Student visas

You will need a student visa if you are studying in New Zealand for more than 3 months as an international student. A student visa can be obtained directly from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) or through UC if you meet certain criteria. 

Pile of passports laid on the table

Applying for a student visa

If you are new to UC and in New Zealand and you have a current (expiring) student visa with a different education provider (such as a NZ secondary or high school), you may be able to apply for your new student visa through UC during your Enrolment in Person session.  

If you hold a work or visitor visa you will need to apply for a student visa directly with INZ

Coming to UC from a NZ school, UCIC, or CCEL

If you have studied at a NZ secondary or high school or at UCIC or CCEL with a student visa you will need to check your attendance levels at the end of the academic year.

If your attendance is 90% or above, you are able to apply for your new student visa with UC as part of your Enrolment in Person session.

If your attendance is below 90% you will need to apply directly with INZ and will need to provide a letter explaining why your attendance is below 90%.

If you are coming to UC from a NZ school you will need to provide proof of your attendance levels at your Enrolment in Person session. If you are coming to UC to study in Semester One you are advised to obtain this proof from your school at the end of the school year prior to starting at UC (November/December) while you still have access to your school portal and your school office is still open.

If you are new to UC and offshore (not in NZ) you do not need a student visa while you remain offshore, but will need one before you travel to NZ. When NZ borders reopen you are advised to obtain a student visa with INZ before you travel to NZ. Please be aware that if you travel to NZ 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 INZ.

If you are a continuing UC student with a current (expiring) student visa and you are in NZ you can apply for a new visa for your next year of study through UC.  Submitting an application for a new student visa through UC is normally done as part of your Enrolment in Person session with the UC Enrolment Team and involves completing the Student Visa Application Form (INZ1240) and providing all necessary documentation

You will need to 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

Note that you will also need two passport-size colour photos as part of your application. You can have these taken at the Uni Pharmacy if you are on campus for NZD$15.

Change of Qualification

If you are wanting to change your qualification (for example from a BCom to a BSc) you will need to apply for your student visa directly with INZ instead of through UC and you will need to provide your Offer of Place for the new programme of study and a letter outlining the reason for the change. 

This does not apply to a natural progression in qualification (for example progressing from a BE(Hons)INT to a BE(Hons) or from an MA to a PhD). If you are unsure whether your qualification change is a natural progression or a full change, email student-visa@canterbury.ac.nz or visit Student Services (Level 1, Matariki Building). 

If you are a continuing UC student but you are offshore you cannot currently apply for a student visa unless INZ has invited you to apply as an exception to the current border restrictions. If you have been invited to apply for a visa you will need to follow the specific guidance given you. More information.

Student Visa Application Fee 

Applying through UC

The Student Visa Application Fee for 2021 is NZD$285 if you apply through UC:

$110 - Immigration NZ Application Fee
$25 - Immigration Levy
$35 - Immigration International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL)
$115 - UC Service Charge
$285 - Total

This is normally paid during your Enrolment in Person session (when you submit your student visa application). More information on these charges is available on the INZ Fees Guide (INZ0128).  

Applying with Immigration NZ

The cost of applying for a student visa directly with INZ varies, depending on your personal situation. Check the INZ Fees Guide (INZ0128) or the INZ website for more details.

More info

Medical Examinations and police clearances for visas

Check with INZ whether you need to provide medical certificates, x-ray certificates or police clearances as part of your student visa application.  

INZ may request an updated medical examination and chest x-ray if you are applying for a student visa after 36 months of study in NZ. The cost of these examinations will not be covered by medical insurance and can vary in cost. 

Study Abroad / Exchange students

It is not possible for exchange students to travel to NZ on a visitor's visa and apply for a student permit upon arrival in NZ, even if you are a citizen of a country with which NZ has a visa waiver agreement. It is imperative that you apply for and receive your student visa before travelling to New Zealand as you may be refused a student permit if you apply for a student visa once you are here.

Full details of visa and permit requirements, advice on rights to employment in NZ while studying, and supporting requirements are available from INZ. When your application for admission to the UC is approved, we will provide you with an Offer of Place letter (acceptance document) which you can use to submit to INZ for your student visa application.

Licensed Immigration Advisers

People giving New Zealand Immigration advice must be licensed unless they are exempt (such as a lawyer). Check the register for licensed advisers. 

Working with a student visa

Find out whether you're allowed to work while studying with a student visa. 

Visitor or Work Visa

If you currently hold a visitor or work visa and you want a student visa, you must apply directly with INZ.

Post-study Work Visa

People who have completed an acceptable qualification in NZ can apply for a post-study work visa. If you are granted a visa, you can work for any employer in NZ and do almost any work. You must apply for a post-study work visa online directly with INZ to ensure you receive your e-visa in a timely manner. 

If you have any questions about applying for a student visa

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