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New Zealand: Visa Guides - Must read

Applying for a student visa in New Zealand

Our guide to getting a student visa for international students studying in New Zealand...

New Zealand Bluff
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The faraway, exotic pull of New Zealand draws ever-increasing amounts of students from around the globe each year. Unless you are from Australia, before you can enjoy New Zealand’s high-quality education and endless green plains you will need to apply for and obtain a visa. Which visa you will need depends on the length of your study programme, whilst the supporting documents you’ll need to include in your application will vary depending on your specific circumstances. It might seem tricky, but with our step-by-step breakdown of the visa application process you’ll find yourself organised in no time.

 

Which visa will I need?

Students from Australia do NOT need a visa to enter or study in New Zealand.

If your study programme is less than three months in duration then you will need a visitor visa. If it is longer, you will need to apply for a student visa.

 

Visitor Visa

Students of some nationalities will NOT need a visitor visa to study in New Zealand for less than three months. These students however WILL need to fill out an arrival card when they land in New Zealand.

If you do require a visitor visa then you will need to obtain one before you arrive in New Zealand. To apply, you will need to collect your supporting documents (including the Visitor Visa Application Form (INZ 1017)), and send them as a complete application to the relevant office, depending on your home country. You can find out where you’ll need send your application here.

Find out if you need a Visitor Visa

 

Visitor Visa Application Form (INZ 1017)

You can download the Visitor Visa Application form from the Immigration New Zealand website.

You will need to sign a declaration at the end of this form saying that you have access to enough funds to support yourself whilst you study, and that you will maintain the conditions of the visa whilst you are in New Zealand. At the end of the form, you will need to state you have paid the application fee, i.e. by credit card or by bank cheque. If you’ve paid by card, then you will need to include the specific details of the card you used to pay in the form. When you pay the fee, you will need to keep the receipt and include it in your complete application.

 

Which documents will I need?

When completing the Visitor Visa Application Form (INZ 1017), you will need to have the following documents and information handy:

  • Personal information, including passport details
  • Employment history, including dates and job details
  • Medical information including details of any conditions or medical requirements, medical certificates if you answer ‘yes’ to certain questions on the form
  • Character information including criminal history and details of an instance you’ve been refused entry into a country (if applicable)
  • Details of the purpose of your visit to New Zealand i.e. details of your study programme

 

You will need to submit the following documents with your complete application:

  • A passport that is valid for at least three months after you plan to leave New Zealand, OR one month if there is an embassy or consulate from your home country in New Zealand
  • Receipt of the payment of your application fee
  • Two passport-sized colour photographs, pasted onto the INZ 1017 form
  • Letter of acceptance from your host university
  • Travel tickets out of New Zealand, or confirmation that they have been booked
  • Proof you will have enough money to support yourself whilst in New Zealand: NZ$1000 (US$866) per person, per month or NZ$400 (US$347) per person, per month if you have already paid for your accommodation. In this case, you will need to provide proof that you have paid for it, i.e. reciept or tenancy agreement
  • Completed Visitor Visa Application Form (INZ 1017)

 

Student visa

If your study programme is longer than three months then you will need to apply for a student visa. You will need to do this before you enter New Zealand, and must do so by submitting your complete application (including a completed Student Visa Application form (INZ 1012)), to your nearest New Zealand embassy or consulate either by post or in person. 

Some institutions offer students the chance to lodege their application for a student visa on campus once they’re arrived in New Zealand provided they are ALREADY holding a valid visa. Therefore if you are applying from your home country (which is most likely the case), then you WILL need to apply BEFORE you leave for New Zealand. You will not be able to enter the country without a valid visa.

You can find out where you will need to submit your application using the Immigration New Zealand Office and Fee Finder

Most student visas take between 10-15 working days to process, but may take up to 10 weeks in specific circumstances. It is recommended that you submit your application five weeks before you intend to leave for New Zealand.

If you are applying for your first student visa in New Zealand, then you will need to show you will have sufficient funds to pay your tuition fees once your visa is approved. Students on exchange programmes DO NOT need to pay tuition fees.

Find your nearest New Zealand Embassy or Consulate

 

Insurance

Whilst you will NOT need to provide proof you have insurance as part of your visa application, you WILL need to sign a declaration as part of the application form that affirms that you will have acceptable insurance for the entire duration of your studies. This is a condition of your visa and students who do not meet it risk being deported.

 

Student visa application form (INZ 1012)

You can download this form from the Immigration New Zealand website or visit a New Zealand embassy or consulate and ask for one in person.

At the end of the form you will have the option to either have your supporting documents posted to you, or go to the relevant office and pick them up yourself. You will also need to nominate a payment method for your application fee. If you’re paying the fee by card then you will also need to fill in the details of the particular card you used. After you pay the fee, you’ll need to keep the receipt and include it in your complete application.

 

Which documents will I need?

To complete the visa application form, you will need the following documents and information:

  • Two colour, passport-sized photographs that are less than six months old. You will need to paste these onto the form.
  • Personal information and passport details
  • Previous employment information, including dates and job details
  • Medical information including illness history and details of any conditions or medical requirements you have
  • Immigration history, including previous countries you have lived in and visited
  • Character information such as details of any criminal history or refusal of entry into another country
  • Details of your study programme and host institution, including commencement and completion dates
  • Information on how you will financially support yourself when you study in New Zealand (you will need to attach supporting documents to verify this as part of your complete application)
  • Information on how you will pay your application fee, including the method of payment (i.e. by card or cheque), and the specific details of the card you used if you paid by credit or debit card.
  • A return air ticket to your home country, or evidence that you have enough money to buy one

 

To apply for a student visa, you will need to include the following documents in your application:

  • A completed Student Visa Application Form (INZ 1012)
  • Visa application fee
  • A valid passport
  • Two passport-sized, colour photographs
  • Medical or chest x-ray certificates, ONLY if your study programme is longer than six months
  • Police certificate acting as a character reference (if applicable),
  • Letter of acceptance from your host institution
  • Receipt of the payment of your tuition fees
  • A police certificate from your home country and any other country you have lived in for five or more years since the age of 17, ONLY if your study programme is longer than 24 months
  • Proof that you will have access to enough funds to support yourself for the duration of your study programme: if your study programme is less than 36 weeks, you will need to NZ$1,250 (US$1,083) for each month of study, and if it is longer than you will need to provide NZ$15,000 (US$12,996) for each year of study. If you are providing bank statements in your name the account needs to be at least six months old. You may also need to provide evidence of the source of funds for any deposits into your account over NZ$1000 (US$866).

Fees

You will need to pay your application fee before you apply for a student visa as you need to include the receipt of payment in your complete application. Fees vary depending on your home country and the nature of your study programme. You can find out what you’ll need to pay in application fees, as well as the details of the office you’ll need to pay them to using the Immigration New Zealand Office and Fee Finder.

 

 

Now that you know how to get through the visa application process, why not browse courses in New Zealand and kick-start your plans to stay abroad?

 

Read more:

'Applying to Study in New Zealand'

'Student Living Costs in New Zealand'

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About Author

New Zealand Bluff

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.