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An Expat Student Guide to New Zealand Visas

New Zealand is in many ways is a home from home for British expat students. The educational system is the same as the UK and, of course, it’s an English speaking country, making it relatively easy to settle in quickly.

However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Yes, it is also an island (well two actually), it has lush green landscapes and these are also home to a fair amount of sheep, but New Zealand has some major plus points when compared to the UK; namely the climate, wildlife and major variance in population size – New Zealand with nearly 5 million people and the UK with over 66 million. Bearing in mind both countries are practically the same size, that’s a stark comparison of around 18 people per square km in New Zealand to a staggering 272 people per square km in the UK!

Needless to say, student life in New Zealand is likely to be less ‘chaotic’, but rest assured there is still much fun to be had. The cities are both friendly and vibrant, plus there is an abundance of exciting destinations, experiences and scenic attractions to uncover. All of which, thanks to the quiet roads, are easily accessible for weekend road trips – goodbye traffic jams!

Now all you need to do is secure your New Zealand student visa and your new exciting educational adventure can begin.

How to apply for a New Zealand student visa

For students wishing to study in New Zealand for more than 3 months, you will require a student visa. New Zealand student visas come with a fair few requirements and vary depending on your specific circumstances. There are various visa options available, from students looking to work whilst studying, those who are supported by a government loan or scholarship or part of an approved student exchange scheme and of course, for those paying your own fees.

Any students wishing to study for 3 months or less, you will only require a visitor visa rather than a student visa.

The New Zealand government has made it relatively easy for students to apply for visas. All you need to do is confirm which visa applies to your situation, gather the required documents, apply online and wait for the decision, which can take up to 41 days. Therefore, it’s important to plan ahead and allow a suitable time frame to apply for your student visa.

New Zealand student visa checklist

If you’re looking to study in New Zealand for more than 3 months in full-time education, you’ll need to meet the following requirements to secure your student visa.

  • Evidence of a placement at a New Zealand Qualifications Authority approved educational institution
  • Proof of payment of tuition fees or exemption from fees
  • Payment of visa application fee
  • Evidence of satisfactory funds to support you throughout your study
  • A recent passport photo
  • A valid passport which must not hold an expiry of fewer than 3 months after your departure date from New Zealand.
  • A return air ticket home or proof of adequate funds to purchase one

Additionally, for those under 18 years of age, you will require a written confirmation of suitable accommodation provision in New Zealand, from an institution or person.

If you’re over 17 and planning to study for more than 2 years, a police certificate will be required to confirm you are of good character.

Finally, in some cases, if you’re staying in New Zealand for more than 6 months and have spent 3 months or more in a country which is deemed high risk for tuberculosis, a TB screening may be required.

New Zealand student visa fees

You can pay for your New Zealand student visa application fees online by credit or debit card, including Visa and MasterCard. The application fee of $295 NZD enables the New Zealand immigration service to process your application.

For non-UK countries further fees and payment restrictions may apply.

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