Student Visa New Zealand Types, Cost, Application Process, Requirements

Records suggest that every academic year, nearly 90,000 students avail New Zealand student visa. Right now, the New Zealand government is aiming to increase the number by two folds, i.e, 180,000. Over the years, New Zealand has became a popular study-abroad destination and has been able to record a major surge in its international student population. This can be certainly attributed to its high-ranked education system, comparatively lesser cost of attendance than several other popular countries and student friendly environment.

Before applying for admission to New Zealand universities, Indian students must take a look at the other side of the story as the New Zealand immigration data have revealed a decrement of 10% in the visa refusal rates for Indian students. Between July 2019 and February 2020, around 26% of the 17,621 applications of Indian students has been rejected. The primary reason being the changes in New Zealand’s International Education Strategy 2018-2030, which emphasises on allowing entry of students with genuine study objectives only.

Check out how is New Zealand as a study destination

Thus, to study in New Zealand, one needs to be very clear with their study objectives and ready to diligently work for them. Furthermore, applicants need to ensure that they have sufficient funds to support their travel and stay in New Zealand.

New Zealand Student Visa COVID-19 Updates

  • The New Zealand Government has announced that from mid-2022, there will be a border class exception for 1000 international students.
  • The international tertiary students include 400 pilot trainees, 300 students at sub-degree level, 300 students of degree level and above. 
  • In view of COVID-19 pandemic, entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled.
  • Brazil, India, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea have been designated very high risk countries and Only New Zealand citizens are eligible for entry.
  • However, international students can apply for online and distance learning programs offered by various universities in New Zealand.

Types of New Zealand Student Visa

Student Visa Type Benefits Duration Primary Condition Application Fee* Approximate Visa Processing Time
Fee Paying Student Visa Allows students to take full-time courses at a recognized university in New Zealand and meanwhile work up to 20 hours in a week Up to 4 years Payment of full tuition fee and an offer letter from a recognized university in New Zealand 330 NZD (16,712 INR) 73 days
Vocational Trainee Student Visa Allows New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarship scholars to take a training placement or
Allows shipping company professionals to study a nautical programme of study at Manukau Polytechnic
And work up to 20 hours in a week
Up to 1 year (New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarship scholars) or Duration of the program at Manukau Polytechnic Recipient of New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarship or Enrolled at Manukau Polytechnic 288 NZD (14,585 INR) 47 days
Foreign Government Supported Student Visa Allows students with a foreign government loan or scholarship to study full-time in NZ and meanwhile work up to 20 hours in a week Up to 4 years Proof of government loan or scholarship covering entire tuition fees 330 NZD (16,712 INR) 47 days
Pathway Student Visa Allows students to take 3 consecutive courses on single student visa and meanwhile work up to 20 hours in a week Up to 5 years Letter of acceptance from a recognized university offering pathway program and proof of finance 295 NZD (14,939 INR) 73 days
Exchange Student Visa Allows students enrolled in exchange programs to take a full-time program and meanwhile work up to 20 hours in a week Up to 4 years (as per the exchange length) Proof of enrollment in a student exchange program 330 NZD (16,712 INR) 2 days

Note* The New Zealand student visa cost includes application fee and visa handling fee. The visa handling fee for Indian students is 14 NZD or 747 INR.

New Zealand Student Visa Process

Step by step process to make an online application for New Zealand Student Visa is described below:

  1. Create your RealMe account at the New Zealand Visa Immigration.
  2. Get your email address verified via a verification link that will be sent to you upon creating a RealMe account.
  3. Click on ‘Create New Student Visa Application’ tab
  4. You will be directed to a form and you will be asked to confirm whether that is the correct form for you by answering a few questions.
  5. Provide identity and contact details, i.e., passport details and mobile number.
  6. Provide details of the course you are intending to study in New Zealand
  7. Provide information related to financial support.
  8. Then you will be asked to provide a health certificate and character report
  9. Now you will be required to provide details pertaining to education and work history
  10. Upload all the required documents as already mentioned before in this article.
  11. After this, you will be directed towards a declaration page, you need to agree to the declaration and complete the application process.

Within 20 days of completing the online visa application, you will be required to visit the Visa Application Centre or Immigration New Zealand office and submit your passport and visa processing fee of 35 NZD (non-refundable), which equals to 1725 INR. On failing to do this, your visa application may be rejected.

Upon successful completion of the student visa application, you will be issued an e-visa within 4 weeks, otherwise, you may contact the program manager to know the details.

New Zealand Student Visa Requirements

You will require a student visa in case you are planning to pursue a full-time program or a course that will stretch beyond 3 months duration. In order to apply for a student visa to study in New Zealand, you must ensure that the following documents are in place:

  • An acceptance letter from a degree-granting institution which is recognized by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
    which includes:
    • Name of the degree-granting institution
    • Name and duration of the course
    • Proof of course fee to be paid
    • Whether the student has to pay the fee, scholarship or exempted from paying the fee
    • Whether the course opted is full-time or part-time.
    • Proof for the course, whether the course is approved by NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority)
  • English Proficiency test scores like:
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to support your tuition fees and at least 15,000 NZD in your bank account to take care of your living expenses.
  • A passport that will be valid to up to 3 months after you leave New Zealand and acceptable passport-size photos.
  • A copy of your return air ticket to your home country or proof that you can afford one
  • If you are under 18, you will be required to procure a written statement from an institution or an individual in New Zealand guaranteeing suitable accommodation for you in New Zealand.
  • Visa application fee
  • You may have to undergo a screening for tuberculosis if you are planning to stay for 6 months or more in New Zealand.
  • If you are above 17 and planning to be in New Zealand for over 2 years then you will be required to submit a police certificate as proof of your good character.
  • A medical certificate and chest x-ray may also be required.
  • For a short course of 3 or less than 3 months duration, a visitor visa will be enough.
  • If you have been offered admission in an exchange program, you will be required to apply for a student visa for your duration of stay in New Zealand and also meet health and character requirements.

New Zealand Student Visa Exemptions

Mentioned are the visa exemption conditions: -

  • Citizen of Australia.
  • Current permanent residence visa and current Australian resident return visa.
  • New Zealand residence class visa.
  • If students are on Working Holiday Scheme, they can opt for courses having a duration of not more than 3 or 6 months depending upon the scheme.
  • Opting for a course which is less than 3 months.

Proof of Funds for New Zealand Student Visa

While applying for a student visa, it will be highly essential for you to prove that you have sufficient funds available with you to support your stay and study in New Zealand, i.e., every academic year, you will be required to show documents proving the availability of at least 15, 000 NZD which is equal to 7,39,581 INR with you to take care of your expenses.

Two things that are primarily considered while assessing your proof of funds are:

  • the authenticity of the proof
  • assurance that these funds will be available during your stay in New Zealand.

Types of Financial Proof for New Zealand Student Visa

You can provide any of the following as proof of finance:

  • Bank-related information:
    • bank statements for the past 6 months, or
    • copies of relevant bank deposit statements or certificates, or
    • statements or certificates showing fixed-term deposits at least 6 months old.
    • Asset or loan-related information:
    • an education loan sanction letter from an acceptable financial institution, or
    • stock transaction records, or
    • Agreement document confirming the sale of a property, or
    • public or employee provident fund accounts information supported with documents that can support your income sources, such as Income Tax Return, Form 16, salary statements or an employer reference letter from your employer
  • Income-related information
    • tax returns reflecting your income and saving patterns
    • proof of income generated from your assets
    • statements showing income you make from employment, for e.g. a letter from your employer confirming the position you held, your employment term and salary withdrawn.
    • In cases of self-employment, recent business tax returns with an income statement, or recent bank statements showing daily business transactions can be presented as financial proof.
    • Scholarship-related information, such as a New Zealand Aid Programme scholarship.

You must know that a sponsor or a family member is also eligible to take care of your financial responsibility during your stay in NZ and must provide one of the documents mentioned above.

While providing financial proof, you should refrain from providing information related to the following as these are not regarded as trusted sources of money:

  • gold loans and Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans
  • funds held by the post office or cooperative societies
  • volatility or mutual funds
  • bonds
  • property sales, and
  • agricultural income.

New Zealand Student Visa Processing Time: After Interview and Approval

Processing time for New Zealand student visas depends primarily upon the type of institution one is enrolled in:

Institution Type 50% completed within 75% completed within 90% completed within
Universities 13 days 30 days 57 days
ITPs* 17 days 35 days 62 days
PTEs** 29 days 49 days 75 days
Schools 11 days 22 days 31 days

*Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

**Private Training Establishments

Reasons for New Zealand Visa Rejection

Primary reasons for increase in rate of student visa rejection by New Zealand, especially of Indian students were, that candidates were found incapable to fund their education and stay in New Zealand and were lacking adequate English language skills as stated by Radio New Zealand. In addition, Immigration New Zealand rejected study visas of Indian students “because most students from the country were really not coming to study’. 

Other reasons include: not fit for visa rules and regulations, criminal records, misleading information provided by the candidate. Thus while applying for a New Zealand student visa, you must keep in mind the points mentioned before to avoid the rejection of visa.

Upon successfully completing the visa application process, you will be required to wait for up to 4 months for applications made via online mode and up to 6 weeks for applications made via paper mode.


Ques. What is a skilled migrant visa?

Ans. If someone plans to stay in New Zealand for a longer term, one must apply for a skilled migrant visa to stay and work indefinitely.

Ques. In which case, someone requires a student visa?

Ans. If students have to study and have plans for more than 3 months for the same, under such conditions they require a student visa.

Ques. Under which conditions one can renew the student visa?

Ans. One needs to show the evidence of: -

  1. Academic Performance
  2. Attended enough classes
  3. Progress a student made

Ques. What are the conditions to work during the education term?

Ans. To work for at least 20 hours a week the student must be:

  1. Enrolled with a program which is of at least 2 years
  2. Taking English language courses
  3. Gaining qualification which leads to gaining points under skilled migrant category


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