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Student Visas

If you wish to study in New Zealand for more than 3 months, you will need a Student Visa.  For shorter periods, you can attend school on a Visitor Visa or tertiary courses on a Working Holiday Visa.  Remember that the academic year runs from February to November/December and is divided into four terms with two weeks between each.  Standards of education are high.  The most common student visa is for a full fee-paying student in either a School, College (High School), Private Training Establishment, Polytechnic/ Institute of Technology or University. This means that you are paying the full cost of your tuition. Example, for a one year Diploma or one year of a degree course you could expect to pay in the region of $18,000 – $25,000 approximately.  If you get your residence while studying, you will only have to pay the domestic fee for future study ($5,000 – $9,000) but you will not be able to take out a Student Loan for at least 3 years after you get your Residence.

THOUGHT! You might think about comparing the one year domestic fee at a UK University of around £9,000 with $18,000 NZ (more or less the same).  So, if the idea of combining your studies with spending time in a different country appeals to you, give this some thought!

You will need to ensure that the education establishment to which you apply is registered to accept international students and that the course is also eligible for international student intake. You will need to apply, be accepted, take out insurance, and pay your fees in full before you can be granted a student visa.  In some cases, you will also need to have approved accommodation (usually for school-age students who will not be living with their parents).  You will also need to show you have enough funds for your living costs and return ticket.  If you are studying at degree level or similar, you will usually be allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations.

REMEMBER: qualifications gained in New Zealand can help to increase your points if you apply for a Residence Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category later. The level and length of course are important for this.  If you complete a two year, full-time course with the final year being at Level 5 or higher (= 1st year degree) or of you have successfully completed a one year Graduate Diploma, you may then be eligible for further visas to allow you to look for relevant skilled employment in New Zealand and then gain experience.

You will need to meet the entry criteria for the course (usually known as a Programme) in terms of both academic qualifications and also level of English. You will also need to meet Health and Character requirements – these vary depending on the length of the course and your country of origin.

If you are the dependent child of a NZ Citizen, Resident or some Work and Student Visa Holders then you can attend school (known as “college” when it refers to High School) as a Domestic Student.  In other words, you pay the same as if you were a New Zealander.

If you have the right qualifications and experience to be accepted for a PhD programme, you will be a Domestic student in New Zealand.

Need to know more?  Contact Us. Karen worked in the tertiary education sector for almost 9 years in New Zealand and also watched her daughter go through Intermediate,High School and University. She is happy to share her experience with you. She is also an approved Education Agent for a number of tertiary providers in New Zealand .