Student Visa
NZ Immigration Specialist

Student Visa

A student visa (whether granted onshore or offshore) allows you to study full-time in New Zealand for a limited period of time. A student visa may have conditions you must be meet – for example, it may include:

• the name of the course you are allowed to study

• the name of the educational provider

• the New Zealand location of the provider, and

• the requirement to hold acceptable insurance

You do not need a student visa for one or more courses of study, up to a total of three months, that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has approved or exempted (see the NZQA website). In this case you may need to apply for a visitor visa.  A student visa is also not required for a single period of up to three months’ study at a primary, intermediate, or secondary school. The study must be completed within that calendar year.

Course Fees

If you are in New Zealand or already hold a student visa, you need to provide evidence that you have either paid the course fees or that you are exempt from course fees. If you are outside New Zealand applying for your first student visa, you must show you have sufficient funds to pay the course fees once your student visa is approved in principle.


Sponsorship requirements are detailed in the Sponsorship Form for Temporary Entry (INZ 1025). If you have a sponsor, they must complete the form and you must send it with your application form.

Financial undertaking

A financial undertaking can be provided by a third party. If the third party is a person, they must be a relative or a friend. If not a person (ie an entity), an individual must be nominated as an authorized contact. They must complete the form Financial undertaking for a Student (INZ 1014) and you must send it with your application form.

Note: Financial undertakings can only be provided for students who:

•          are outside New Zealand applying for their first visa application, or

•          are applying for a further student visa in New Zealand if the same third party who provided a financial undertaking for the first student visa application is continuing to provide a financial support.

Bona fide requirements for sponsors and guarantors

Both sponsors and third parties providing the financial undertaking must satisfy an immigration officer that they genuinely intend to meet their financial obligations and hold sufficient funds for each student they are supporting.

Own funds

If you intend to support yourself, the evidence INZ needs depends on how long you will be studying in New Zealand. If you will be studying for less than 36 weeks, you need to provide evidence of funds of NZ$1250 for each month of study. If you will be studying for 36 weeks or more, you need to provide evidence of NZ$15,000 for each year of study

Insurance requirements for foreign fee paying students

Foreign fee-paying students (excluding New Zealand Aid Programme-supported students) are required to hold acceptable insurance as a condition of their visa. An acceptable insurance policy is one which complies with the insurance requirements of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students and is acceptable to your education provider. You do not need to provide evidence of your insurance policy with your student visa application, however, you are required to declare in your application that you will make the necessary arrangements to meet this condition.

Dependent children of Essential Skills work visa holders

If one of your parents holds an Essential Skills work visa you will need to provide evidence their wage or salary meets the minimum income threshold. The minimum income threshold is NZ$33,675 per annum gross. Acceptable evidence includes original or certified copies of an employment agreement and/or a description of the work with salary or wages equal to or higher than the minimum income threshold. If both your parents hold Essential Skills work visas, both wages or salaries may be taken into account when determining if the minimum income threshold is met.

Can you work while holding a student visa?

You may be allowed to work for up to 20 hours each week during the academic year. You may also be allowed to work full-time during the Christmas and New Year holiday period at the end of each academic year. To work you will need to apply for a variation of conditions to your student visa.  

Restrictions on type of employment

People who hold student visas may not be self-employed, provide commercial sexual services, or operate or invest in a business of prostitution.