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The basics
New Zealand: Visa Guides

How to apply for a post-study visa in New Zealand

Think you may want to work in New Zealand as an international graduate? Find out what you need to do with our guide to post-study visa options.

post study work visa New Zealand

When you choose to study abroad, one of the first questions on your mind might be ‘how long can I stay after I graduate?’. In the case of New Zealand, well known for its fantastic quality of life and vibrant workforce, you will be pleased to know you will also qualify for some of the best post-study work rights in the world.


In this article, we explore post-study visa options in New Zealand and the application process.


The New Zealand post-study work visa


Historically, New Zealand law required you to obtain a job offer to stay in the country after your studies. However, in 2018, the system was re-worked. With this post-study work visa, both the application process and quality of graduate-level employment were dramatically improved.


This process changed again in May 2022 and is still being updated. The information in this article will be updated regularly as soon as more information becomes available. 


Who can apply?


You can apply for a post-study work visa if you have recently completed a course in New Zealand resulting in a qualification at NZQF (New Zealand Qualifications Framework) level 4 or above.


The post-study visa is not given to graduates of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.


Australian citizens should not apply for a post-study visa. If you have a passport, you will automatically qualify for an Australian resident visa allowing you to live, work and study in New Zealand.


Explore the top five graduate jobs in New Zealand.


How long can I stay?


How long you can remain in New Zealand on a post-study work visa depends on when, where and what you studied. The length of your visa will depend on your course and where in New Zealand your education provider is situated.


If you studied by distance or off-campus, but your education provider is based in Auckland, then your visa will be the same length as someone who completed the same course at the Auckland campus.


Located in Auckland

If your education provider is situated in Auckland, then the length of your post-study work visa will depend solely on the level of and type of qualification you complete. This is shown in our table below.


Level of study (NZQF)

Length of visa

Level 7 bachelor’s degree or higher

Three years

Level 7 graduate diploma

One year

Level 7 graduate diploma (training to be a teacher)

One year + optional one-year extension

Other Level 7 qualification

One year

Level 4, 5 or 6

One year


Discover more about the top universities in New Zealand.


Located outside Auckland

If your education provider is situated outside of Auckland, then the length of time you can stay in New Zealand is also dependent on when you obtained your qualification, as shown in the below table.


Level of study (NZQF)

Date qualification obtained

Length of visa

Level 7 or higher

On or before 31 December 2021

Two years

Level 7 or higher

After 31 December 2021

One year

Level 4,5 or 6

On or before 31 December 2021

Two years

Level 4,5 or 6

After 31 December 2021

One year


If you obtained/applied for your student visa before 11 May 2022.

You can apply for a three-year post-study work visa no matter where your education provider is situated if you studied:


  • a course at NZQF level 7 or higher for 30 weeks or longer; or
  • a course at NZQF level 4, 5 or 6 for 60 weeks or longer.


What rules are there?


As a New Zealand post-study work visa holder, you will be able to:


  • work in any job
  • be self-employed
  • look for work
  • support visas for your partner and/or children to live in New Zealand with you.


You will need to obtain medical insurance if your visa is granted for less than two years. If your visa allows you to stay for two years or more, you will have access to publicly funded medical treatment.


Be aware that every visa is unique. Visas are given on a case-by-case basis. Yours may include other conditions depending on your circumstances.


When to apply


You must apply for your New Zealand post-study work visa:


  • no later than three months after your student visa expires/ends; or
  • no later than six months after your visa expires/ends if it was granted so you could complete a doctorate.


What are the costs?


If you submit your application online, the cost of a New Zealand student visa is NZD 495. If you submit a paper application, the cost will be similar, but the payment currency may vary. You may also have to pay additional fees to the visa receiving centre. Find out more about these costs in your country. Remember to select ‘Fee Paying Student Visa’, your location and that you’re submitting a paper application. 


You will also need to show that you have funds/money of at least NZD 4,200 available to you. You may need to pay to obtain additional documents if they are requested, for example, a police check or medical examination.


Remember, you will need to be able to afford to support yourself while you’re in New Zealand. Don’t forget to include costs like rent, bills, medical insurance (if applicable) and travel costs into your budget.


You may find our article about the cost of living in New Zealand helpful when budgeting. 


What documents do you need?


When you apply for your New Zealand post-study work visa, you will need:


  • your passport (or certificate of identity)
  • evidence of the qualification you have obtained, either:
    • a copy of your qualification award/certificate; or
    • a letter or academic transcript from your education provider confirming you have completed your qualification
  • evidence (e.g. bank statements) that you have at least NZD 4,200 available to you
  • A passport photo of yourself (if you submit a paper application, you will need two photos).


Depending on your circumstances, you might also be asked to provide:


  • police certificates to prove you are of good character
  • evidence you are in good health, such as a chest x-ray or having a medical examination.


Completing your application


You can apply for your post-study work visa online or on paper. Make sure you have your credit or debit card ready to pay the fees associated with your application. Don’t forget that you can apply for your post-study work visa online


If you prefer, you can complete a paper form. Once you have filled it in, you will need to send it to your local receiving centre


What happens after you apply?


You will normally receive a decision about your New Zealand post-study work visa within (no later than) 61 days.


What other visas are there?


Want to know more about some of the other New Zealand work visas available? Our table below details a few. 


You might decide one of these is better for you than a post-study work visa. Or you might choose to switch to one of these after your post-study work visa expires. Whatever the case, it’s always a good idea to fully understand your options.


Visa type

Eligible applicants


Long term* skill shortage list work visa.


People who have been offered a long-term job in New Zealand where the occupation is on the Long-Term Skill Shortage List.

30 months

Working holiday visa

For 18–30-year-olds who want an extended holiday in New Zealand and want to work to fund the trip.

12-23 months

*Note: This visa is now closed unless you have already held this visa and are reapplying.


Find out more about the range of work visas available in New Zealand.


Don’t forget!


Check your visa dates and conditions when you receive it – these will tell you what you can and cannot do when you are in New Zealand.


If you think there has been a mistake on your visa, you must contact New Zealand Immigration for it to be changed.



At present, most New Zealand visa applications are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This restriction is due to be lifted in October 2022. Find out more about the rules related to COVID-19 and if they might affect your post-study work visa options.


You can continue your research into studying abroad by exploring universities in New Zealand and using our course matcher tool to find your ideal qualification.