An Introduction to Immigration and other Visas to New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND IMMIGRATION:

Living in New Zealand

New Zealand welcomes migrants who are skilled, qualified and those who will help their country by bringing in their valuable traits. New Zealand also offers opportunities for family reunification by allowing residents and citizens to sponsor family members for residence. So whether you want to start a business in New Zealand or visit family and friends, we can make it happen.

Skilled Migrant Category

The Skilled Migrant Category is the main path to a residence in New Zealand. It is designed to make sure that people migrating to New Zealand have the skills the country needs. This category works on a points system. Points are earned on the basis of your qualifications, work experience, and job, or job offer, in New Zealand.

Business and Investment Category

If you’re thinking of investing or establishing a business in New Zealand, we can offer business advantages and an environment that you’ll enjoy as well.

Family Categories

Many people already settled in New Zealand wish their close family to join them, and family members, often alone, wish to come to New Zealand to be close to relatives. We have a range of family policies facilitating partners, dependent children, parents, siblings or adult children of New Zealand citizens or residents to come to live in New Zealand.

Samoan Quota

We have a special relationship with our Samoan neighbors. As part of this special relationship, each year we invite a number of Samoan citizens to apply for residence under our Samoan Quota Scheme.

Pacific Access Category

If you are from Kiribati, Tuvalu or Tonga we offer a number of opportunities each year under the Pacific Access Category for people to move here to live.

Refugee Family Support Category

The Refugee Family Support Category allows New Zealanders who were granted residence as refugees to sponsor a family member and that person’s partner and dependent children for New Zealand residence. Each year there are 300 places available.

Other opportunities

You may like to consider other ways you can apply to come to New Zealand for a short time to visit or study or to come here to live or work.

All about visas and permits

To study in New Zealand, international students will probably require a student visa and/or permit.

Some people will need a student visa, some people won’t. But, most international students will require a permit that sets out the conditions of their stay here.

Students may not need a visa or permit if they are:

  • a New Zealand citizen, or
  • a New Zealand resident, or
  • the holder of a valid Australian passport, or
  • the holder of a current Australian Permanent Resident Visa, or
  • the holder of a current Australian Resident Return Visa.

Visas and permits for students

What does a Student Visa or Permit allow?

Having a New Zealand Student Visa or Permit allows a student from overseas to study in New Zealand for a set time at a specified institution as a full-time student. In most cases, we issue a one-year, renewable permit.
The main purpose of a Student Visa or Permit is to allow an international student to study full-time in New Zealand. However, in some cases we may vary the conditions of a Student Permit to allow a student:

  • to study part-time
  • a limited opportunity to work while studying if the student’s course requires them to be here for more than one year.

Who can get a Student Visa or Permit?

Most people can be considered for a visa or permit to study in New Zealand, provided they meet all the requirements. But, to protect the interests of New Zealanders we don’t issue visas to people involved in certain activities.

How do I get a Student Visa or Permit?

We have a clear application process for students to follow so they can come to New Zealand to study. They’ll have to show us they’ve paid the foreign student fees. And they’ll also need to pay a fee to apply for a Student Visa or Permit. Go to the fees finder to see what students need to pay.

Student Visa Details for New Zealand

International students who intend to join a study program in the land of New Zealand need to complete the requirements for the student visa. The New Zealand visa-issuing officer in your country will give students the required application forms. The significant documents required for the student visa are:

  • A proof from the educational institution in New Zealand that the student is selected for a study program.
  • Course fee payment: Evidence or proof of financial assistance, if applicable.
  • A complete and signed ‘Application for Student Visa’ form, with a passport-size photograph of the student.
  • A guarantee of accommodation in the form of a written assurance from an educational institution or another person that suitable residential accommodation is available to the student in New Zealand.
  • A valid passport of the student
  • Evidence showing adequate financial support for the entire period of the student’s study-stay in the land of New Zealand.
  • Bank document/s showing that funds of the required amount will be available to the student in New Zealand for the entire period of study.
  • In case of students who got the scholarships or any other financial assistance, they need to produce proofs with details.

All these documents are essential before a student visa is issued. After a complete processing from the New Zealand government officials, students will be issued a student visa. To be on the safer side, students are advised to apply for the visa at least a couple of months before the start of the course to avoid last minute confusions.

New Zealand Student Visa Information

If you are not already in New Zealand and are applying to New Zealand to study, you must complete the requirements for the issue of a student visa.

You will be given the required forms by the New Zealand Government office (the visa issuing officer) in your country. Requirements for a student visa will normally include:

  • VERY IMPORTANT: A written offer of a place, which notifies you that you have been accepted by an educational institution in New Zealand to study there.
  • EITHER: -A receipt for payment of course fees (You are not required to produce the receipt before your application has been approved in principle)
    OR– Evidence that you are exempt from course fees. For e.g. A New Zealand Government Scholarship.
  • A complete and signed ‘Application for Student Visa’ form, with a passport-size photograph. You will be required to pay a non-refundable student visa application fee.
  • A guarantee of accommodation – a written assurance from an educational institution or another person that suitable residential accommodation is available to you in New Zealand.
  • Your passport or certificate of identity, which must be valid for the period of time for which you are applying to study.
  • Evidence that funds are available for your maintenance throughout your stay. One of the four is acceptable as evidence:
  • A completed ‘Sponsoring a student’ form, in which your sponsor gives a financial undertaking that he or she can transfer to New Zealand NZ $7,000 a year: this amount is considered a minimum for a year’s living expenses.
  • A letter from your educational institution confirming that your living expenses have already been paid for as part of your fees.
  • A bank document showing that funds of the required amount will be available to you in New Zealand ($1000 for each month of your stay for short-term study, $7000 a year for long-term study)
  • An award of a full New Zealand scholarship

If you intend studying in New Zealand for more than 24 months, you will need :

a) Completed New Zealand Immigration service medical and chest X-ray certificates

b) Character clearances, which must be two original character references (if under 17 years of age), or a local police clearance (if you are 17 and over). You will be advised of the procedure for obtaining these by the New Zealand government office.

All these documents are essential before a student visa is issued. When the overseas New Zealand government office is satisfied that your application is complete and in order, you will be issued a student visa.

New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS), is a government authority responsible for issuing permits and visas to enter New Zealand. Students are advised to contact the nearest New Zealand Embassy or High Commission to obtain information on visa regulations.

Please note: With many countries, New Zealand has agreements that mean a student visa is not normally required for one single course of study or training of not more than three (3) calendar months’ duration.

Standard Requirements:

  • Complete the ‘Application for Student Visa’ Form. These are available at the New Zealand Embassy or High Commission and your local travel/education agencies. With the ‘Application for Student Visa’ you will need to include:
  • A recent passport-size photograph.
  • Payment of a non-refundable visa application fee.

An ‘Offer of Place’ from a New Zealand education school or institution which states that you have been accepted by

  • The school, the name of the course, the minimum time to complete the course, whether a course fee is required to be paid or the student is exempt from the fee (e.g. scholarship students).
    This ‘Offer of Place’ will be sent to you by the New Zealand institution who has confirmed your enrolment
  • Evidence of payment of course tuition fee or evidence of exemption from the fee.                                                                                                    Note: Students are no longer required to produce evidence of payment of course fees before their applications are approved in principle.
  • A guarantee of accommodation. A written assurance from a New Zealand education institution or other persons that suitable accommodation is available to you in New Zealand. Most New Zealand institutions will assist you with accommodation.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover your living expenses and return travel back to your home country.
  • You will need to provide medical clearance and character references ONLY for courses which are longer than 24 months. Contact the New Zealand Embassy or High Commission for further information on this.
  • Students will only be issued with a student visa if they have enrolled in an approved course at an institution or establishment which is accredited to offer it.

If your application for a student visa is approved you will need a passport which will be valid for 3 months beyond your initial date of departure from New Zealand.

A Student Visa is

an endorsement you get in your passport to allow you to travel to New Zealand. It shows you have permission to travel to New Zealand and may be granted a Student Permit when you arrive. The visa may be single for one journey, or multiple for more than one journey.

A Student Permit is

an endorsement in your passport which allows you to study in New Zealand. It will state the expiry date of your permit and the conditions of your permit. The conditions may include:

  • the course of study
  • the educational institution
  • The location of the institution in New Zealand.

Who does not need a Student Permit or Visa to study in New Zealand?

You do not need a visa or permit to study in New Zealand if you are:

  • a New Zealand citizen or a New Zealand Resident Permit holder (to re-enter you need a current New Zealand returning resident visa) or
  • an Australian citizen or an Australian resident who holds a current Australian resident return visa or
  • one of a group of people who are exempt from the requirement to hold a permit to be in New Zealand or
  • will undertake a course of no more than three months.

Who needs a Student Visa

You will need to apply for a Student Visa if you are outside of New Zealand, and are coming to New Zealand to study full-time for longer than three months. Your spouse and children may apply for a Visitor’s or a Student Visa.
However, potential students entering New Zealand from visa-free countries will be able to apply for a student permit once they have found an educational institute.

Who needs a Student Permit

  • You may apply for a Student Permit if you are a visitor or a worker in New Zealand and wish to study full-time.
  • You can also apply for further Student Permits in New Zealand.
  • Your spouse and children may apply for a Visitor’s or a Student Permit.