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 update on 28 May 2020.

New Zealand closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-permanent residents at 11.59 pm on Thursday 20 March. Student visa holders cannot currently enter New Zealand.

If you are a student affected by the COVID-19 travel restrictions, we have answers to some common questions. This includes information about what to do if you are not able to attend your classes at 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 dropped from level 3 to level 2 on Thursday 14 May. This has allowed campuses to reopen, however all teaching will remain online for the rest of Trimester 1.

In Trimester 2, the University aims to provide as much teaching face-to-face as possible. Most courses will still be available fully online for students who are unable to come to campus. 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 international-support@vuw.ac.nz 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.

International student advisers

International student advisers are here to provide information, advice, and guidance to you during your time in New Zealand while studying at the University. Their primary role is student support, rather than academic advice. The team can also provide information about visas and insurance. This support is available for those enrolled and studying outside of New Zealand.

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

Trimester 2

General information

Trimester 2 starts on Monday 13 July—this is one week later than the date previously advised.

We continue to closely monitor the New Zealand Government’s response to COVID-19 and what this might mean for study in Trimester 2. If you have an application or offer for Trimester 2, we will keep you updated with any new information or study options as soon as these are available.

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 application or offer for Trimester 2, 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.

Offers for Trimester 2

You may have deferred your study from Trimester 1 to Trimester 2 due to the travel restrictions in February.

The team at Wellington University International will be in contact by email with any student who has an Offer of Place for Trimester 2.

We are also regularly updating our website—keep checking for the latest information from the University.

Applications for Trimester 2

Our international admissions team is continuing to receive and process applications for Trimester 2 and future trimesters. There may be some delays in processing your application because staff are working from home—we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Due to the lockdown in New Zealand, we are unable to receive couriered or posted applications or documents at this time. If you are unable to apply online (undergraduate study only), we encourage you to apply using an approved education agent.

If you are unable to apply using an agent, contact us at international@vuw.ac.nz and tell us your nationality, programme of interest and previous place of study. We will then let you know the best way to submit an application.

If you have already couriered or posted your application to the University, contact us at international@vuw.ac.nz.

Flexibility with documentation

Where possible we will still consider students who are unable to provide their full documentation or English-language test results with their application at the moment.

If you have any questions about how to provide your application documents, contact us at international@vuw.ac.nz.

Visas

Immigration New Zealand is currently not able to process visas for students outside New Zealand. Visa processing centres in China and Mumbai are currently closed. You can still apply for your visa online, and this will be processed once visa processing centres reopen.

If you are in New Zealand and need to renew or change your student visa, you can find more information on our website, or contact us at student-visa@vuw.ac.nz.

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

Scholarships

Scholarships for Trimester 2 are still open and we are currently accepting applications for the Tongarewa, Study Abroad, and Latin America scholarships. For more information, go to the scholarships page.

Refund policy for Trimester 2

If you wish to withdraw from a course during Trimester 2, you will need to do so by the end of the 2 week free withdrawal period (24 July) to receive a full refund.

You may be able to withdraw after 24 July in situations where you are too unwell to study, or have other personal circumstances that mean you cannot study. Go to the fee reconsideration page for more information on this.

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.

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

You will need a student visa to study on campus. Go to Immigration New Zealand for the latest student visa advice.

Student accommodation in Trimester 2

Applications are open for students within New Zealand who require accommodation in Trimester 2. However, the border closure may continue over this time, in which case your only option may be online attendance of lectures or accessing online delivery of courses.

Immigration and visas

Travel restrictions

New Zealand closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-permanent residents as of 11.59 pm Thursday 20 March. Student visa holders can no longer enter New Zealand.

Find out more at Immigration New Zealand.

Possible change in travel restrictions for international students

The New Zealand Government is considering whether international students can return to New Zealand before our border is fully open. This would depend on borders being open in other countries, visa processing, access to travel, and how universities can support students to quarantine before beginning their study.

It will take time for the Government to consider this fully and we are not anticipating any changes soon. We will keep you updated with any information once it is available.

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

Graduating

If you’re due to finish your study this trimester, you still need to successfully complete all your degree requirements to graduate on time.

If you have not yet heard directly from your faculty advisors, contact your Faculty office and ask them to complete a degree audit for you. They will be able to answer specific questions.

Due to the restrictions associated with COVID-19, Victoria University of Wellington postponed its graduation ceremonies and parades. Qualifications due to be awarded in May were granted by the University Council on 4 May.

Students who complete their studies will receive their degree certificate via My eQuals, and the ceremonies will be rescheduled when possible.

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 4 472 1000.

Changing your courses in Trimester 1

If you would like to change your courses, contact your faculty office as soon as possible.

Withdrawal from Trimester 1 courses

If you wish to withdraw from any of your Trimester 1 courses, read this information on course additions and withdrawals first.

No examinations in Trimester 1

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, there will be no exams for your Trimester 1 courses. Your course will be taught until the end of the trimester on 26 June.

Course coordinators will work with their associate deans and student representatives to replace exams with alternative forms of assessment that can be completed at home. These alternative forms of assessment will ensure that all course learning objectives are met.

Students who have already paid but can’t travel yet

If you have already paid your fees for Trimester 1 or 2 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, contact student-finance@vuw.ac.nz.

Information for applicants from outside New Zealand

Applying to study during COVID-19

Applications are still being processed, but please don’t send your applications by courier or mail as we can’t access them due to working from home.

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.

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.

Further information on how to apply.

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 international-admissions@vuw.ac.nz.

Deferring your Offer of Place

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

If your course only starts only once a year in Trimester 1, you can defer your Offer of Place for up to one year.

If you have any questions about deferring your Offer of Place, contact us at international@vuw.ac.nz.

Studying online

Available online courses

Most of the University’s courses will be taught online through the University’s system, Blackboard, throughout Trimester 1 and Trimester 2 2020. Lectures are not currently being held on campus during Trimester 1 in Wellington due to the country following the Government's COVID-19 alert system.

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.

Within China, 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

Accommodation

Delayed arrival in New Zealand

If you have already signed a contract for Student Accommodation but can’t travel to New Zealand during Trimester 1, please contact the Accommodation Service to cancel your contract.

Private accommodation

If you signed a fixed-term tenancy agreement which has not ended, you need to pay rent even if you are not living in your apartment.

If you are sharing your accommodation with others, you can ask them whether they can replace you. In this case, the owner of the flat or apartment needs to allow it.

You can find more information from the Government's Tenancy Services website and from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

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, as either an undergraduate or a PhD student.

To discuss your options, contact international-insurance@vuw.ac.nz.

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 international-insurance@vuw.ac.nz.

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.

If you were enrolled from March until May, and made a claim during that time, a refund will not apply.

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.

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