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A Complete Guide for New Zealand Student Visa Process

A Complete Guide for New Zealand Student Visa Process

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Learn all the details about the student visa process of New Zealand and how you can get one easily. All the documents and the other nitty gritties of the entire process are listed in detail so that you can get the student visa in the most hassle free manner.

Aishwarya Bhatt
Updated on:  28 Mar 2024  | Reviewed By: 
| 8.58K | 8  min read

New Zealand has one of the best education systems in the world with all eight universities ranked among the top 3% of the world. New Zealand has one of the most work-friendly environments, so the universities not only prepare you for work but also give working opportunities post completion of the course. When it comes to English speaking countries, New Zealand happens to be one of the most favoured locations for Indian students. Not only are the visa requirements student-friendly, but the local population is also quite adaptive to people from different countries of the world. 

The kiwi culture actively promotes working while studying which helps international students in taking care of their expenses and reducing the burden of education loans. The curriculum at universities in New Zealand is curated in a way that helps students in gaining life skills. These life skills help students in building connections with students from different parts of the world. Abroad education will help you in building connections, and universities in New Zealand attract one of the sharpest minds in the world. Connection made at the time of study will always help you in your professional life, and otherwise. Let’s see the complete student visa process for New Zealand.

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Student Visa Options For Indian Students 

Indian students above the age of 18 wanting to study in New Zealand have four visa options. You can choose a visa type according to your needs, and qualifications for that visa. The following types of visas are available:


Fee-Paying Student Visa

If you wish to study for more than three months, you must pay the tuition fee for the entire course before the issuance of the visa. You will have to register with an approved education provider for the completion of the New Zealand student visa process. With this visa, you can stay for a period of four years, and you will be allowed to take up part-time jobs too. 


Exchange Student Visa

A student wanting to study through exchange programs by any organisation, school to school exchanges or tertiary exchanges can apply for this visa type. On this visa, students are allowed to take up part-time jobs too. The duration for part-time work shouldn't exceed the upper limit of 20 hours per week. Students applying for this visa don’t have to pay any tuition fee as they are considered domestic students. 


Foreign Government Supported Student Visa 

Students having a foreign government loan or scholarship are given this visa for studying beyond the period of three months. Students have to give evidence about the payment of tuition fees by foreign government loans or scholarships. You must check that the country which is giving loans or scholarships must have an education agreement with New Zealand. Spouses and kids are also allowed by proving your relationship with them. 

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Pathway Student Visa

Students with offers from a Pathway education provider are eligible for a pathway student visa that allows students to take up to three consecutive courses on a single student visa. It will help you in saving a lot of time and energy which you would have spent if you had to apply for a separate visa for all these courses. Students must be able to pay the tuition fees for the issuance of this visa. Spouses or other dependents aren’t allowed on this visa, and they will have to apply separately if you wish to bring them with you for the duration of your studies. You must check the eligibility for the second and third courses beforehand for getting a pathway student visa. 

Most Indian students go on Fee-paying visas, as it is one of the most convenient ways to study in New Zealand. So, we will keep the focus on this visa type only, and give all the details regarding it. 


List of Documents for New Zealand Student Visa

If you are applying for a New Zealand student visa, you must keep all the documents handy, and keep them in a separate folder. You must ensure that all the documents are true to the best of your knowledge, and don’t have any discrepancy in them. Since the time window is pretty narrow, it’s better to have all the documents in place as any delay due to the rejection of the visa application will have a direct bearing on the studies. Now let’s see the set of documents needed for issuance of “Fee Paying Student Visa”. 

  • list items A valid passport whose validity must be for at least three months after the completion of studies in New Zealand. 
  • list items The letter of acceptance from a recognised educational institution in New Zealand. 
  • list items The letter of acceptance or any other document substantiating all the details related to the minimum course duration, the tuition fee for the entire course, and other relevant details. 
  • list items The university or the institution must be approved by the New Zealand qualification authority. 
  • list items An offer of a place from a university in New Zealand that is recognised by the New Zealand qualification authority. 
  • list items The evidence of having the financial capability of buying a return air ticket. 
  • list items Passport-size photographs. 
  • list items The application fees for the student visa. 
  • list items Academic documents like transcripts, degree certificates, diplomas or any other document specified by the university. 
  • list items A police certificate for visa applicants aged 17 or more, and the stay duration exceeds 24 months. It helps the authorities in assessing the character of the visa applicants. 
  • list items A complete medical certificate issued by a registered practitioner in India. 
  • list items The chest X-Ray certificate for students coming from countries with high cases of tuberculosis. 

There are two categories of countries, one that needs the transfer of funds to the educational institution before issuance of the student visa, and others that don't need the transfer of funds beforehand. New Zealand comes in the first category of countries. 

  • list items Evidence that substantiates the financial capability of students to afford the cost of living at the time of stay. 
  • list items Students have to show that they can afford to spend a minimum of 15000 NZD per annum on the cost of living. 
  • list items Documents related to scholarships or any other financial assistance that the student visa applicant might have received. 
  • list items Bank statements. 
  • list items The undertaking of a financial sponsor to cover the cost of living and accommodation during the period of study. 

These are the broad set of documents that a student has to submit but they are not exhaustive. There are instances wherein you might have to provide additional documents if asked by the consulate or embassy officials. Do check all the documents before submitting them to avoid any instance of visa application rejection. 

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New Zealand Student Visa Processing Time

The New Zealand student visa process time usually varies on a case to case basis, and there is no definite time period for it. But in most cases, the visa processing time is around 3 months. There are several factors that affect the duration of visa processing. We will elaborate on all the factors that might affect the timings for visa processing. 

The visa processing time varies from one education provider to another:

  • list items Universities: The universities in New Zealand usually take around 65 days to complete the process from their end. The exact duration might vary a bit but in most cases, the process is completed within 65-70 days. 
  • list items Private Training Establishments: The PTEs take more than 70 days to finish the process from their end. The exact duration might vary a bit. 
  • list items Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics: The ITPs are the fastest when it comes to processing the requests for visa applications. The entire process gets finished in just a little over 49 days. 

 Education Institution   50% completed   75% completed   90% completed 


18 days

34 days

65 days


25 days

45 days

71 days


15 days

28 days

49 days


The application process is said to be completed when the student visa application is either rejected or approved. 


New Zealand Student Visa Process

The visa application process is pretty simple, and students have to go to the New Zealand immigration website. The online application process involves filling out the detailed visa application form, and uploading clearly scanned copies of all the required documents. The documents should be uploaded in PDF format, and their size should be within the required limit. The size of the photograph should also be adjusted as per the requirement on the immigration website. The process should be started 120 days prior to the program start date. The visa application date is counted from the day on which the visa application fees were paid. 

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New Zealand Student Visa Fee

The student visa fee depends on the mode of application submission whether the student is applying online or offline. The fees for online and offline modes vary, and offline mode is a bit more costly than the online mode. 


Submission Mode  Application Fee (in INR)   Receiving Centre Fee(in INR) 









The above-mentioned rules and regulations are subject to change amid the uncertainties prevailing in the COVID times. The rules keep on changing for different countries. For instance, students from countries with low case loads might be allowed earlier than those coming from countries with a higher number of cases. It’s advised to visit the official website of New Zealand immigration to know the exact status of entry of Indian students, and the processing of student visa applications.  

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