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The Student Visa Experience

Studying in NZ is the opportunity of a lifetime. Not to sound too biased here, but this is a country with a fantastic study-work-life balance, great outdoors opportunities and especially, great education options. All 8 of our universities are in the top 3% in the world. Many people also choose NZ as the place to learn English by studying with fellow students from all over the world, creating amazing memories together. Whether you are interested in language, graduate or postgraduate academic endeavours in NZ, a student visa is the starting point for a successful move to NZ.

student visa students
student visa studying

When do you need a student visa?

What does a student visa allow you to do?

Can I bring my partner/children?

You can apply for visas for your partner and children to join you while studying. The type of visa they would be eligible to apply for (visitor/work/student) depends on the program of study and the institution you have been accepted to.

How many types of student visas are in NZ?

There are 4 types of student visas:

The vast majority of applicants are on the Paying Student Visa category

student visa lecture

Underage students? Consider a Guardian Visa

If the student is 17 years or younger, a parent or legal guardian can apply for a visa to join them in NZ. IN some cases these guardians can be allowed to work or study while the child is at school.

Advantages of a student visa

Paying students are directly contributing to the NZ economy. Because of that, they do have certain advantages over migrants who choose other types of visas.

Student visa experience.

This is another reason the student pathway is so popular with migrants. Some of these favourable characteristics are:


Approval of a student visa relies mostly on providing the necessary evidence that the migrant has been accepted in an NZ centre of education. Among the suggested documents to present are:

An offer of a place from an approved education provider.

Receipt of paid tuition fees.

Proof of funds to cover your senses while living in NZ without the need of working. As of now, this is NZ$15,000 per year.

A copy of a return ticket home, or proof of enough money to buy one.

student visa bona fide

Bona fide issues

All student visa applicants have a requirement to be deemed a ‘bona fide applicant.’ While this requirement is for all temporary visa applicants, it is particularly relevant for student visas. According to INZ, an applicant is considered bona fide if:
  1. Genuinely intends a temporary stay in New Zealand for a lawful purpose; and
  2. In the opinion of an immigration officer is not likely:
    1. to remain in New Zealand unlawfully; or
    2. to breach the conditions of any visa granted; or
    3. to be unable to leave or be deported from New Zealand
Bona fide criteria can be a challenging one because there are no exact immigration instructions on how to meet them and it hinges on the immigration officer being “satisfied.” This has proven to be one insurmountable hurdle for some applicants in the past. It is, therefore, crucial to add documentation that helps to prove the case that the applicant has a genuine intent and lawful purpose to live in NZ.

Student visa life and visa conditions

Sometimes being granted a student visa is not the end, but the start of a migration process in NZ. Being granted a student visa also comes with conditions that you must meet in order to maintain it.

The main requirement concerns your attendance at your school and meeting the academic thresholds successfully. Schools are required to track attendance and report students who are not coming to class.

Most student visa work conditions have a limit of 20 hours per week with some visas having full-time permissions during the holidays. Students working full time while studying are breaking their visa conditions.

Immigration regularly asks for evidence of you meeting your student visa conditions when you apply for a subsequent visa, regardless of being of a different category such as essential skills or work-partnership.

How can we help?

Here at Visa Advisers, we have a team with over 5 years of experience in the NZ education system and have assisted in hundreds of student visa applications from migrants all over the globe. With this knowledge, this is what we can do for you:

Know your path

Get a full Assessment on your case

Discuss your case in depth with a Licensed Immigration adviser. Assess your circumstances, goals and options and plan your strategy to apply for the right visa option and realize your immigration goals.