Fee Paying Student Visa

Study towards gaining a New Zealand qualification and build a pathway to residency.
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Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
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If you want to learn about Fee Paying Student Visa, you've come to the right place.

This guide has everything you need to understand the basics of Fee Paying Student Visa. You'll also find links to useful resources from our blog and video throughout, so you can plan your next steps. If you still have questions, contact Immigration Lawyer NZ.

What is it?

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 in NZ. 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.

What are the requirements?


General requirements include paying correct application fee, using prescribed Immigration New Zealand form, meeting health/character requirements, and being a 'bona fide' (genuine) applicant.

Education provider

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

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.

Study without student visa

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.

Domestic student

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.

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Last modified on 11 January 2024 by
Michael Yoon
Principal Immigration Lawyer
Michael has been working as a lawyer in New Zealand since 2006. Over the years, he has successfully helped thousands of clients to get their desired outcome. Clients find Michael knowledgeable, approachable and professional — a trusted expert.
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