With its beautiful sights and high quality of living, New Zealand is one of the more attractive prospects for many international students. Here, you’ll find 86,000 enrollees – a number that’s sure to jump in the coming years.

If you’re looking to join this growing community, then here’s everything you need to know about applying for a New Zealand student visa.

Steps on Applying for a New Zealand Student Visa

Here’s a breakdown of the application steps to get a student visa in New Zealand:

Step 1. Gather the Necessary Documents

Before you apply, you need to make sure that you have the documents mentioned above at hand.

Step 2. Submit your Application

If you plan on applying online, go to the RealMe website. Here, you need to create an online account and upload your documents.

You may also submit your application to a physical office to get a student visa in New Zealand. Click here for a list of offices throughout the globe. Be sure to check the operation times as they vary according to branch.

Step 3. Pay the Application Fee

When you apply online, you will get a prompt or instruction for fee payment.

For physical applications, the visa center will provide you with payment instructions.

Step 4. Wait for Your Student Visa to be Processed

Processing of New Zealand student visas takes approximately 56 days.

Step 5. Collect Your Visa

Once approved, you may pick it up from the visa center. You will need to show your VAC service receipt to get your passport and student visa in New Zealand.

Passport collection times vary according to office, so make sure to check this before heading out.

If you opted for passport/visa delivery, all you need to do is wait for your documents to be delivered. The timeframe for this, of course, will depend on the courier.

Documents Needed for New Zealand Student Visa Applications

A New Zealand student visa allows you to study in the country for as long as four years. To obtain this, however, you will need to submit the following requirements:

1. Proof of Identity

For a paper application, you will need to submit your passport or a certificate of identity. As for an online application, you need to scan the bio-page of the passport and upload it.

2. Photos

If you plan on sending a paper application, you will need two pieces of visa photos. For online applications, one picture is enough.

3. Proof of Good Health

Depending on your nationality, you may have to submit a chest X-ray to apply for a visa. This is usually the case if:

  • You live in a country that has a high TB incidence
  • You spent more than three months (within the last five years) in a country with a high TB incidence

4. Proof of Good Character

If you’re aged 17 years old and above, you will need to submit these documents to prove your good character:

  • Police certificate from your home country
  • Police certificate from a country where you lived for more than five years (starting at age 17)

These papers need to be translated in English, in case it is written in the local language.

5. Proof of Genuine Intention

You need to prove to the consul that you are a bonafide student. You may show by providing information about your personal circumstances, such as family ties and commitments, as well as other details provided in previous applications.

6. Offer of Place

You need to provide proof of enrolment to apply. For your letter to be honored, it should contain the following information:

  • Name and duration of course
  • Mode of study (full time or part-time)
  • Scheduled holidays (for a course lasting more than a year)
  • Confirmation letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, if it will shoulder your tuition
  • Under 18: compliance with the ‘Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students’

Additionally, your place of offer must be signed by the education provider. It should also certify that your program meets your expectations. Lastly, it should demonstrate that you have the language proficiency and academic ability to succeed.

7. Evidence of Financial Capacity

You need to prove to the consul that you have the means to pay for your education to get a student visa in New Zealand. That means having funds amounting to NZD 15,000 ($10,660) a year or NZD 1,250 ($890) a month.

Likewise, you should submit documents that prove that arrangements have been paid. You can show this capacity by filling up the ‘Financial Undertaking for a Student’ form. If you will be sponsored by somebody else, they will need to fill out this form.

Other documents that will be helpful for your application include:

  • Letter from the education provider showing that you have paid fees OR you don’t have to pay fees
  • Evidence of a loan made in the home country, with a confirmation document from the education provider that they will be paid
  • Evidence of a loan with proof that you will take a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Evidence of scholarship

8. Medical and Travel Insurance

Your medical and travel insurance should cover your entire stay in New Zealand. It should also cover:

  • The cost of medical care, including diagnosis, hospitalization, surgery, and medications
  • Transporation out of the country due to illness or injury
  • Cost of repatriation in case of death

9. Ability to Shoulder Onward Travel

You need to present your ticket, or proof that you have the funds to pay for an airline ticket. Again, if you are sponsored, the form (link above) should suffice.

FAQs: Student Visa Applications for New Zealand

How Much Money Do You Need for a New Zealand Student Visa?

The fees depend on your nationality.

Students from certain countries (such as the US) are exempted from paying an immigration levy fee. They only need to pay a minimal cost of NZD 35 or $25 to apply.

As for other nationalities, bigger fees apply:

  • Application cost: NZD 330 or $235
  • Receiving center fee: about NZD 20 or $15 (varies)
  • Courier fee: ranges from NZD 10 to 17 or $8-12 (varies)


We hope that this article on how to get a student visa in New Zealand was helpful. If you’re interested in studying abroad make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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