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Entry for students to New Zealand in 2021

Entry for students in 2021

The Government is allowing limited numbers of international students to come to New Zealand to continue their studies.

In the first cohort up to 250 PhD and postgraduate students may be eligible for this exception to our border restrictions if they hold, or have held, a visa to study in New Zealand. The second cohort comprises another 1000 priority bachelor degree and postgraduate students seeking to resume their studies in New Zealand.

Eligible students who would like to be considered should contact their education provider.


Evidence of funds

Eligible PhD and postgraduate students in the first cohort must prove they have NZD$15,000 per year for living costs.

Eligible priority bachelor degree and postgraduate students in the second cohort must prove they have NZD$20,000 per year for living costs, plus tickets or extra funds to leave New Zealand.

Student visa holders and applicants outside New Zealand

New Zealand’s border is closed to most travellers, including student visa holders, and entry is strictly controlled.


Entry for PhD and postgraduate students

The Government is allowing up to 250 international PhD and postgraduate students who have been nominated by their education provider to return to New Zealand to continue their studies.

PhD and postgraduate students may be eligible for this exception to the border restrictions if they hold, or have held, a visa to study in New Zealand in 2020 but have been unable to enter the country. Eligible students who would like to be considered should contact their education provider.


Many student visa holders who are outside New Zealand who do not meet entry criteria will be able to study with their education provider online.


If the 'first entry before' date on your visa has passed you will not be able to travel to New Zealand on that visa. When the border re-opens and you have re-confirmed your study plans, you will need to apply for a new student visa before you will be able to travel to New Zealand.

If you decide to cancel or defer your study plans, contact your education provider.


Student visa applicants who are outside New Zealand can study online without a visa. When New Zealand’s border restrictions are lifted, you can provide evidence of your online study to support your visa application. If you choose to study online in your home country first, you will still need to meet standard student visa requirements to be granted a student visa. These requirements include being a genuine student, having sufficient funds for maintenance, and being of good health and character.


If you decide to cancel or defer your study plans, contact your education provider. If your visa application has not been processed you can contact us to withdraw it. Requests for visa application fee refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Post-study work visa eligibility

Current requirements for post-study work visa applications still apply - at least 30 weeks full-time study in New Zealand for qualifications at level 7 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, or at least 60 weeks full-time study in New Zealand for qualifications at levels 4 to 6. If you choose to study online in your home country you will still need to meet the requirement to study in New Zealand to be eligible for a post-study work visa.


Visa processing

We are processing visa applications from people in New Zealand. Most of our visa processing offices outside of New Zealand remain closed.


We are not processing visa applications from people outside New Zealand. Legally we cannot grant a visa to someone unlikely to be able to enter New Zealand. This applies to most people outside the country.