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New Zealand

Study in New Zealand - Study Options

You can study English in a language school. Or you can enroll in post-graduate study in one of our universities. You can take courses in a high school, polytechnic, an institute of technology, or a college of education.

State owned: Universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and wananga (Maori centers of learning) are institutions that have been set up by the Government and approved by the Minister of Education. They are government funded and market responsive institutions that offer programs of study and research in demand by both domestic and international students. All of these institutions, universities, polytechnics, colleges of education offer a variety of qualifications including degrees that share the same quality assurance status.

Privately owned: As well as state-owned education providers there are approximately 860 private training establishments (PTEs) in New Zealand. These PTEs are privately owned and funded, although some of their courses attract government funding. They offer a wide variety of courses that lead to qualifications in a large range of vocations from scuba-diving to hospitality to business.


Contact our Education Agency to receive information on all study in New Zealand issues.

Study in New Zealand Requirements

We welcome people who wish to study in New Zealand, and are proud to offer high quality, internationally recognised courses. To keep up our good standards and reputation, there are some definite rules and requirements that students from other countries have to meet.

Student Visa

You may need to get a Student Visa and/or Permit to study in New Zealand as an international student Some people do need a student visa, some people dont. But, most international students will need a permit that sets out the conditions of their stay here. Before you check whether youre eligible for a visa, find out whether you need one because… If the course you want to take runs for less than three months, you could apply for a visitors visa. You must ensure your course is NZQA approved. Find out about visiting New Zealand.

What is required - Students

To be eligible to come to New Zealand as a student your course must meet the New Zealand requirements for international students. And there are requirements you must meet as a student.

What are the requirements my course has to meet?

The most important requirement is that you have an offer of a place from a New Zealand education provider such as a school, polytechnic or university. Study programmes offered to international students must meet specific course requirements

What requirements do I have to meet?

There are a number of general requirements you need to meet before you get here and others you must meet during your stay.

If Im joining my family temporarily can I study in New Zealand?

Partners and dependent children of New Zealand citizens or residents and holders of work Permits who wish to study here. Find out more.

Student requirements

To be eligible to come to New Zealand as a student there are a number of conditions you need to meet before you get here and others you must meet during your stay. Before you get here


To enter New Zealand you need:

  • to have an offer of a place from a New Zealand education provider such as a school, polytechnic or university
  • evidence that youve arranged accommodation through the education provider or through another person
  • a guardian who is eligible to accompany you, if required
  • to be in good health and of good character.
  • If your stay is longer than six months, in some cases you may need to complete a TB clearance. And if its longer than two years, youll have to provide medical and police certificates a passport thats valid for at least three months past the date you are to leave New Zealand
  • proof that you plan to leave New Zealand once youve completed your study

Proof that:

  • youve paid any course fees that youre required to pay or
  • youre exempt from paying fees or
  • you have a scholarship or an award that covers your fee
  • proof that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay
  • to have the right visa for your visit.

While youre here.....

If youre granted a Student Permit you need to meet certain conditions during your stay:

  • attend the place of study noted in your permit. However you can apply to us to change
  • your course or the institution. Want to know more?
  • live with your guardian, if required
  • make progress in your study – pass your course
  • you may only undertake work allowed by your Student Permit
  • keep within New Zealands laws
  • stay in New Zealand for the time allowed by your permit.

If you break any of these conditions the New Zealand Immigration Service may revoke your permit!

Study in New Zealand FAQ

How much are the tuition fees in New Zealand?

Type of Tuition Fees ($NZ)

  • English Language Courses approximately NZ$320 - NZ$400 per week
  • Secondary School normal tuition fees are from NZ$8,000 - NZ$10,500 per year for most schools but some private schools are more expensive
  • Polytechnic Courses these range from NZ$10,000 - NZ$15,000 per year depending on the course or degree
  • University Degrees from NZ$10,500 - NZ$16,000 per year for most under-graduate degrees
  • Post-graduate Degrees begin from NZ$15,000 per year and MBA Degrees are about NZ$22,000

What is the cost to live in New Zealand?

The total cost depends on each students spending habits. However a student should be able to live in New Zealand for a total cost of living of between NZ$8,000 and NZ$10,000 a year including accommodation, transport and entertainment.

What is GST Tax?

GST stands for Goods & Services Tax. All goods and services in New Zealand including tuition fees have GST Tax of 12.5% included in the fee. There are some items that do not have GST and these include bank fees and residential rental payments.

How do I apply to study in New Zealand?

The first step is to select an institution and course and then make an enrolment application for that course. The easiest and quickest way is to us and AA Education Network will locate a suitable institution and course to meet your requirements.

Is there an age limit to study in New Zealand?

There is no limit on the age of a person wishing to study in New Zealand however the New Zealand Immigration Service needs to be satisfied that the applicant is a genuine student when they process the student visa application.

How many education institutions are there in New Zealand?

New Zealand has 8 Universities, 25 Polytechnics and/or Institutes of Technology and about 440 secondary schools.

What is the difference between Universities and Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology?

Historically the main difference had been that Universities focused on academic programs and the Polytechnics focused on practical training. Over recent years both types of institutions have expanded their range of programs and now there is significant overlap between Universities and Polytechnics. Over recent years the Polytechnic programs have been expanded to include a wide range and number of degree programs. A number of Polytechnics have also merged together and have changed their names from Polytechnics to Institutes of Technology to better reflect their focus. Cross-credits for courses completed at the Polytechnic can be credited to ongoing University study in most instances.

What is the difference between secondary school, high school and college

There is no difference between these names. They all refer to the same type of institution - a secondary school offering classes from Year 9 to Year 13. Students graduate from Year 13 and proceed to study at tertiary institutions.

What is a tertiary institution?

This is the collective name given to all institutions like Universities and Polytechnics who offer course for students to continue their studies after secondary school.

Do I have to wear a school uniform at secondary school?

Most schools will have a uniform code which is likely to include the wearing of a standard school uniform up until Year 13. An increasingly large number of schools have a different school uniform or allow acceptable casual clothing in senior school. A small number of schools have a no uniform policy and all students at these schools can wear casual clothing although there are still dress regulations.

Do I need to have a good level of English to enter secondary school?

It is not necessary to have a good level of English to enter secondary school however some schools do require this. In this situation a student can attend an English School for a few months prior to entering the secondary school or alternatively AA Education Network will place the student in a school which has additional English learning resources so that students can improve their English within the school before attending mainstream classes

Do I have to live in the school hostel or home stay while I am at secondary school?

AA Education Network only acts for secondary schools which have high standards of academic tuition and care and administration of international students. Our experience has confirmed that students achieve best while they are at secondary school if they are in a properly administered home stay or hostel situation. When a student has completed secondary school they are able to select whatever accommodation option meets with their personal wishes.

What happens if I do not graduate from secondary school?

In this situation you have several options. Firstly you could repeat Year 13 at secondary school and hopefully pass the course. Alternatively you could enrol in a Foundation Studies course at one if the Universities in New Zealand to prepare students for entry to University. You still need to have an acceptable English level and pass the course before you will be admitted to University. Foundation Studies Courses are for approximately one year. Another option is to enrol in a Certificate or Diploma programme at a Polytechnic and pass this Certificate or Diploma then get entry into the Degree programme which follows.

How long does it take to get a Degree in New Zealand?

Most degrees in New Zealand are for 3 years but there are also a number of degrees which take 4 years.


New Zealand degrees are recognized internationally and will be accepted when applying for post-graduate study in most countries.

While Im at secondary school or English school can I work in New Zealand?

No. You cannot work in New Zealand unless you are enrolled in a course of 2 years of longer at a tertiary institution. In this case you can work for up to 15 hours a week and can apply for a variation of your visa to work full-time in the long summer holiday in December and January.

How much can I earn when I work in New Zealand?

Those students who are able to work under their visa will probably work in casual jobs either tutoring at their institution or working in restaurants or other service industries. The normal hourly wage rate will be from NZ$8.00 - NZ$15.00 per hour and you will have tax deducted from your wages before you receive your payment. On these amounts the tax will normally work out at about 20 cents per $ and you should be able to obtain a full tax refund at the end of the financial year in April.

What happens when I finish my degree?

Students who have completed their degree in the normal time and have a job offer related to their studies can obtain a work visa for another 2 years to work in the job they have been offered as may qualify for residence.

Can I extend my student visa in New Zealand?

There is no problem in extending your student visa in New Zealand and this should be done in 1 or 2 days. You need to obtain a new school offer of place and pay the tuition fee, complete the student visa application and show that you have sufficient money or a financial sponsor to cover your living expenses in New Zealand

Can my student visa be cancelled?

Yes. Your student visa can be cancelled and you requested to leave to New Zealand if you do not meet the requirements of your student visa. The main requirements are that you must attend the classes and do not commit any crime or unlawful acts in New Zealand. If you have your student visa cancelled this is very serious as it will be noted in your passport and you will have difficulty traveling out of your home country in the future.

What happens if my student visa expires?

This is very serious. You should make every effort to extend your student visa before the expiry date. If your student visa expires you have to make a special submission to the New Zealand Immigration Service which they may or may not approve. There is total responsibility on you to extend your student visa and keep the visa current at all times.

Can I change my student visa in New Zealand?

If you have completed your course of study and you wish to remain in New Zealand as a visitor or apply for residence this is possible providing you have not got a Limited Purpose Visa.

What is a Limited Purpose Visa?

A Limited Purpose Visa is issued when the New Zealand Immigration Service considers the applicant does not meet the normal criteria to study in New Zealand but is prepared to allow the applicant the opportunity to show they are a genuine student or a genuine visitor as the case may be. Limited Purpose Student Visas are issued for a specific period of time to allow the applicant to study a particular course. The applicant must meet the requirements of the visa and return to their home country before the expiry of the visa. If their course has not been completed they are able to obtain a short-term extension to complete their course. In some special circumstance it may be possible to extend or change a Limited Purpose Visa to a normal visa.

Can I apply for New Zealand Residence?

If you meet the requirements of the current immigration policy in New Zealand it is possible for you to apply for residence at any time. In particular the immigration policy encourages students who have completed their degree in New Zealand to proceed to apply for permanent residence.

What happens if I lose my passport?

In this situation you should report the loss to the local Police Station and then forward a copy of the Police Report your Consulate or Embassy to complete the requirements to have a new passport issued.

Can my parents visit me in New Zealand?

It should be no problem for parents to apply for a visitor visa and to visit their children in New Zealand providing they meet normal visitor visa policy requirements.

How long can I study in New Zealand?

Providing you pass your course and continue to meet the requirements of your student visa you can continue to extend your visa for as long as you wish. There is no limit on the time you can spend in New Zealand as a student. 

Please make visit to our office for more details..