

All of Aotearoa New Zealand except Auckland is at alert level 2, with Auckland at alert level 3.

The New Zealand Government has a four-stage alert level system. The University will follow government guidelines at each alert level. Most courses in 2021 will be offered in a way that supports both in-person and online study.

You can find the latest updates about how the University is operating on our COVID-19 information site, and in Whītiki, the newsletter emailed to current students.

Prospective students

Find out how to apply to study at Victoria University of Wellington during COVID-19.

Enrolled students

Victoria University of Wellington looks forward to welcoming some of our enrolled international students who have been studying from overseas back to campus in Wellington.

In October 2020 and January 2021, the New Zealand Government announced that specific cohorts of enrolled international students may be eligible for a border exemption to re-enter New Zealand to continue their studies.

Eligible students who may be considered for this exemption must have been enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington prior to the New Zealand border closure in early 2020 and have, or have had, a visa to study in 2019 or 2020. The team at Wellington University International will communicate directly with those students we have identified as meeting the eligibility criteria to confirm the application process.

Visit the Ministry of Education website for their latest updates.

Am I eligible for the New Zealand Government border exemption scheme?

If you are eligible for the border exemption scheme, you will likely have already been contacted directly by Wellington University International. If you have not received an email and believe you are eligible after reading the latest Ministry of Education updates, email with a brief description of why you believe you are eligible.

Those accepted to return to New Zealand will be supported by Immigration New Zealand to complete the necessary requirements for a student visa. The team at Wellington University International will help guide you through the rest of the process to return, including what to expect with managed isolation.

We understand the difficulties you may face in making the decision to return to New Zealand. If you want to talk to somebody in New Zealand about this opportunity before committing to return, contact our International Support team at

I am not eligible for this scheme

If you are not eligible for this scheme, most courses in 2021 will also be offered online, so you can continue to study at the University from your home country until we can welcome you back to New Zealand.

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 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.

Who to contact for enrolled students

Your faculty is responsible for communication with you regarding your programme of study, course selection, and degree progression. For academic-related queries, contact your faculty directly.

Starting online then switching to on-campus when the border is open

Many courses can be started online then switched to on-campus if the person studying is able to travel.

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.

Studying online

Available online courses

In 2021, most courses will be offered either in-person or fully online, 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 2021.

Online course delivery

When you study online, you will be part of our wider university community, and receive our regular student newsletter Whītiki. Our student services also offer online support and resources.

Classes are taught by distance through Blackboard, the University’s online content system, with opportunities to connect remotely with your lecturers and tutors. All lectures in 2021 will be recorded and uploaded to Blackboard, livestreamed, or alternative pre-recorded videos covering the same material will be available via Vstream on Blackboard.

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.

Additional resources to support your studies
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.

Offshore student support

Staff at the University are here to ensure you are well supported while studying overseas. For advice, academic support, and student services, you can access the international offshore student support page.

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.


Delayed arrival in New Zealand

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

Prospective students

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. New Zealand residents and citizens may return where flights allow and will be required to secure a voucher for hotel-based quarantine in advance, then remain in quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

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

Apply to study

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.

There is an opportunity for some first-year students to study at an institution associated with the University Consortium UK for a year before coming to New Zealand universities to continue their studies when circumstances allow. If you want to learn more about this, contact

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

Get 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

Apply 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 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.

Defer 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

Immigration and visas

Travel restrictions

New Zealand's border is closed to all non-citizens and non-permanent residents since 11.59 pm Thursday 20 March 2020. Student visa holders cannot enter New Zealand without being selected for entry through a Government scheme allowing current tertiary students into the country.

Find out more at Immigration New Zealand.


Immigration New Zealand is not accepting visa applications from students outside New Zealand. We will provide updates as soon as new information is available.

Enrolled students who are eligible and approved to return to New Zealand under any border exemption process will be contacted directly by Immigration New Zealand with information on how to apply for their visa.

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

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

For more detailed information about visas

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