Visa Process


The following text is gathered from the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) Operational Manual. The INZ Operational Manual contains the policy that people wanting to come to New Zealand permanently or for a short time must follow. It includes the criteria that applicants must meet, the evidence they must produce to show that they meet the criteria, and the processes INZ follow to assess and verify applications. 

NB: Please note that these policies may change. Please refer to Immigration New Zealand's pages to be fully updated. 


U.1 The Objectives of New Zealand's student policy

The purpose of New Zealand's student policy is to contribute to New Zealand's sustainable economic development by:

  1. facilitating the entry of genuine students, with a focus on attracting and developing students who have the skills and talent New Zealand needs;
  2. increasing global connectedness;
  3. supporting the sustainable growth of export education capability;
  4. earning foreign exchange; and
  5. strengthening New Zealand education, while managing risk to New Zealand and maintaining social cohesion.


U.2.1 Persons requiring a student visa or permit

A person must obtain a student permit in order to undertake study or training in New Zealand, unless they are:

  1. a New Zealand citizen; or
  2. the holder of a residence permit; or
  3. the holder of a student permit; or
  4. the holder of a limited purpose permit granted for the express purpose of attending a course of study or training; or
  5. the holder of any other type of temporary permit whose conditions have been varied to authorise the holder to undertake study or training in New Zealand; or
  6. exempt from having to hold a permit
  7. covered by the provisions of U2.5.


U3.1 Student Policy Requirements

  1. Unless otherwise specified, to be issued with a student visa or granted a student permit to attend a course of more than three months, applicants must:
    1. have an offer of a place in an approved course with an education provider in New Zealand that meets policy requirements (see U5.1 and U3.5), and
    2. be exempted from or have paid course fees, and
    3. have a guarantee of accommodation (see U3.15), and
    4. meet the conditions set out in U2.10, and
    5. not be the holder of a current visitor permit granted under V3.100 Guardians accompanying students to New Zealand policy (see V3.100.35).
  2. All applicants must meet the requirements under Generic Temporary Entry policy for:
    1. lodging an application for a temporary entry visa or permit as set out at E4, and
    2. bona fide applicants as set out at E5, and
    3. health and character as set out at E6.
  3. Applicants who have not completed, or will not be completing the course of study endorsed on their student visa or permit, and who wish to change their course of study and/or education provider must:
    1. meet requirements (a) and (b) above, and
    2. meet the requirements set out at U3.40.


U3.20 Sufficient funds for maintenance while in New Zealand

  1. Applicants must provide evidence to satisfy a visa or immigration officer that they have sufficient funds available to maintain themselves throughout the period of their stay in New Zealand. Evidence may include but is not limited to:
    1. a notice of the award of a full scholarship; or
    2. the form Financial Undertaking for a Student (which covers a stay in New Zealand of 12 months only) completed either:
      • before the student's arrival in New Zealand, by a sponsor who is in New Zealand, the applicant's home country or a third country, or
      • after the student's arrival in New Zealand, by a New Zealand citizen or resident; or
    3. funds held by or on behalf of the student.
  2. When determining whether a student has sufficient funds to maintain themselves throughout their stay in New Zealand, visa and immigration officers may consider the period of time for which funds have been held by the student and/or their ability to access funds for the period that they are in New Zealand.


U3.20.1 Amount of funds required for students taking courses lasting less than 36 weeks

Students taking courses lasting less than 36 weeks must provide:

  1. evidence that funds of the amount required for ordinary visitors have been deposited in New Zealand, or
  2. a letter from an educational institution confirming that accommodation and other living expenses are included as part of a prepaid package.Note: This evidence may be sighted after the application has been approved in principle.


U3.20.5 Funds or sponsorship required for students taking courses lasting 36 weeks or longer

Students taking courses lasting 36 weeks or longer must provide evidence to satisfy a visa or immigration officer that:

  1. they have NZ$10, 000.00 per year available to maintain themselves during their stay in New Zealand (travellers' cheques or bank documents in the student's name are acceptable); or
  2. (if they are citizens of Samoa and Tonga), a written guarantee of maintenance from a relative in New Zealand who is either a New Zealand citizen or resident.


U4.10 Full fee students

  1. Students must meet the full costs of their courses, whether by themselves or with the help of family members, friends, home governments, or other sponsors such as the United Nations.
  2. This category includes students studying at private institutions such as those offering English language courses.


For more information, see

Source: Immigration New Zealand