After Australia opened its borders to international students after a long-period of COVID-19-related restrictions, its neighbour New Zealand is also following suit. Opening up in a phased manner to a section of eligible international travellers, including students, April 12, 2022, the country is allowing temporary student visa holders who still fulfil their visa requirements.
This applies to up to 5,000 international students to study in semester 2 later this year. It also includes those who have evidence that they are studying, or will resume studying, the same course at the same higher education institution for which the New Zealand student visa was granted for.
The country is keen on allowing more students in the coming months, including new applicants at its eight higher education institutions.
Grant McPherson, Chief Executive, Education New Zealand, says the country has progressed well with respect to inbound travel for international education this month. “Universities are currently using our new portal system to nominate international students for their 1,450 places as part of the fourth cohort of 5,000 students. We are working with the Ministry of Education on various fronts.”
Immigration New Zealand has begun processing the first formal requests for travel under this border exception that were due by mid-April, in time for a mid-year study start.
- Prior to the pandemic, there was a sharp rise (63% in August 2019) in the number of first time student visas from India to New Zealand, indicating the rise of the country as one of the top destinations for higher education.
- The count of international students enrolled in higher studies at New Zealand’s universities dropped by 62% in 2021, according to Immigration New Zealand’s data.
- As of mid-April, 50% student visa applications are processed within 21 days, 75% are completed in 34 days and 90% are completed in 65 days.
New Zealand Welcomes Back International Students
Aspiring students who wish to pursue their graduate, post-graduate, professional, doctorate or other courses, must keep a few key things in mind before booking their flight tickets and applying for study visa.
A checklist meant for those applying for a student visa for the first time as international students, tells you what information and evidence is needed to assess their first international student visa application. This includes all the information one must provide with his/her application as well as the supporting information that is needed for faster processing of applications.
For example, a student must have proof that he/she is enrolled in a New Zealand university or will resume studying the same course in which he/she was admitted. The applicant must also hold sufficient funds required for maintenance in New Zealand.
However, if there’s a change in the circumstances in which one was provided a visa and now, one may not be allowed to enter New Zealand. In such a case, one will have to apply for a new visa before travel.
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There are currently restrictions in place for visa applications from students outside New Zealand. Students must talk to their education providers if they want to travel to the country to study while these restrictions are in place.
Students need to ensure that they remain up-to-date with the latest border entry requirements and any other visa-related changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of mid-April, 50% student visa applications are processed within 21 days, 75% are completed in 34 days and 90% are completed in 65 days. An application is completed when the NZ government has granted the visa or declined the application.
This shows that the country is indeed keen on allowing more students in the coming months, as borders reopen. New applicants at its eight higher education institutions are all set to ramp up.
- University of Auckland
- Auckland University of Technology
- University of Otago
- University of Waikato
- Lincoln University Canterbury
- University of Canterbury
- Victoria University of Wellington
- Massey University
Checklist for First-Time International Students
If you’re a first time international student, you can understand all the requirements by visiting the official website at https://www.immigration.govt.nz/. You can download the first-time student visa application checklist by clicking here.
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NZ Entry Requirements
Currently, New Zealand has put certain restrictions in issuing visas to international students. You may need to clarify it with your institute to double check about such roadblocks.
Here are few tips for first time international students:
- Applying for a student visa early could improve your chances of starting your study as planned.
- If you are not in New Zealand, you should ideally apply for your student visa at least 2 months before your course start date, but not earlier than 3 months.
- If you are in New Zealand, applying for your new visa at least 1 month before the course start date could help, but no more than 3 months before your start date.
- To remain updated with the latest border entry requirements and other visa-related updates in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, visit: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19
As of mid-April, 50% of student visa applications are processed within 21 days, while 75% are completed in 34 days. 90% of the applications are completed in at max 65 days, meaning that it takes around 2-3 months to complete the visa process. (An application is considered completed once the New Zealand government grants the visa or declines the application.)
Information/Documents Required by NZ Immigration For Visa
- An offer from a New Zealand education provider
- A copy of the identity pages in your current passport
- Tuition fees evidence
- Evidence you have enough money to live on and proof of where this money has come from
- Evidence you have enough money to leave New Zealand
- Evidence of your health and character
The documents mentioned above fastens the decision of the Immigration authorities whether you are a genuine applicant and/or are not likely to stay in New Zealand for longer than your visa allows or breach the conditions of your visa and/or will leave New Zealand if you cannot get another visa or visa extension.