New Zealand Student Visa | Student Visa for Studies in New Zealand

The New Zealand student visa will allow you to study in New Zealand for a period of up to 4 years. To be eligible for an New Zealand student visa you need to be full-time enrolled into educational courses in New Zealand. Contact us and get advice on how to apply for your New Zealand student visa!

New Zealand Student Visa - Student Visa New Zealand

Student Visa New Zealand

To enter New Zealand you will be required to obtain a visa or permit, these are available through application via Immigration New Zealand also known as the Department of Labour. Immigration New Zealand has branches located all over the world.

Studying in New Zealand as a Visitor

If you are studying a course in New Zealand that goes for a period of 3 months or less then you will not require a student permit. How ever if the course extends this period of time it will be required that the student applies for a student permit.

Going to New Zealand to Study

Unless your home country has an agreement with New Zealand, then international students wishing to study in New Zealand for 3 months or longer full time will need to apply for a student visa as well as a student permit.

Types of Student Visas for New Zealand

You can find out about the different visas on offer, here.

Application Requirements

As a visa requirement students will need to be enrolled in an approved course at an accredited institution.

Applications will need:

Your Student Visa application will require students to provide a passport size photograph of themselves, payment of a application fee (this is non refundable), a letter proving an offer at a accredited institute (this letter must include information stating your acceptance, course name, course duration and course fee requirements), proof of payment, an institute representative must provide written guarantee that the student will have accommodation whilst in New Zealand, evidence of sufficient funds (living costs) so that the student will be able to support themselves during their stay and a return plane ticket to their home country.

Valid Passport

After a student visa application is approved, it is required that the student has a valid passport which will not expire for up to 3 months after the commencement of their course.

Medical Checks

For those studying courses which run longer then 24 months and medical certificate and x-rays must be provided which are less then 3 months old. Visa requirements also state that a person over the age of 17 must provide a valid police certificate as well.

Screening for Tuberculosis

If a person has never provided a medical screening test to Immigration New Zealand, if they do not have a passport stating they are from a low risk TB country or if they have spent more then 3 months in a country of high risk TB. It is required that the visa applicant be screened for Tuberculosis if they intend to stay in New Zealand for 6 months of longer. These rules do not apply to pregnant women or children aged 12 years or younger.

What you should do

It is important that when submitting your visa application all required documents are included. This includes all x-rays and medical certificates. When submitting the application include a copy of the Temporary Entry X-ray Certificate as well as the Chest X-ray Plate.

Please check INZ’s website for the most up-to-date information, at


orking While You Study

International Students have recently started coming to New Zealand for their studies or interest in working while study with programs available that assist students in earning financial funding through a part time work program. Where students can earn money while studying in New Zealand, which can help in tuition and other expenses due to the New Zealand academic world being vibrant and increasingly internationally oriented.

Eligible college or university students can join work programs through their college where many different types of jobs are available for students, Students should be assured of receiving minimal federal wage for the duration of their employment which allows students to earn money to help pay education expenses or personal expenses such as travel where you can explore the beautiful natural environment with excellent educational programmes. So why wait any longer to start studying in New Zealand and working while you gain knowledge and experience. While you are an international student in New Zealand you can travel, earn and explore.  New Zealand is home to international students from diverse backgrounds but there’s immigration laws that prevent international students from studying at a private provider that has not been registered or taking up a course that do not have the approval of NZQ.

Visas or permits are not required if you are New Zealand Citizen or you hold a New Zealand residence permit or Australian Citizen or Australian resident who holds a current permanent resident return visa or if your course runs for less then three months, students can also apply for a visitors visa but please be advised that you must ensure that your course is approved by the New Zealand Authorities.

Who requires a Visa

Depending on the nationality or the length of study for the student to know whether he or she needs a visitor or student visa, please check with the Immigration department for fully detailed information pack.

If staying 90 days or less and/or studying one course, citizens or residents of the following countries may not require a visa to enter New Zealand, countries not listed bellow will need to apply for Visa to enter New Zealand.

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Saudi, Japan, San Marino, Italy Qatar, Israel, Portugal, Ireland, Arabia, Africa, Belgium, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Kiribati, Slovenia, Brunei, Kuwait, South Africa, Nuru, USA, Hong Kong, Norway, Vatican City, Hungary Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Iceland, Oman, Malta Tuvalu, France, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Monaco Uruguay, Greece, Canada, Liechtenstein, Spain, Chile, Luxemburg, Sweden, Denmark, Malasia, Switzerland, Finland.

Eligible students should check with New Zealand Authorities if student visa or permit may be required if staying longer then 90 days. Visitors Permit may be granted to British citizens and/or British passport holders who have the right to live permanently in United Kingdom which will be valid for up to six months on arrival. To obtain a student visa applicants must be a genuine student and meet the basic health and good character requirements for temporary entry with offer of a place of study with an approved education provider and have paid course fees and guarantee of accommodation.

Eligible Students must provide:

  • completed work permit application form and fee
  • evidence of completed course, with minimum completion time frame of three years or a qualification that would qualify for points under our Skilled Migrant Category.
  • Evidence of job offer which is relevant to your qualification.
  • Passport valid for 3 months beyond the scheduled date of departure from New Zealand.
  • Sufficient money for self support
  • Valid ticket to exit New Zealand

Character requirements may need to be provided if studying more then two years, where police certificate will need to be provided that is less then six months old and from any country in which you have lived in for five or more years since reaching 17 years of age. Make sure you have signed and completed the application form as requested, with required information, otherwise the Immigration department will not accept it for processing. If you are applying from outside of New Zealand make shore your application is fully approved before you travel to New Zealand and if Students need to renew their permit to complete chosen course of study, they still need to go through the application process.

The maximum period to remain in New Zealand is 9 months within an 18 month period, but holders of a student visa and/or permit are entitled to study at the proposed education institution for the length of time specified on the visa, where student permit may be granted for the length of the course of study where all fees have been paid with a maximum of four years, visitors not requiring visas are initially allowed a stay for up to 3 months, after which they can apply in New Zealand for an extension of up to 9 months. All student visas are endorsed as multiple entry during the life of the visa.

Medical examination: 
Students will need to compete a medical examination and medical X-ray certificate if studying for more than one year period.

Vary depending on nationality, please check with the Immigration department for more information.

Refused Visa or Permit:

  • If you don’t meet the entry requirements.
  • You are not a genuine applicant for a study visa or permit
  • If you are a person to whom section 7 of the Immigration Act 1987 applies and you do not have an exemption.

Permit or Visa can be revoked if students don’t undertake a particular course of study at specified institution, where failure to do this may constitute a breach of the permit conditions in which case the permit may be revoked. Educational institutions wishing to report students who have breached these conditions can do so. The main purpose of Student Visa or Permit is to allow international students to study full time and work while studying were limitations may apply such as your course of study must require you to be in New Zealand for more than one year where you also may take up employment.

  • You may require work experience from a particular course.
  • Support yourself during the holiday seasons, such as Christmas, New year holidays.
  • You may be able to be eligible for a Work Permit once you have successfully completed your course, if that course took at least three years to complete.

The study permit or Visa means you can study in New Zealand for a period of time in institution as a full time student where in most cases you will be issued a one year renewable permit. This may allow you to undertake part time study and limited opportunity to work while study

Once you are eligible you may get a Work Permit for up to two years following the completion of your course so that you can gain work experience in your area of interests, but work experience must be related to your qualification.

Part time Study and work

  • Final semester of study, resulting in a qualification that would qualify you for points under the Skilled Migrant Category.
  • Nine months of study and meats New Zealand foreign student policy requirements, paid fees in full and meet the INZ visitor requirements.
  • You may only do part time study if you will be studying for at least 3 years and the course requires you to do work experience as part of your study.

Please contact the Embassy for information on what documentation you may require to enter New Zealand or for the complete rules on working under a Student Visa check the Immigration New Zealand website.

New Zealand Internship

Work New Zealand Application

For more information, please contact our registered Work New Zealand advisers!

About the New Zealand Student Visa

The Student Visa can be applied for through Immigration New Zealand, any student studying full time in an approved and accredited course must apply for a Student Visa

About the New Zealand Student Visa

New Zealand Student Visa Info

New Zealand Student VisaNew Zealand is a beautiful country that welcomes visitors from abroad with open arms, including those who wish to take advantage of its high standard of education and training.

If you would like to study a short course in New Zealand for the duration of less than three months, a visitor visa is all that is required. Two or more short courses require a student visa or permit.

If you are a New Zealand or Australian citizen, hold a New Zealand residence permit or an Australian permanent residence/resident return visa (except for when conditions apply to your residence/resident return visa) you will NOT need to apply for a visa or permit to study in New Zealand.

For full-time courses longer than three months, you will probably need a student visa. This includes courses at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

You may be able to study part-time if your course is at least three years long and includes practical work experience, or if you are accepted into an approved course that is no longer than nine months long. In these cases, you may study and work part-time at the same time.

It is important that you thoroughly understand the conditions and outcomes of the course you wish to undertake before commencing the visa application process.

Please note that this outline is a guide only, as visa conditions are subject to change. It is advised that you log onto the New Zealand Immigration website to find out the latest news and conditions and contact our team.

Contact your home country’s New Zealand Government office for all application forms and thorough details of the visa application process and your eligibility.

To apply for a student visa, you are required to provide an offer of acceptance from a New Zealand education provider, which must include:

  1. A written place of offer for the course.
  2. The name and duration of the course.
  3. Proof that the course is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), which will ensure it is of a high educational standard.
  4. The cost of the course fees and whether this is in New Zealand dollars or your own currency.
  5. Whether these fees need to be paid (in which case a receipt must be provided when your application has been approved in principle) or whether you are on a scholarship or exempt from fees.
  6. Whether you are studying full-time (longer than 20 hours per week) or part time (less than 20 hours per week).

This offer of acceptance must be provided with a completed ‘Student Visa/Permit Application’ form from the New Zealand Immigration Website, the application fee and a passport-sized photograph. The website also includes a useful application guide to help you through the process.

Further details which must be provided include:

  1. A written guarantee of accommodation either from your education provider or other relevant person assuring appropriate housing will be available to you.
  2. Proof of adequate health and travel insurance.
  3. Accompaniment by a guardian, if required.
  4. Your passport, which must remain valid through to three months after the end of your study period.
  5. Proof that you plan to leave New Zealand at the end of your study period.
  6. An acceptable standard of health and of good character (if the stay is longer than two years, a police background check and medical check will need to be undertaken).
  7. Evidence that you will have access to appropriate funds during your stay in New Zealand, depending on the duration of the course.

If successful, you must continue to satisfy the conditions of your student permit during your stay in New Zealand.

This includes:

  1. Attending the place of study in your permit.
  2. Continuing to pass your course.
  3. Not undertaking work, or only undertaking the amount specified in your permit (up to 20 hours a week).
  4. Abiding by New Zealand’s laws.
  5. Only remaining in New Zealand for the time specified in your permit.
  6. Remaining accompanied by a guardian if necessary, with the guardian’s visa remaining valid.

If any of these conditions are broken, you may have your permit revoked and will be required to leave New Zealand.

Certain conditions such as the course or institution you are studying at and your ability to work whilst studying may be applied for after your initial permit is granted through a student permit variation.

Why a New Zealand Student Visa

New Zealand Student VisaBoth Higher Education and Secondary School level Institute are acknowledged as some of the best in the world. With large campuses, fantastic facilities and qualified and professional teachers. It is no wonder that many international students are interested in studying here.

After a student has chosen a course and institute that they wish to study at, they will need to apply to the institute directly. Once accepted the student will be sent via post a confirmation letter proving their acceptance. An international student will need to keep this letter in order to apply for a Student Visa.

The Student Visa can be applied for through Immigration New Zealand, any student studying full time in an approved and accredited course must apply for a Student Visa. If the student does not have the required visa they will not be accepted into the country.

Those who do not require a Student Visa or Permit include, New Zealand citizens, Australian citizens, if the student holds a New Zealand Resident Permit, or if the student has an Australian Residence Visa including a current Australian Residence Return Visa.

A student studying an approved short course, which runs for 3 months or less does not need to apply for a Student Visa. In this case the student will need to apply for a Visitor Visa. However if a student plans to study another short course during the duration of the first course or commencing after the completion of the first course, they will need to apply for a Student Visa.

High School exchange students will require a Student Visa also, although the requirements for the application may be different to those studying Higher Education courses. The exchange student will need to provide evidence of their acceptance into the Student Exchange Scheme and have onward travel plans for after completion of the Exchange Scheme. They must also meet Health and Character requirements.

For students aged 13 years or under, they must be accompanied by a Student Guardian who holds a Student Guardian Visa. Any person holding a Student Guardian Visa must be able to support both themselves and the child whilst in New Zealand.

All Student Visa applicants are required to provide the following information:

  1. Proof of acceptance.
  2. The name of the course including the minimum time required to complete it.
  3. Proof that the Educational Institute meets the requirements for International Students.
  4. Proof of how much the course will cost in total.
  5. Evidence of what the student has to pay, including whether the sum is in domestic or foreign currency.
  6. Whether the course is Full or Part time study.
  7. Proof that the student can support themselves financially whilst in New Zealand.
  8. Proof of intention to leave New Zealand after completion of the course.
  9. A valid Passport.

Any person applying for a Visa in New Zealand must meet Health and Character requirements. Applicants must provide a current medical certificate as well as a Tuberculosis clearance in the form of a chest x-ray. Please note children under the age of 11 and pregnant women are not required to provide a Tuberculosis clearance. Any applicant aged 17 years or older must also provide a current Police certificate.

Once the Immigration Department of New Zealand has contacted the applicant stating that their visa has been approved.

The student must understand the rules and regulations a visa holder must abide by whilst in New Zealand.

  1. A student must attend their course at the place of intention.
  2. If a student is accompanied by a Student Guardian, they must live with this person.
  3. The student must show that they are passing the course of study.
  4. The student is only allowed to work the hours that are showed on their student permit.
  5. A visa holder must abide by New Zealands laws.
  6. The visa holder must only stay in New Zealand for the course duration.

Applying for a Student Visa may seem like a complicated process, how ever once the Student Visa has been attained a stay in New Zealand is a very rewarding and exciting experience.

New Zealand Student Visa Requirements

You will need to meet certain requirements to get a New Zealand Student Visa. We inform you about all Student Visa Requirements

New Zealand Student Visa Requirements

New Zealand Student Visa Health Requirements

We make this requirement to safeguard the well being of New Zealanders and to avoid placing a burden on the country’s health and social services.  We also want to ensure that people entering New Zealand are fit for the purpose they have come here for.
Generally, the New Zealand Immigration Service will decline your application for a visa or permit if:

  • there is any likelihood you’ll need dialysis treatment
  • you have active tuberculosis (TB) – if you are on anti-TB
  • treatment we’ll delay making a decision about your visa or
  • permit until you’ve had six months of treatment
  • you have required either hospital or residential care for a mental disorder or intellectual disability for more than 90 days in the last two years
  • you have a physical incapacity that requires full time care.

The New Zealand Immigration Service may also decline your application if you:

  • have some other infectious or communicable disease or
  • you need surgery that may add to the burden of the New Zealand health system.

If you’re coming to New Zealand to study for more than six months or intend to stay in New Zealand for more than six months you must provide a completed Temporary X-ray Certificate form (NZIS 1096) if:

  • you’re NOT from a low TB risk country
  • you’ve spent (lived and/or visited) a combined total of three months or more in a country or countries not identified as a low TB risk country in the past five years before you apply.

If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than two years, you and any family members coming with you need to complete a Medical and X-ray Certificate (NZIS 1007). Want to know how you get a Medical and X-ray Certificate?

Pregnant women and children under the age of 11 years are not required to submit x-ray certificates unless a special report is required.

For full details on health requirements, see the New Zealand Immigration Service Health Requirements Leaflet (NZIS 1121).

Low Risk Countries

If you want to study in New Zealand for less than three months, you don't require a student permit or New Zealand visa. For stay of more than three months, international students will require a student permit or visa unless their country of origin has a special agreement with New Zealand.

Application requirements

  • A recent passport size photograph
  • Payment of due application fee
  • Evidence of "Offer of Place" as stated in your offer letter
  • Evidence of payment of fees
  • A written guarantee from your educational institution of suitable accommodation for you in New Zealand
  • A return ticket or evidence of sufficient funds to travel back home

Tuberculosis screening

This is for applicants who have not submitted a full medical test to the New Zealand Immigration Service, do not hold a passport identified as belonging to a low TB risk country or have spent a combined total of three months or more in the five years before application in a country identified as a low TB risk country.
You should make appointment for a chest x-ray, ensure that you take the Temporary Entry X-ray Certificate (NZIS Form 1096) and ensure when submitting your application to attach it with the Temporary Entry X-ray Certificate and the chest x-ray plate.

Identified low TB risk countries

The Netherlands
New Zealand*
Puerto Rico
San Marino
The United Kingdom
The United Stated
Vatican City

New Zealand Study Visa Requirements

If you plan on studying in New Zealand for more than three months, you will need to apply for a student visa or permit. Only Australian and New Zealand citizens, and Australian and New Zealand permanent residents are exempt from this requirement.

Student visas or permits give authorization for its holder to study at an educational institution in the issuing country. However, students enrolled in a single short course of less than three months (and it is approved by the NZQA) can just apply for a visitor visa.

There are set requirements that need to be met when you are applying for a New Zealand student visa or permit. This includes, amongst other necessities, proof of an offer from a government or New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approved educational provider, evidence of financial stability, the meeting of health and character standards and a valid passport.

When your application has been approved it is important you familiarise yourself with the stipulated conditions that come with accepting the visa. Any breach of these conditions may lead to the immediate withdrawal of your permit.

All international students, apart from those coming from Australia must have a Student Visa if they intend to study in a recognized course for more than 3 months in New Zealand. This condition is applicable for school students of temporary skilled migrants to post-graduate and college students.

Top 10 Tips on New Zealand Student Visa that can be Kept as a Checklist
New Zealand welcomes meritorious students across to the world to come across and study in one of its world-class institutes. There are schools, colleges, polytechnics, and universities where students can study provided they meet certain conditions.

Take a look at top 10 tips which you must keep handy while applying for a Student Visa in New Zealand.

  1. School-Age Visitor Visa Holders: visitors under this category can attend schools in New Zealand for a maximum period of 3 months per calendar year. For more duration, the school student must apply for a Student Visa.
  2. Dependent Children of Temporary Work Visa Holders: the children under this category must have a valid New Zealand Student Visa to study as domestic students. Without this visa, the kids can only study for 2 weeks in a school as a domestic student.
  3. Health Requirement: if you apply for a Student Visa that is valid for 6 months, a tuberculosis check needs to be done. It has to be negative. If you are visiting for more than 12 months, x-ray tests and medical certificates are required.
  4. Character Requirement: if you are staying in New Zealand for more than 2 years and you are 17 or more years of age, a police certificate must be shown that certifies your character.
  5. Financial Requirement: there must a financial undertaking certificate for the student or a surety/evidence of NZ$10,000 per year. There must also be funds to finance return plane ticket of the visa holder to his or her home country. Students studying for 36 weeks must provide evidence of NZ$1,000 per month.
  6. Passport Validity: the passport must be valid for up to 3 months past the date on which the visa holder plans to leave New Zealand.
  7. Accommodation Requirement: if the student is below 18 years of age, there must be guarantee on the student’s accommodation prior to his or her going to New Zealand.
  8. English Requirement: students must at least have IELTS score of 5.0 to get a Student Visa. For higher studies or elite courses, the score in English may increase.
  9. Part-time Work Option: it is possible to work part-time in New Zealand while studying. However, one must state about it in the visa application. If successfully sanctioned, students can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. Note, the option must be mentioned in the Student Visa.
  10. Family Members Accompanying the Student: it is possible for near relatives to accompany the student under a Student Visa. However, there must be a separate visa for the relative, such as a Visitor Visa or Working Holiday Visa, etc.

Contact our student counsellors for any questions regarding New Zealand Student Visas. We offer free services to international students.

If you wish to study and work in Auckland, a student visa is an essential requirement

If you are planning to study in New Zealand, you must have a student visa before you are permitted entry to the country.  New Zealand has visa offices around the world, so you may be able to obtain the relevant information from their office in your country.  Otherwise, you can apply for a visa via the Immigration New Zealand website.

Visa applications can only be processed if the applicant is already enrolled at an approved New Zealand educational institute, such as a university or college.  Your passport must be valid for three months after your planned date of departure.

When applying for a visa, you must provide certified copies of:

  • A bank statement or similar, proving your ability to support yourself,
  • Accommodation details
  • Evidence of an offer from an educational institute,
  • Receipt of payment of tuition fees (or proof of exemption, such as a scholarship offer),
  • A recent, passport sized photo,
  • A return air ticket, or evidence of fund to purchase one, and
  • Applicants older than 17 will need a police certificate as evidence of good character.

Depending on the length of your stay, you may also need to provide evidence of your health.

Students only need a visa if they are planning on studying in the country for more than three months.  If you wish to undertake further study, you can apply for a student visa in New Zealand.

Visitors on a student visa are not allowed to work unless they have a variation of conditions on their visa.  This does not include work or practical experience all students, regardless of their course load, may participate in any work that is a compulsory part of their enrolment.

Part time students who are enrolled in study for at least twelve months are permitted to work part time.  Full time students (this generally means you are enrolled in at least four subjects each semester) may work for twenty hours per week during the academic year, and full time during the end of year holidays.  Students who are enrolled in any course that will culminate in a qualification listed under the New Zealand Skilled Category, whether part time or full time, may work similar hours.   

Secondary students who fulfil the above requirements must additionally provide a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.   

New Zealand Student Visa Requirements
New Zealand Student Visa Requirements

Student Visa for Primary or Secondary Students

The New Zealand government offers student visa's for both Primary and Secondary school students, in order to apply for one of these visa's you must have gained acceptance into a New Zealand High School and have the evidence to back it up. This documentation must be included in your visa application.

Student Visa for School & High School Students

New Zealand Student Visa for Primary School Students

New Zealand Student Visa

Generally there are two kinds of primary and secondary schools in New Zealand that can offer places to international students. These are the state or integrated schools funded and accredited by the Government to enrol full-fee paying international students, and the private, fee-funded schools accredited by the Government to enrol fee-paying international students.

The state schools give priority to domestic and NZAID scholarship students, while the private schools give equal priority to domestic and international students.

To be granted a student visa, applicants need to show an offer of a place at a school, the name and minimum time of the course, proof that both the school and the course are accredited by the Government, the fees for the course of study and whether you have to pay the fees.

You will need a guardian to accompany you if you are enrolling in years 1 to 8 or are under 13 years of age and enrolled in a private school. There are also health and character requirements and the Government needs you to show that your application is genuine.

As an international student, you will need to prove to prove to the Government that you have the money you need to support you during your stay, which would be roughly $10,000 or more per year, or that the money is being held in New Zealand on your behalf.

If someone in New Zealand is intending to cover your costs and accommodation, or sponsor you, or you have an offer of financial assistance for
a Government agency, you’ll need to give proof of this before you leave for New Zealand. You also need a valid passport and proof that you intend to leave the country when you study is finished.

There are some conditions that go with your study permit. For example, you have to actually attend the designated place of study and pass your courses. If you came with a guardian you have to stay with them. You have to obey New Zealand’s laws, only work if your permit allows you to, and leave the
country when your course is finished.

You can only stay in New Zealand for the length of your course, as long as the fees are paid. If you beach any of these conditions your permit may be revoked and you will have to leave the country.

AA Education Network will answer your questions about high school study in New Zealand – visas, schools, travel arrangements, accommodation and general living.

Contact us today and one of our counsellors will be happy to assist you organise and plan your trip.

New Zealand Student Visa for High School Students.

A requirement for study in New Zealand is that you are accompanied by a parent or guardian in New Zealand. You must also meet the health requirements for any new person entering the country. You must not have ever committed a serious crime or offence, and your parent or guardian must provide evidence of being able to support themselves financially whilst in New Zealand. You must also have a valid passport.

There will be various visa fee's applicable, the cost of these fee's will be dependant on your country of origin, length of intended stay and visa type that you are applying for.

The assessment process will consist of the Immigration of New Zealand office checking to see that all details provided are true and correct, they will conduct a background check, check any references and verify what your intent for coming to New Zealand is. As each applicant varies, the immigration department will let you know within 14 days how long the assessment process may take.

The Immigration Department will contact you with the results of your visa application once completed. Please contact us to get started!

New Zealand Student Visa Work Rights

New Zealand Student Visa holders are allowed to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during all scheduled holidays and/or during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Working on a New Zealand Student Visa

Working on a student visa in New ZealandWhen can International Student Undertake Work Assignments?

While Pursuing Studies

International students can work when they are either studying, take up New Zealand internships or when they have completed their studies and gather a good work experience. While pursuing their studies, students can work only when:

  • The curriculum is a two-year full-time event at a private institution.
  • The curriculum ends in a certification which entitles the student to quality as a Skilled Migrant.
  • The curriculum is a full-time secondary schooling session, such as Year 12 or Year 13. A written consent from school and parents is required.
  • The curriculum is at least six-months session at a private institute or tertiary institute. The New Zealand Immigration Officer gives the consent that the curriculum requires the learning of English language skills. At the time the student gets the visa, he or she must have attained an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall band score of at least 5.0
  • The curriculum is usually of NZQA Level 5 or higher diploma courses

…And, the working hours are within 20 hours per week (including holidays).The student can also work with a student visa if:

The curriculum requires work experience or internship
The curriculum is a yearly full-time event with Christmas or New Year holiday. The students can work during the holiday.

After Completing Studies

International students can also work when they have completed their curriculum, if they have:

  • Secured employment corresponding to their qualification that they have pursued in New Zealand
  • Completed at least a three-year curriculum
  • Qualified for Skilled Migrant Category

…And, even if there is no offer for employment, the student can work if he or she has acquired a qualification that has earned them enough points to quality for Residence Skilled Migrant Category. The student would then be entitled for a Graduate Job Search Work Visa.

How can a Graduate Student Start Working for Any Employer?
If an international student completes studies, becomes a graduate, and acquires a qualification under Residence Skilled Migrant Category, he or she would be entitled for Graduate Job Search Work Visa. This visa allows a graduate to work after completing studies in New Zealand. The following sub-categories are followed, such as:

  • It can be the usual visa valid for a 12-month period. The visa allows graduates to work as trainees under Study to Work category and take up jobs offered by employers.
  • It can be a two-year Graduate Job Search Visa if the graduates have studied in New Zealand on a skill-set that allows an employer to offer them a long-term skilled assignment
  • It can be a three-year work visa if the international student studying in New Zealand requires two or more years of practical experience to acquire a membership or registration from a certified organization.

…And, there is Study to Work visa where the student qualifies under Skilled Migrant Category.

What to Expect from the Employee to Get a Legal and Ethical Work Experience as an International Student with Graduate Job Search Visa?
The Graduate Job Search Visa is an important document which an international student must have to work in New Zealand. Other criteria include:

  • The end-date of the visa must correspond with the end date of the project.
  • The employer complies with the Employment Law.
  • The Job Position must match with the qualification of the graduate – as completed in New Zealand.
  • The Job must be a full-time one.
  • The Job must entitle completed supplementary form.

How to Start Work When the Student is Already in New Zealand?
For those international students who are already in New Zealand, have required qualifications to start work, but don’t have required visa that would allow them to work, the Variation of Conditions of the student visa can help them to work. The students need to apply at the nearest immigration or visa-related office for this option.

What are the Pre-Requisites for Foreign Students with a Job Offer to Work under Study to Work Category?
If a student does not have a Graduate Job Search Visa, he or she must have a Work Visa within three months after the end date of the student visa. Apart from what the employer wants, the international student who wants to work in New Zealand must meet “health” and “character” pre-requisites.


The international students should have an acceptable health condition. They should not have:

Active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB)
Health issues that require hospitalization, residential care, costly medicines or disability services
Issue related ORRS funding

To study in New Zealand, the international student must have a good and amiable character. There should not be any incidents related to:

  • Imprisonment
  • Prohibition
  • Deportation
  • Criminal offence

Useful Mandatory Evidence for one-year or two-year work permit:

  • Acquire job offer that corresponds to the qualification acquired in News Zealand
  • Acquire qualifications that is under Skilled Migrant Category

Useful Mandatory Evidence for three-year professional duties to get membership or registration:

  • The need for membership or registration is essential to perform professional job in New Zealand
  • The professional association under whom the student is working has a consent to the job position
  • The qualification attained by the student must meet the standards of those allowed in New Zealand

What are the Pre-Requisites for Foreign Students without a Job Offer to Work under Study to Work Category?
Similar rules applicable for Graduate Job Search Visa are followed for international students who want to work but don’t have a job right now. One rule added here includes:

The students without a job must give evidence of securing at least NZ$ 2,100 to maintain self during the year’s stay in New Zealand. Travelers check or bank credentials under the name of the student are generally accepted as the evidence.

What are the Pre-Requisites for Foreign Students Getting a Work Experience to Complete a Curriculum?
There can be situations where a student may have to complete a practical job work to complete a training or study curriculum. In such a case, the student requires a Work Visa under Student and Trainee Work Instructions. There are three categories under this section and the student must comply with pre-requisites:

  • Meet “Health” and “Character” requirements
  • Provide consent proof from education institute requiring this traineeship
  • Provide consent proof to work from employer

Dental or Medical Traineeship
Dental or medical trainees must comply with the aforesaid pre-requisites as well as:

  • Acquire qualification for the job offer
  • Surrender student visa or visitor visa (if any)
  • Acquire letter of acceptance from the New Zealand Hospital

Jockey Traineeship
Jockeys who have attained at least 16 years or more must comply with the aforesaid pre-requisites and also:

  • Acquire a written guarantee from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing corp. on the financial requirements
  • Acquire a written guarantee from the trainer that the cost of going back to the native country could be met in case of an unsuccessful traineeship

…Finally, the student needs to apply through proper channel with legal documents and evidence to get a proper working visa.

New Zealand Work Visa formalities and criteria for foreign students are mentioned in this page. Check how much time you can work part-time while studying. If you have a Student Visa, you may be able to work part-time and full-time during holidays.

The following is a new guiding statement for immigration student policy. Immigration student policy contributes to New Zealand’s sustainable economic development by:

  • facilitating the entry of genuine students, with a focus on attracting and developing students who have the skills and talent New Zealand needs
  • increasing global connectedness
  • supporting the sustainable growth of export education capability
  • earning foreign exchange, and strengthening New Zealand education, while managing risk to New Zealand and maintaining social cohesion.
  • Expanded Work Opportunities for Students (and Some Partners)

Term-time work rights
Term-time work rights of 20 hours per week will be available to the following students:

  • all students enrolled in a full-time course of at least two years
  • all students enrolled in a course that would result in points under the Skilled Migrant Category (see section SM14 of our Operational Manual) (regardless of length of course or type of institution)
  • secondary students engaged in full-time, full-year course of study in Year 12 or Year 13 with written permission from their school and parental consent
  • English language students with an IELTS overall band score of 5.0 or above at the time of application for a visa or permit to study a full time course of at least six months duration.

Christmas holiday work rights
The right to work full-time in the Christmas holiday period will be available to any student enrolled in a course of 12 months or more duration.

Partner’s work rights
Open work permits will be available to the partners of the following students:

students enrolled in courses of study towards qualifications in areas of absolute skill shortage as specified in the Long Term Skill Shortage List students enrolled in postgraduate qualifications i.e. levels 8, 9, or 10 on the qualifications table.

Facilitating the Pathway from Study to Work to Residence

New work permit for some graduates
Any student regardless of institution type who successfully completes a course in New Zealand resulting in a qualification that would get points under the Skilled Migrant Category will be eligible to apply for a six -month open work permit.
Once they have secured relevant employment they can then apply for either a post-study two-year work permit (currently specified in our Operational Manual at U7.20.15) or proceed directly to the Skilled Migrant Category.

Special Conditions for NZAID Students

Work rights for some NZAID students
NZAID students to be granted term-time work rights if:

  • the student has written approval from NZAID and the education provider, and
  • the work is a compulsory course requirement or is related to their postgraduate course of study.
  • Work rights for some partners of NZAID students

Partners of NZAID students will be eligible for a work permit which will not need a labour market test if:

  • they have a job offer, and
  • written approval of NZAID.

Further permits restricted
NZAID students, their partners and dependants may only be issued with further visas or permits for New Zealand in the two-year period following completion of their scholarship with NZAID approval (with the exception of a work permit to complete course requirements, or a short-term visitor’s visa).

Enhancements to immigration policy will make it easier for international students to work and study in New Zealand. The changes which came into force from 4 July 2005, will give more opportunities for international students to gain work permits after they have completed their studies.

The changes are:

International students who have graduated from a course that would gain points under Skilled Migrant Category will be eligible for a six month open work permit.

The pool of students eligible to work part time while studying will be expanded to include Year 12 & 13 school students and some English language students, provided certain conditions, including English language standards, are met.

Eligible students will be able to apply to work for up to 20 hours a week during a term, instead of the current 15 hours.

Anyone undertaking a course of 12 months or more will be able to apply to work full-time over the summer holidays.

Partners of students studying in areas of absolute skill shortage and partners of all postgraduate students will be able to apply for an open work permit valid for the duration of the student’s course of study.

Education providers will be required to monitor international students' performance and attendance records to prevent any potential abuse of the system.

For more information please visit the NZ Immigration website.

Study & Immigrate to New Zealand

A New Zealand visa granted to an international student would allow him or her to study and work part-time in the country. After graduation, it is even possible to apply for Graduate Work Experience visa under Study to Work category.

These students are expected to get plush jobs in the country and add a considerable value to the economy after they pass out from coveted New Zealand colleges. Getting a student visa would also allow the student to travel in and out of New Zealand for unlimited number of times as well.

Basic Requirement for Getting Student Visa
The New Zealand Immigration Authorities have applied strict rules since 2011 for granting student visas. An Offer of Place is a must for the student to get a student visa. This document would entail the following:

  • The course name and course duration
  • The college document where the student has been selected to study the course.
  • The document which shows that the college meets the curriculum requirement meant for international students
  • The course fee
  • The course program where number of study hours per week is mentioned
  • Minimum International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score to check the proficiency in English language

…And, to get the student visa, the course must be at least 3 months long. Additionally, the student must study full-time or 20 hours per week. If the number of study hours is less, the education provider must specify at least three papers or something alike for each semester. It is also necessary for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to endorse the course before you get the student visa.

English Requirement
A certain level of proficiency in English is required for getting a student visa. For tertiary education in colleges in New Zealand, you must have a minimum score of 5.5 in the IELTS examination. This English test primarily assesses the proficiency of the language among international students. The score however defers from one institute to another. It also varies from one course to another. For instance, an English language school would require at least 6.0 (Academic) IELTS score for students studying a mainstream course. Introductory courses would require 5.5 score.

Miscellaneous Requirement
Students planning to get a student visa to study in a New Zealand college must have a health and character certificate. There must be a sponsor to sponsor student for the course and his or her stay in the country. Students with relatives sponsoring them would be preferred.

Applying for Student Visa
To apply for a New Zealand student visa, a foreign student must:

  • Fill in and sign the Student Visa Application
  • Send the required form to the visa processing office with the application fee, documents required as proof, and certifications as needed.

The immigration authorities would check the application and grant the student visa if it finds the application and the student’s needs “bona fide”.