Generally, if are intending to enroll for a course of study which has a duration of more than three months, you will need to obtain a student visa. For many people, getting a student visa means taking the first step in their long journey towards New Zealand residence. If you are one of those people, then you should ensure that you maintain impeccable attendance/academic records as well as building a good network of people in the industry so that you would be well poised to take the next step when you come out with your qualification.
You will need to satisfy each of the following requirements:
- meet general requirements; and
- meet school requirements; and
- meet funds requirements; and
- meet outward travel requirements.
Let's take a look at each in turn.
General requirements include paying correct application fee, using prescribed Immigration New Zealand form, meeting health/character requirements, and being a 'bona fide' (genuine) applicant.
You will need to have an offer of place from your education provider, and a confirmation that the course fees have been paid or exempted. If you are applying for a student visa for a new course of study, your attendance and academic records should reflect that you have made a satisfactory progress previously.
If your course of study is lasting less than 36 weeks, you will need to have available funds of at least $1,250 per each month of study (less pre-paid living expenses). If the course is lasting 36 weeks or longer, then you need to have at least $15,000 per year (less pre-paid living expenses). Alternatively, you could provide sponsorship from eligible sponsors. You are also required to have acceptable insurance cover for the duration of your visa.
Outward travel requirements
You will need to show that you have the means to leave New Zealand when the visa expires. This could be satisfied by way of a travel ticket, sufficient funds to purchase a travel ticket, sponsorship, etc.
Cases where student visa not required
If you are the holder of a temporary visa (e.g. work visa, visitor visa), you may still be able to undertake a course of study without having to change the visa if the duration of the course is not more than three months in a 12 months cycle. Working holiday visa holders can study up to six months during their visit in New Zealand.
If you have children who will be attending primary or secondary schools in New Zealand, and if you meet certain criteria, then your children may be recognised as domestic students. This means that those children will pay local school fees and not international fees. Usually the parents will need to be the holders of work visas.
Many issues that you were not aware of could surface when you lodge an Student Visa application, so it will be worth getting proper advice and guidance from the beginning.