New Zealand Study Visa Process: Steps To Apply

Meridean Overseas
Meridean Overseas

Updated On 25 August 2023 & Read Time 8 minutes



Are you looking forward to studying in New Zealand and perplexed with how to go with the visa process? Then, give this blog a good read till the end, as it offers clear insights into the New Zealand study visa process.


New Zealand is ranked top in the list of safest countries to live and study while also boasting the advanced education system and world-class universities, thereby being an attractive study-abroad destination for international students.


Further, New Zealand is renowned for rendering quality education and experiential learning to students and offering international students an accommodating and welcoming culture. In addition, attractive work opportunities, exceptional quality of life, a growing economy and various research opportunities are some prominent factors that make New Zealand a wholesome destination for aspiring students globally.


The approximate count of international students in New Zealand is 50,000 annually. At the same time, the number of applicants is estimated to be around 1,50,000, which indicates that New Zealand is highly preferred by international students. In addition, it is found that the number of student visas has also increased, but only a limited number of students are given admission to the top universities. Moreover, students who receive and accept the offer letter are eligible to apply for a student visa.


Overall, in order to study in New Zealand, it is essential to acquire a student visa. However, the visa you require would depend upon the type of course or programme you aspire to pursue and the duration of your stay in New Zealand. In this context, this blog dives into the precise details of types or categories of New Zealand study visas, eligibility, requirements and steps or stages of the New Zealand study visa process.


New Zealand Study Visa Types

Before delving into the details of the visa process, get to know about varied categories of Types of New Zealand Study visa. Four key visa types are mentioned below:

  • Fee-Paying Study Visa: This visa allows you to study full-time in the country for up to 4 years with an option to work part-time.

  • Government Support Study Visa: This visa allows you to work full-time in the country for a duration of up to 4 years on a scholarship or government loan. 

  • Pathway Study Visa: This particular visa enables students to study full-time for up to 5 years for overall 3 consecutive courses on a single study permit, along with making students eligible for work on a part-time basis. 

  • Exchange Study Visa: This visa enables students to study full-time in the country for up to 4 years, concerning an approved student exchange programme.



Now that you have an idea of study visa types in New Zealand, let us get to know about the eligibility criteria. In order to qualify for New Zealand Study Visa, you need to fulfil the following requirements:

  • You need an acceptance letter for a programme or course at an institute in New Zealand approved via the Ministry of Education or the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

  • You need to provide evidence of a scholarship or adequate proof of funds that pays your educational fees. 

  • You are required to demonstrate evidence of minimum language efficiency. 

  • You are required to show a return ticket from New Zealand to your home country.


New Zealand Study Visa Requirements

Let us know the requirements you need to fulfil for obtaining a New Zealand study visa as part of the New Zealand study visa process. This section provides a complete checklist of NZ study visa requirements:

  • A letter of confirmation from a university in New Zealand

  • Evidence of funds for supporting yourself during your stay in the country

  • Valid passport

  • Passport standard photographs

  • Medical certificate

  • Medical and travel insurance

  • Police clearance certificate

  • Test results of IELTS or required English language proficiency test(5.5 or above) 

  • Payment receipts

  • Evidence of sufficient funds for buying transport to the home country 


New Zealand Study Visa Process

Now, let us understand the steps of the New Zealand study visa process in 2023. The following 5-step process to apply for the NZ visa is described below. However, the steps elaborated here are generic and can differ according to the type of visa you are applying for.


 Step 1: Receiving an offer letter

You need to have an offer letter or acceptance letter from the university you want to study at, wherein you can get to know more about the courses offered by the university by visiting its university’s official website. Additionally, you are required to pay the mandate fees, if any and submit the supporting documents.


Step 2: Obtaining police clearance and medical certificates

Upon receiving the acceptance letter, you need to take a medical examination to prove that you are fit to study and live in New Zealand. Similarly, you are required to submit a police clearance certificate to ensure that you do not hold any criminal records.


STEP 3: Submitting your visa application

Now, apply for a New Zealand study visa by visiting the online portal, filling in the credentials-related information and submitting the supporting documents. Overall, ensure that you fill in all details accurately and attach relevant and updated documents.


STEP 4: Paying the fees

You would get the “Approval in Principle” (AIP) after successful application, and after receiving the AIP, you would be required to submit the tuition fee for the first year at your respective university in addition to transportation and accommodation charges.


STEP 5: Awaiting the outcome

The immigration officials would inform you of the result of your visa application once you submit the application and pay the required fees through email. You would receive the visa upon acceptance of your application.


New Zealand study visa processing time:

Approximately 20 days of processing time is required for a New Zealand study visa. However, the processing period tends to vary as per the Embassy and the country for visa applications for international students. Moreover, processing times in regard to New Zealand can range from around 4 to 8 weeks, and in rare scenarios, it goes up to 3 months.   



Q. How much money do I need to show for a student visa in New Zealand?

A. You must demonstrate that you have sufficient financial resources to pay tuition fees as well as the living costs of the first year of your course programme. However, the exact amount varies as per your choice of course and length of stay. Further, you need to show the payment plan for the 2nd and 3rd year of tuition fees and living expenses.


Q. What is the processing time for getting a student visa in New Zealand?

A. It takes around 20 days to process a student visa application in New Zealand. However, the processing time also depends on the international student’s home country, but overall, it may take 4 to 8 weeks, up to 3 months.


Q. Can I work on a student visa in New Zealand?

A. Yes, you can work part-time during your course and full-time during specified breaks or vacations. However, you need to assess your visa requirements before considering working in New Zealand.


Q. Is it difficult to get a New Zealand student visa?

A. No, it is relatively easy to receive a New Zealand student visa. However, it is important to fulfil the visa requirements and carefully follow the step-by-step process to ensure a successful application.


Q. Has New Zealand started accepting visa applications from international students for 2024?

A. Yes, New Zealand started accepting visa applications for the 2024 session from international students as the deadline for 2023 admission is over.


Q. Is IELTS needed from international students when applying for a study visa in New Zealand?

A. Yes, international students need to have a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in order to apply for admission to universities in New Zealand and receive a study visa. 



In summary, obtaining a New Zealand student visa and the entire New Zealand study visa process is complex and highly systematic. However, by understanding New Zealand study visa requirements, eligibility, and steps of the New Zealand study visa process explained in the blog, you can navigate the complexities prevailing in obtaining a New Zealand study visa. To conclude, the successful application process can open new avenues for academic excellence and the fulfilment of your educational dreams in New Zealand.


We hope this blog gives you clarity about the New Zealand study visa process and the different steps to apply for a study visa by describing each step, visa requirements and processing time of visa applications.


However, if you are still unsure about the different steps involved in applying for New Zealand study visa and need more guidance, you can contact our expert counsellors at any branch of Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). You can also take free online counselling through our website. Our expert counsellors will provide you with the best support in applying for a New Zealand study visa. For more information or any queries, you can mail us at or call us at our toll-free no. 1800-1230-00011.

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