Student Visa Process for New Zealand


You are required to obtain a student visa in order to study abroad in New Zealand. It is your responsibility as a student in this program to obtain a student visa prior to your departure. 

How much does a student visa cost? 

Citizens of the USA do not have to pay a fee or immigration levy for this application. An International Visitor Conservation and Tourism levy (IVL) of NZD $35 is charged and is included in the cost. 

How long will it take for my visa to be processed?  

It is important that you begin the process of applying for your student visa right away. Upon receipt of your fully documented application, Immigration New Zealand will endeavor to make a decision about your application within 85 working days. Your case officer will contact you if these timeframes are unable to be met, or if further information is required in order to make a decision on your application. 

COVID-19 Policy*: New Zealand’s international border is reopening in 5 phases for fully vaccinated, eligible travelers to enter New Zealand.

If you are unvaccinated you must stay in managed isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) when you arrive. You must obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation system voucher. You will not be able to board your flight to New Zealand without this confirmation.

*Policies are subject to change.

With this visa you can: 

  • Study full-time at the course stated on your visa – this includes schools, tertiary (study after secondary school) and English language study.
  • Work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying or full-time in the holidays, depending on your visa conditions


STEP 1: Gather the required visa documents in PDF format.  

  • An offer of place from an approved New Zealand education provider. The offer must include:
    • details of the approved education provider (i.e. host institution) details of the student
    • details of the course or program of study (i.e. name, duration, fees, type of study)
    • confirmation that all requirements under the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students are met, including the pre- requisites of the program of study
    • declaration from the education provider that an assessment has been carried out (or will be if not already done so) to ensure the student meets the competencies required for the program of study and that the program of study matches the student’s career intentions 
  • Evidence of medical and travel insurance* (This is facilitated on your behalf by your host institution in New Zealand, noted on your offer letter and the cost is included in the API program.) 
  • Evidence of funds to cover tuition fees 
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in New Zealand (NZ $1,250 per month if your session is less than 36 weeks or NZ $15,000 per year if your session is more than 36 weeks) 

If you will be supporting yourself financially during your session in New Zealand, acceptable evidence of your funds includes copies of: 

  • bank statements in your name, going back at least six months 
  • documentation of any government loans including an explanation of the payment arrangements 

If a third party (i.e. a relative or friend) will be supporting you financially during your session in New Zealand, this individual must complete the form: Financial Undertaking for a Student (INZ 1014). 

This individual will also need to provide: 

  • evidence of their relationship with the student 
  • evidence that they have sufficient funds (i.e. bank statements for the previous six months or Section E: ‘Bank Confirmation’) 
  • a copy of the identity page(s) of their passport
  • Travel tickets out of New Zealand or evidence of sufficient funds to purchase travel tickets out of New Zealand at the end of your session 
  • A passport that is valid for at least three months after the end of your session 
  • If you will be studying in New Zealand for 6-12 months (i.e. a full academic year), you will be required to provide a Chest X- ray Certificate (INZ 1096) through one of Immigration New Zealand’s approved panel physicians if you are either from, or have spent more than 3 months visiting, a place that is outside of the list of countries with a low incidence of TB. Typically, no health certificates are required if you will be studying in New Zealand for less than 6 months. In some circumstances however, or depending on your responses to the health questions on the application form, you may still be asked to provide a General Medical Certificate (INZ 1007) and/ or a Chest X- ray Certificate (INZ 1096).  

*It is possible that your insurance coverage will only cover the length of your program of study rather than the length of your student visa. If this is the case, and you will be remaining in New Zealand upon completion of your session, you will need to make arrangements to extend your insurance policy to cover the remainder of the time you will spend in New Zealand. 

If you would like to extend your insurance, please contact your API Program Manager.

STEP 2: Apply online for your “Fee Paying Student Visa”  

STEP 3: Obtain your eVisa.  

United States citizens and citizens of other visa-waiver countries applying for a student visa from outside New Zealand are eligible to receive a label-less visa without submitting their passport. New Zealand does not require you to have a label in your passport to travel to, enter, or remain in New Zealand. Instead, you will receive an electronic visa approval notification containing all your visa details, including the start and expiry dates, and the visa conditions. This notification will be issued via email or it may be saved to your Immigration Online account. Once you receive the electronic visa approval notification, you should keep a printed copy in a safe place and carry it with you when you travel to New Zealand. Airlines will normally check your visa record electronically, but you may be asked for evidence of your visa when you check- in. 

Given that your visa will be linked electronically to the passport number you used in your application, you must use the same passport to travel to and from New Zealand. If you have been issued a new passport since your student visa was granted, you must notify Immigration New Zealand of your new passport details to ensure your record is up-to-date prior to travel. Failure to do so may result in difficulty entering New Zealand.