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Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting us, please browse our FAQ
How can I get a student visa?

Everyone who comes to study in New Zealand from overseas must meet certain rules and requirements. If you are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa.

To apply for a student visa, you must meet student policy requirements.

We can assess you against this policy, before submitting an application.

Can I work while I am on a student visa?

International students have several opportunities to gain work experience and supplement their funds while studying.

Under certain circumstances, student visa holders may work part-time, and/or full-time (during scheduled vacations) or to meet course requirements for practical work experience.

If your circumstances make you eligible for these work entitlements but your current student visa does not have a condition in it allowing you to work, you may apply for a Variation of Conditions.

If you are yet to apply for a student visa, and you believe your programme of study makes you eligible to work while studying, it would assist us if your visa application contained information about dates of your scheduled vacations. Your immigration officer can then accurrately assess your eligibility and include any work conditions into your student visa (if approved) without a need for a separate application.

It may also be possible for students to work in New Zealand after they have completed their studies.

International students - changes

Changes announced on 10th October 2013 will make it easier for international students to work while studying and will give education providers more say in visa decisions.

Most of the changes will take effect on 2nd December 2013.

What do the changes include?

  • Allowing more English language students to work part-time
  • Providing full-time work rights for students during all scheduled vacations
  • Giving unlimited work rights for PhD and Masters by research students.
  • Visas will no longer be granted to students seeking to enrol at the few providers assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority as Category 4, the lowest ranking under the external evaluation and review (EER). This change will take effect on13th January 2014.
  • Streamlined and prioritised visa processing for education providers that are part of the industry partnership initiative
    • This model will give the highest quality education providers more say in visa decisions for their students, it will incentivise education providers to strive for high standards, select their students carefully and take more responsibility for good immigration outcomes of all their international students.
    • This initiative is planned to take effect in January 2014.
Can I apply for a Post-study work visa (open)?

To be eligible for a Post-study work visa (open) you must have sucessfully completed in New Zealand an acceptable qualification.

This work visa used to be known as the Graduate Job search Visa.

A job offer is not required, but a graduation certificate is mandatory.

There are some further requirements you will need to meet for this category of work visa, before you can apply.

If you decide to apply after your student visa expires, you have 3 months to do so (or 6 months if you have obtained a PhD).

Please note if you completed your qualification on a Limited Purpose Visa and left NZ, you will not be eligible for a Post-study work visa (open).

This is because our policy WD2 specifically requires people to be on a Student Visa to be eligible for Post-study work visa (open).

Can I get a Post-study work visa (open) more than once?

If, after obtaining your first Post-study work visa (open), you have completed a second and higher qualification, that is either a New Zealand bachelor degree or post-graduate qualification and you studied that qualification for at least one year, you may be eligible for a second Post-study work visa (open).

Alternatively, if you completed a second and higher qualification that is a New Zealand level 7 qualification and you studied that qualification for at least one academic year andyou commenced that programme of study on or before 26th November 2012, you may also be eligible for the subsequent Post-study work visa (open).

Your qualification must also qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category of the resident visa instructions.

You must also meet our health and character requirements, and have at least NZ$4,200 available to maintain yourself while in NZ.

If you are successful you will normally be granted another 12 month work visa that lets you work in NZ for any employer in any occupation.

Do I need a confirmed or return ticket when I lodge my visa application?

If you are applying for a visa (other than a transit visa) from outside New Zealand you do not need to provide confirmation of your travel to New Zealand when you make your application.

If you are applying from  outside New Zealand, you may however be asked for confirmation of your travel arrangements after we have accepted your application for processing and before the application is decided.

If you are applying for a further temporary entry class visa (a student visa, work visa, visitor visa etc) while in New Zealand you may be required to show evidence of your ability to leave New Zealand at the end your stay.

To determine if you do need to show evidence of your ability to depart New Zealand when applying onshore please refer to the particular requirements of the visa you are applying for.

What are travel conditions?

Travel conditions allow a visa holder to travel to New Zealand or return to New Zealand if already here.

There are two kinds of travel movements:

  • Single Entry travel conditions allow a visa holder to travel to New Zealand once only.
  • Multiple Entry travel conditions allow a visa holder unlimited times.

If you leave New Zealand after your travel conditions have expired, your visa will expire as well.

If you have a resident visa, the following information will assist you:

Your resident visa will be issued with travel conditions that are valid for two years (or five years if granted under the parent category) from your first day in NZ as a resident.

After your first travel conditions have expired, you will need to apply for either a variation of travel conditions or (if you qualify) for a Permanent Residence Visa. If hold a resident visa, but leave NZ after your travel conditions have expired, your resident visa will expire as well.

For information on the Permanent Resident Visa, please read “When and how can I apply for Permanent Resident Visa” in the ‘Related Questions’ below.

If you have a visitor, work or student visa, please read below:

Most student and work visas are automatically issued with multiple entry travel condition and will be valid for the duration of your visa. So, if you are granted a 2 year work/student visa, you will usually be able to travel in and out of New Zealand for the duration of that visa.

In case of visitors, a multiple entry visa with travel conditions generally has to be specifically requested and reasons must be given for why this is required. Your immigration officer will consider your request during the visa application process.

If you already hold a visitor, work or student visa and you need to request or vary your travel conditions, you may apply for a Variation of Travel Conditions via your nearestImmigration New Zealand Branch.