If you live outside New Zealand and intend to use high-quality educational services, you can apply for the New Zealand Exchange Student Visa. As you know, New Zealand has prestigious universities that are internationally recognized.
Under the New Zealand Exchange Student Visa, you can participate in full-time training programs and enjoy other benefits. In the following, we will review the application process, requirements, costs, and other details regarding this visa.

What is a New Zealand Exchange Student Visa?

This permission is for those who intend to study full-time in New Zealand in a school-to-school exchange, an exchange program organization scheme, or a tertiary exchange. Note this visa is valid for up to four years, and the length of your stay depends on your course. Depending on your age and how long your study is for, you can also work while staying in New Zealand.  We will discuss the details of the working conditions in other sections of this article.

How to apply for New Zealand Exchange Student Visa?

What are the requirements for this visa?

To be qualified for the Exchange Student Visa, you must consider the following:

Your Intention

You must prove that you are traveling to New Zealand only to continue your studies. For this purpose:

  • Show that you will stay in this country temporarily and do not intend to stay permanently.
  • You will travel to this country for a legal purpose, and you will obey the laws of this country during your stay.
  • After the end of your visa period, you will return to your country.

You also need to provide supporting documents to prove the above claims. Some of these documents are:

  • Any documents related to your family tie in the home country
  • Financial and employment documents that show you have obligations in your country.

Make sure that all the answers and documents you provide must be honest; otherwise, you will not be granted a visa, and as a result, you will not be able to enter the country.

Good Character

To prove this, you should consider the following:

Provide a police certificate

If you are at least 17 years old and intend to stay in New Zealand for more than two years, you need to provide a police certificate through one of the following options:

  • Country of which you are a citizen.
  • A country where you have been there at least five years after reaching the age of 17

In the following cases, a police certificate is not required:

  • You have provided this certificate for your previous visas and
  • This certificate has been issued during the last 24 months.

You can not meet the character conditions for an Exchange Student visa if you:

  • Have ever been condemned of an offense against immigration, citizenship or passport laws in any country.
  • Have provided false information, when applying for a New Zealand visa.
  • Have committed a crime in New Zealand, and a court has sentenced you to three months or more in prison.
  • Are being interrogated for a crime you have committed, and if convicted, you will be sentenced to 12 months in prison.

When providing a police certificate, note that:

  • It should not be more than six months from the date of issue.
  • The police certificate must be translated into English.

Criminal checks, police clearance certificates, or penal records are other names of this certificate.

Approved exchange scheme

You need to show proof that you have received admission to an exchange scheme.


You must be outside New Zealand when applying for this visa.

Onward Travel

You must make arrangements to leave New Zealand. For this purpose, you can provide the following documents:

  • Your travel ticket
  • A guarantee from your student exchange scheme’s New Zealand guarantor explaining they will arrange for your return at the end of your stay.

How to apply for the Exchange Student Visa?

You must first prepare the necessary documents. These documents are:

  • Photo: If you are applying online, submit one photo, and if you are applying via a paper application form, submit two photos.
  • Passport or Identity Certificate: If you apply online, you can upload a certified copy of your passport. However, in paper submission, you can send the original or a copy of the passport. If you send the original passport, your application will be processed faster. (the identity certificate is a document, other than a passport, issued by the government and enables the holder to travel. This document only confirms the identity and can be used if the passport is not available.)
  • Medical documents: You must prove that you are not a health hazard to New Zealand society. For this purpose, you should do a chest x-ray and some examinations.
  • Police certificate: You need to provide this certificate to prove your good character.
  • Letter of Admission: You must provide a letter from the student exchange scheme that accepted you.
  • Other supporting documents: You need to prove that you do not intend to reside in this country permanently.

Once you have prepared your documents, you should know that you can submit them in two ways:

  • Online submission: you can submit your documents online. Submitting documents online accelerates the application visa process. For this purpose, you need to visit the New Zealand government website and create an account. You can then submit your documents through the account you created. You will also need to pay for your visa application fee using your credit card. You do not need to take any further action. Just check your account to be informed of the progress of your application.
  • Paper submission: If you are can not submit your documents online, you must go to the New Zealand Immigration Office or the Visa Application Counter and submit your documents on paper.

How much does it cost to apply for New Zealand Exchange Student Visa?

The application cost for this visa is NZ$ 330. You need to know that this fee is non-refundable. In other words, if your visa petition is rejected, this fee will not be refunded to you.

How long does it take to assess the submitted documents and issue New Zealand Exchange Student Visa?

90% of the submitted visa application will be processed within 5 months.

Can the visa holders work in New Zealand?

As a New Zealand Exchange Student Visa holder, you can work up to 20 hours per week, or full-time on holiday. But you should also consider the following:

  • If you are under 17 and are in the 12th and 13th grades of secondary school, you can only work under permission from one of the following:
  • Your parents or legal guardian
  • Your education provider
  • Your Exchange Provider Organization.
  • You do not need this permission if you are over 18 years old.
  • People under the age of 16 who have a student visa cannot work in New Zealand.

If you need to pass practical experiences as part of your educational program, you need to provide the following evidence:

  • A letter from your education provider
  • A course framework that reveals the practical requirement, as shown in your offer of place document.

In order to be able to work full time on your vacation, it is first necessary:

  • The holidays scheduled by your education provider are determined.
  • Your course value must be 120 credits – this information may be on your documents provided by your education provider.

If you have enrolled in Masters by research or Ph.D. courses, you will not have any restrictions on working hours.

Can student visa holders enroll in another course or study elsewhere?

Yes you can but you must provide the following documents:

  • Offer of place
  • Application for a Variation of Conditions or a Variation of Travel Conditions’ (INZ 1020)
  • Application fee

What to do after arriving in New Zealand?

You must apply for an entry permit as soon as you arrive in New Zealand. This process is not very complicated and challenging. Immigration officers will usually ask you questions before granting this permit. Be sure to answer the questions honestly. They may also want to check other documents, such as your ticket to leave New Zealand. You may also be asked for evidence of financing in New Zealand.
You can choose one of the following ways to get an entry permit:

  • Provide documents to the immigration officer or
  • Use eGate or Stargate (not all visa holders can use this option)

Note that you may not be issued an entry permit if you do not provide the necessary documents.

Let’s sum up…

In the previous sections, we addressed the questions you may encounter on your New Zealand student visa. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other New Zealand visas and how to immigrate to other countries.

If you have experience getting a visa, share it with other readers and us in the comments section. Because your experience can help others make fewer mistakes. We will also be pleased to receive your constructive feedback and experiences.

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