Student visas

If you are an overseas national and are coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months, you will need a student visa.

Pile of passports laid on the table

When to get a visa

UC recommends that you obtain a student visa with Immigration New Zealand before you travel to New Zealand. Please be aware that if you travel to New Zealand with the intention of studying without a student visa, you may be refused a tourist or visitor visa at the border. If you are unsure if you require a student visa, check directly with Immigration New Zealand.

For more information about NZ residencey or citizenship can be found under Document Requirements.

Eligibility for a student visa

To qualify for a student visa, you must enrol on a full-time course. Once your visa has been approved, you cannot change to a part-time course. The University is obliged to notify Immigration New Zealand if you change to part-time study or discontinue your course.

For more information about the Student Visa including eligibility and your rights while you study in New Zealand, please visit the Immigration New Zealand website.

To apply for a student visa before traveling to New Zealand, please refer to the Immigration New Zealand website.

To get a visa, you will need to provide evidence that you have paid your fees and have a place at UC. When your application for admission is approved, UC will send you an Offer of Place letter that you can use for your visa application. An Offer of Place at the University does not guarantee that you will be issued a student visa.

You can pre-pay estimated fees to UC to show Immigration New Zealand that you have paid your fees. For more information on how to prepay your fees see how to Pay your fees.

Immigration New Zealand requires evidence that you have at least $15,000 NZD available to support yourself for one academic year. If you are studying for a shorter period, you are required to show $1,250 NZD for each month of study.

If you are an incoming study abroad or exchange student who has already pre-paid tuition fees through a study abroad/exchange provider, you are not required to pay additional fees to UC before arrival.

Immigration New Zealand has produced a guide for international students who are working while studying in New Zealand which you may find useful.

Medical examinations for visas

Immigration New Zealand may request an updated medical examination and chest x-ray if you are applying for a student visa after 36 months of study in New Zealand. These exams will not be covered by medical insurance and vary in cost. You should phone immigration New Zealand if you have any questions or seek advice on the approximate date this may be required.

Contact Immigration New Zealand: Telephone 0508 558 855 Email pnsolrequest@mbie.govt.nz

UC recommends that applicants wishing to lodge a Student Visa application using Students Online should call Immigration NZ Contact Centre (0508 558855) to check whether they need to provide Medical Certificates, Chest X-ray Certificates or Police Clearances prior to lodging their visa application with UC. The Immigration NZ Contact Centre is available 24/7 to give updates on what needs to be submitted with applications. UC does not have access to Immigration NZ records to provide this information or advice.

The University of Canterbury is accredited by Immigration NZ as a Students Online Partner. This means you can only apply for your student visa on campus if you are already in New Zealand and have a student visa you want to renew. You must also meet the following requirements:

  • Your Application to Enrol has been approved
  • Your current visa has not expired when you make your visa application
  • Your enrolment fees have been paid in full

To apply for a visa in campus, you need to fill in the Student Visa form.

If you hold a Visitor or Work Visa you must apply for your Student Visa directly with Immigration NZ using the Immigration Online application process

Bring the completed Application for student visa form and the supporting documents listed on the International student enrolment documents checklist to the Enrolments Office in the Student Services Centre.

The cost for applying for a student visa on campus is $187.  This will be added to your tuition fees. Find out how to Pay your fees.

More information

If you have any questions about applying for a student visa please contact student-visa@canterbury.ac.nz

Applying for a Post Study Work Visa

Immigration New Zealand now requires Graduate students to submit their post study work visa applications online and this will enable them to receive e-visas in a timely manner.

The University of Canterbury can no longer accept Post Study Work visa applications effective 28 March 2016.