New Zealand Visas: Guide for Indian Students
Find out what Indian students need to know when applying for a student visa for New Zealand.
New Zealand may not be the most well known of destinations, but it is highly regarded among international students for its high class education and desirable lifestyle.
Currently, New Zealand attracts as many as 90,000 international students every year. By 2025, the nation’s government intends to double this intake to 180,000.
What type of visa do I need?
If you need to stay for longer than three months in New Zealand for your educational program, you’ll need a Student Visa. International full-time (more than 20 hours a week of classes) students should apply to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) for a student visa.
It is worth noting that that certain criteria must be met before anybody can study in the country. To see if you qualify, check the INZ website.
How long will it take to process?
In August 2011 New Zealand restructured its visa application process, making it more efficient and student friendly. As well as improved standards of service, authorities now aim to deliver 80% of student visa applications within 30 days.
They aim to improve this to 90% within 25 days by August 2012.
How much does it cost?
A student visa will cost you US$185 (INR 8,463.29). The INZ, New Delhi, does not accept cash or credit cards – you will have to pay through a bank cheque or a draft.
Can I work while I study?
Full-time international students are permitted to work for a maximum of 20 hours in a week while they are studying. They can also work full time during holidays.
Foreign students who wish to work while they study must apply for a variation of the conditions of their student visa. This can be done either while filling out the initial application or later - as long as their student visa is valid.
Can I work after graduation?
To encourage international students to stay after completing their courses, the New Zealand government, allows those with no job offers in hand to get a visa for up to 12 months, and work at a temporary job while they search for job in their chosen field. The set of rules under which this is allowed is known as the Graduate Job Search Work Instructions.
Students who secure a job offer upon the successful completion of their degree need to apply for a Graduate Work Experience visa under the Study to Work Instructions. This allows them to work for two years in New Zealand, in order to gain some practical work experience relevant to their qualifications.
The Graduate Work Experience visa can be granted for three years in the case of eligible overseas students who intend to gain a membership or register with a New Zealand professional association which requires more than two years of relevant work experience to join. For more information, you can visit www.immigration.govt.nz.
What about immigration opportunities?
Candidates who meet all the requirements are eligible for a Work to Residence visa. The category of visa you will get will depend on whether your occupation is on the Long Term Skills Shortage List or not.
Bear in mind…
• If you apply for a visa through an immigration adviser, be sure that they are licensed. The INZ may decline your visa application if it has been filed on your behalf by an adviser who is not licensed. Visit the Immigration Advisers Authority for more details.
• New Zealand defines full-time students as those attending a private training establishment (PTE) for at least 20 hours each week; studying at least three papers, or the equivalent, each semester at a tertiary institution other than a PTE; or attending a primary, intermediate, or secondary school for at least one school term.
• You can also apply for a student visa when you are already in New Zealand. A student visa granted onshore will usually include travel conditions allowing multiple journeys, so you can travel out of New Zealand and back in before the expiry of the visa.
• Students Online is a service that makes applying for student visas easier, coming into being through an arrangement between Immigration New Zealand and selected education providers. If you are studying with an education provider that is part of Students Online, you can apply for your student visa at the international office on campus. For a list of education providers that are part of Students Online, see www.immigration.govt.nz/sol.
• If you are aged 17 or under you may have to be accompanied by your parent or legal guardian.
• Foreign students can also bring their car or household items to New Zealand without having to pay any customs duty. Visit www.customs.govt.nz for more details.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ), New Delhi Centre
Telephone: +91 11 4259 6300
Fax: +91 11 4761 2990
New Zealand High Commission
Sir Edmund Hillary Marg
New Delhi 110 021
Telephone: 0091-11-4688 3170
Fax: 0091-11-4688 3165
This article was originally published in October 2012 . It was last updated in July 2023