Student Visa New Zealand

There are many great studying opportunities in New Zealand at school, Technical Institute or university level. With an education system that is well respected many people send their children to NZ to study and some can use it as a pathway to residence.

New Zealand has some of the highest ranked Universities in the world. Study however can extend to many fields other than degrees (or higher) but only a few might in and of themselves lead to a pathway to residence.  

To qualify for a student visa in NZ, you’ll need to be accepted into a course of study whether that is primary school, secondary/high school or at ‘tertiary’ level, have the funds for accommodation and living expenses and generally pass a health examination as you’ll likely be eligible for fully funded public healthcare whilst in New Zealand. Younger students will be expected to have a parent accompany them on a guardian visa.


The student visa options available in NZ can largely be divided into 2 types, those that require full tuition fees and those that don’t. Visas that don’t require full tuition fees are usually dependent on either some form of scholarship, exchange initiative or based on the relationship to a specific work or student visa holding parent. There is not usually any pathway to residence for those on NZ Government funded scholarships.

Even when on a student visa that covers tuition fees, living costs in NZ can be quite expensive. They can vary somewhat depending on where you plan to stay and your lifestyle. When applying for a student visa you’ll need to show you have access to at least NZD$15,000 for the first year of study or NZD$1250 for every month if your program is less than 36 months.

Fee Paying Student Visa NZ

The Fee Paying Student Visa allows a student to study in NZ full-time. The enrolment needs to be approved by the education provider and full fees need to be paid. This visa allows for study at schools, tertiary institutions and English learning centers for up to 4 years. The visas are issued for each academic year usually as all students must show satisfactory progress in order to secure a visa for the next academic year. 

Some fee Paying Student Visa holders are also allowed to work part-time during semesters and full-time during holidays. Students are required to live with a parent or legal guardian if they are under 18 years of age. 


Full fee paying students can expect to pay around the following as international students annually (but it should be noted that each institution can set whatever fees it feels are appropriate and that the market might meet):

  • Primary school fees start at $11,000 for primary schools and $14,000 for secondary schools. Private primary and secondary schools are more expensive and start at about $25,000.

  • Bachelor degrees range from $20,000 to $40,000, higher fees can be expected in medicine and veterinary science. 

  • Post-graduate study fees range from about $20,000 to $45,000. Medicine and veterinary science may incur higher fees. 

  • International PhD students pay the same as NZ PhD students. This amounts to about $6,500 to $7,500 per year for most subjects. 

  • Costs for English courses vary, and can cost from about $350 per week to $5,100. The more specific the course, the more expensive. 

Note: Children of work, some student and residence visa holders do not pay fees and are treated as domestic students at school and higher learning institutions.

Exchange Student Visa NZ

Exchange Student Visas allow for foreign students to study full-time in New Zealand after being accepted into an approved student exchange scheme. These include those in schools and universities.

Stays can be up to 4 years, depending on the length of the exchange program. During this time, depending on your age, part-time work is allowed during semesters and full-time work is allowed during holidays.  

Dependant Child Student Visa NZ

The Dependent Child Student Visa can help parents with student or work visas bring their dependent children to NZ and enrol them in New Zealand schools. These students can attend primary or high school, and are treated as domestic students. This means they can attend school without paying international fees.

Dependent Child Student Visas expire when the parent’s student or work visa expires. Only children 19 years old or under can apply for these types of visas.

Parents on student visas in NZ can apply on the behalf of their children only if they are in New Zealand on an approved student exchange program, are enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in a New Zealand university, or have a New Zealand Aid Programme Scholarship.

Foreign Government Supported Student Visa NZ

The Foreign Government Supported Student Visa allows for students supported by foreign government loans or scholarships to enter NZ. These students are required to study full time for at least 3 months, and up to 4 years.

The Foreign Government Supported Student Visa requires evidence that tuition fees will be paid by a foreign government. Study can be completed in schools, tertiary education and other English language study organisations.  

This visa also allows for up to 20 hours of work per week while studying, and up to 40 hours per week during holidays. Students under the age of 18 will need a parent or legal guardian to accompany them. 

New Zealand Student Visa Processing Time

It can take anywhere from 25 to 90 days for a student visa application to be accepted.

New Zealand Student Visa Costs

Depending on the exact student visa type, it typically costs around NZD$300-350 to apply for a student visa in NZ.

Looking to immigrate to NZ?

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