So you’d like to change to a different course, maybe at a different university?  

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New Zealand is a top choice for international students looking for a top-notch education and an unforgettable cultural experience. But life happens, and sometimes you might need to withdraw from your current course and enroll in a different one. This article breaks down the process of withdrawing and switching courses for international students in New Zealand.

Think It Through and Weigh Your Options

Before making any decisions, take some time to think about why you want to switch courses. Maybe you’re not passionate about the subject, you’re facing financial troubles, or personal issues have come up. Make sure you think about the pros and cons of withdrawing and switching courses, as it might affect your visa status, fees, and academic progress.

Have a Chat with Your School

The first thing you should do is talk to your current educational institution. Most colleges and universities in New Zealand offer international student advisors or support services to guide you through the withdrawal process. They can fill you in on the school’s specific withdrawal policies, deadlines, and any money matters.

Give Immigration New Zealand (INZ) a Heads Up

As an international student, your visa is tied to your current course of study. So, when you decide to withdraw and switch courses, you need to let Immigration New Zealand (INZ) know. Depending on your situation, you might need to apply for a new visa or a variation of conditions for your existing visa. It’s crucial to keep your immigration status in check to avoid any hiccups – if you’re unsure about this stage, give us a call to schedule a free consultation with our licensed immigration adviser.

Apply to Your New Course

After deciding on a new course, it’s time to apply! Make sure your new course meets your student visa requirements, like being full-time and having a minimum study duration. Get all your documents in order, such as academic records, English language proficiency proof, and financial documents, before hitting that submit button.

Get a Release Letter from Your Current School

In most cases, international students need to get a release letter from their current educational institution to transfer to another one. This letter confirms that you’ve met all the requirements for withdrawal and that you’re in good standing with the school. It might also include info on any fees related to the withdrawal process.

Secure an Offer and Update Your Visa (if needed)

Once you’ve been accepted into your new course, you’ll need to provide a copy of the offer letter to Immigration New Zealand to update your visa status. If you need a new student visa for your new course, you’ll have to make a new application..

Tell Your Current School You’re Moving On

After getting a spot in your new course and updating your visa status, let your current institution know about your acceptance and wrap up any remaining withdrawal steps. This might involve filling out a withdrawal form, paying any outstanding fees, and returning borrowed materials.

Check Out Refund Policies for New Students

If you’ve only recently started your studies and are thinking about withdrawing, be sure to look into your institution’s refund policy. Many schools in New Zealand offer partial or full refunds if you withdraw within a certain time frame, usually the first few weeks of the semester.

Refund policies differ between institutions, so get familiar with the terms and conditions at your college or university. Remember that some schools might charge an administrative fee for processing the withdrawal, which could be taken out of the refund.

Seek Expert Guidance from a Licensed Immigration Adviser at ICL Immigration

ICL Immigration’s advisers can provide valuable guidance on whether you need to apply for a variation of conditions to your current student visa or if you need to apply for a new student visa entirely. Their in-depth understanding of New Zealand’s immigration policies will ensure that you avoid any potential pitfalls and remain compliant with all legal requirements throughout the process.

Erik Murthy

Erik Murthy

Licensed Immigration Advisor at ICL Immigration

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