New Zealand offers diverse student visa options tailored to different educational needs. These visas allow you to study at New Zealand’s esteemed education providers, including primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions and English language schools. They are your gateway to a world-class education and a unique cultural experience in New Zealand.

Types of Student Visas

  1. Fee Paying Student Visa: Allows students to enrol in full-time study at an accredited institution.
  2. Dependent Child Student Visa: This is for children of people in New Zealand on a work or student visa.
  3. MFAT-funded NZ Scholarship Student Visa: Provided to students who receive scholarships for studying in New Zealand.
  4. Exchange Student Visa: This is for students participating in approved exchange programs.

The Working Holiday Visas also enable young people between 18 and 30 to work or study. At the same time, they holiday in New Zealand, offering a unique blend of educational and work experiences.

Visa Processing Timelines

The processing of student visas varies throughout the year, with peak periods typically occurring from November to March and May to August. These peaks align with the start of the academic year and mid-year intakes and when students already in New Zealand seek to extend their stay.

Current Processing Times (as of March 2024):

  • Fee Paying Student Visa: Approximately 10 weeks.
  • Dependent Child Student Visa: Around 8 weeks.
  • MFAT-funded NZ Scholarship Student Visa: Up to 4 months.
  • Exchange Student Visa: About 3 weeks.

Notably, these times are indicative; 80% of applications are processed within these periods. Delays can occur, mainly if incomplete applications are submitted during peak times.

How to Check Your Visa Application Status

Applicants can monitor the progress of their visa application through:  

Immigration Online Account: By logging in to this platform, applicants can view real-time updates on their visa status.

Factors Affecting Processing Times

Several factors can impact the speed of visa processing:

  • Completeness of the Application: Please provide more information or necessary documents to ensure processing times.
  • Complexity of the Application: Factors such as medical conditions, history of travel, or previous immigration issues can complicate the application process.
  • Peak Processing Periods: Applications submitted during peak periods may experience longer processing times.

Tips for Ensuring a Smooth Application Process

  • Ensure Completeness: Double-check that all required information and documents are included in your initial submission.

Understand the Requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific criteria for your visa type, such as the need for proof of financial means and health insurance coverage.

  • Follow Instructions Carefully: Adhere to the guidelines provided by Immigration New Zealand, including proper document formatting and submission procedures.

Supporting Documents and Checklist

To aid in the application process, utilize the student visa checklists provided on the Immigration New Zealand website. These checklists are designed to help ensure no critical element is overlooked during application preparation.

Additional Resources

For further guidance on visa processing times and detailed application instructions:

  • Fees, Decision Times, and Where to Apply: The official immigration website provides comprehensive information on various visa types, including decision times and application fees.


Navigating the process of obtaining a student visa for New Zealand requires understanding the different types of visas available, processing times, and the factors that can affect these times. By preparing thoroughly and adhering to the guidelines provided by Immigration New Zealand, applicants can enhance their chances of a favourable and timely response to their visa application.

This expanded guide offers a complete overview of the New Zealand student visa process, ensuring prospective students are well informed and prepared for their educational journey in New Zealand.


About ICL Immigration

ICL Immigration, based in Auckland, is an established licensed immigration adviser and immigration consultant with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. We’ve helped over 1,000 immigrants realise their New Zealand settlement dreams.

We specialise in various visa services, including student, residency, work visas and business-related services like employer accreditation. We ensure personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.

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