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What is a Student Visa?

As an international student, you are required by law to hold a valid visa and comply with your visa conditions for the duration of your study at Unitec. It is your primary responsibility to maintain the lawful status to study and live in New Zealand.  

To formally be enrolled, all students are required to upload a copy of a valid student visa to study at Unitec, New Zealand. If you do not hold a valid student visa or fail to provide one, your student account may be suspended, your programme of study may be withdrawn and enrolment may be cancelled.

How to apply for a Student Visa? 

You must apply directly to Immigration New Zealand for a Student Visa.

 Apply online for student visa 

It is important to apply for your student visa as soon as possible, as in some cases the application process may take a minimum of one month.

Help available from Unitec

Our visa support team will be available for face-to-face or via phone, email, or video for enquiries.

Please email us if you have any questions in regards to your student visa. 

PHONE    0800 10 75 10
EMAIL      studentvisa@unitec.ac.nz

International Student Support Advisors

Our International Student Advisors are available for face-to-face or virtual consults. To book an appointment, visit their Student Advisors page.

Go to International Student Advisors page

Types of visa and requirements

Attendance requirement

International Students must have a 100% attendance in all their scheduled classes unless there is a genuine and valid reason otherwise. Please get in touch with our visa administrator if you are unsure on what is deemed a valid reason. Failure to attend without a doctor's certificate or valid reason may result in the termination of the student's enrolment as outlined by Immigration New Zealand.

Study Abroad and Exchange students

If you are coming to New Zealand as an inbound Study Abroad and Exchange student, you must apply for a student visa prior to your arrival in New Zealand, regardless of any visa waiver requirement between New Zealand and your home country. Only in very special circumstances (as determined by Immigration New Zealand) will a student exchange visa be granted if you are already in New Zealand.

Short Course students

International students who enrol in short courses must ensure you have a valid visa to cover the duration of the study. If you are on a visitor visa, you maybe able to  study a short course of 12 weeks or shorter. For more information please visit Can I study in New Zealand? on Immigration website.

For information on how to apply for Variation of Condition, please click Changing the conditions of your visa. 

Post-study work visa

If you are a student who has completed a qualification or qualifications in New Zealand, but you do not have a job offer, you may be eligible for a Post-Study Work Visa, and the duration of this visa will depend on the programme you have completed. If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact Visa Administrator or visit the Ask Me Desk (Mt Albert campus)

To be eligible for a Post-study work visa you must:

  • have successfully completed a qualification in New Zealand that meets the study to work qualification requirements that would qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category (see SM14) and is either: 
  • a qualification at level 7 or above on the New Zealand Qualification Framework and you have studied that qualification in New Zealand for at least one academic year; or
  • a two year qualification at level 4 to 6 on the New Zealand Qualification Framework and you have studied that qualification in New Zealand for at least two academic years; or
  • two qualifications at levels 4 to 6 on the New Zealand Qualification Framework that each required at least one academic year study in New Zealand, provided the second qualification is at a higher level (two years study in New Zealand in total).
  • apply no later than three months (six months if you have completed a doctoral qualification) after the end date of the student visa for that qualification
  • provide evidence of a minimum of NZ$4,200 available to maintain yourself during your 12-month stay in New Zealand (we will accept traveller's cheques or bank documents in your name).

For more information on this visa, please click Requirements under Study to Work category.

Variation of Conditions

You may be able to apply for a variation of conditions if you hold a student visa, a work visa, or a visitor visa. Your application will only be granted if the new conditions would meet the immigration instructions your original visa was issued under.

Student visa holders

You may be able to apply for a variation of conditions to allow you to change the course you are studying and/or the education provider you are studying with, or to allow you to work part-time and/or full-time during your holidays. If you withdraw from your course of study and/or education provider before varying the conditions of your visa, you will be in breach of your visa conditions.

Work and Visitor Visa holders

You may be able to apply for a variation of conditions to allow you to study part-time.

Useful Links

FAQ on Visa and Insurance


1. How do I renew my Student Visa?

To renew your Student Visa, please prepare the following documents:

  • Confirmation of Enrolment: Request your Confirmation of Enrolment from Student Central.
  • Notification of Academic Results: Check your MyPortal for unofficial academic results or seek assistance from Student Central.
  • Attendance Letter: Attendance letters will be sent to your registered email each semester. For any attendance queries, contact the International Support Team at internationalsupport@unitec.ac.nz.
  • Evidence of Tuition Fee Payment: Arrange your tuition fee payment as early as possible. For more information, visit Paying your fees on our website.
  • Evidence of Living Costs: Provide evidence of genuinely available funds for your living costs. You need $20,000 for one year (or two semesters) or $10,000 for one semester. Print a 3-month bank statement from your New Zealand bank account.

For detailed requirements on renewing your Student Visa, please see the Student Visa Application Checklist on the Immigration New Zealand website. You can submit your online visa application to Immigration New Zealand through the Fee Paying Student Visa web page.

2. What are the requirements for applying for a Post Study Work Visa?

You can apply for this visa if you have recently finished your studies. Depending on your studies, it allows you to stay and work in New Zealand for up to 3 years. To apply for a Post Study Work Visa, please prepare the following documents:

  • Notification of Academic Results: Ensure you have completed your programme as per your study plan. Check your MyPortal for unofficial academic results or seek assistance from Student Central.
  • Confirmation of Eligibility to Graduate: Request a Letter of Eligibility to Graduate on our website. Please remember that this letter takes a while to be generated after your grades have been released.
  • Evidence of Sufficient Funds: Provide a 3-month bank statement showing at least $5,000 from your New Zealand bank.

For more information on this visa and how to apply, please see the Post Study Work Visa web page on the Immigration New Zealand website.

3. Can Unitec help follow up on visa applications with Immigration New Zealand?

Unitec is not authorised to follow up on visa applications on behalf of students. Only you, your nominated licensed immigration adviser, or authorised persons can liaise with Immigration New Zealand. We recommend you consult Immigration New Zealand or find a licensed immigration adviser on the Immigration advice for your visa application web page.

4. How many credits do I need to apply for a Student Visa?

A student visa holder must be enrolled for 45 credits or more in a semester. If enrolled for less than 45 credits, you must apply for a Visitor Visa with study conditions.

5. Where can I find a Unitec document showing the dates of my holiday periods?

Please refer to your Unconditional Offer letter or download the Unitec Academic Calendar as a PDF or JPG file.

6. Where can I find confirmation of study credits for my programme?

Visit the Unitec website, locate your programme's web page, and look for the Programme Regulation document. This document shows the credits you require to complete the intended programme.

7. What is an Interim Visa? Do I have to apply for it?

An Interim Visa is a temporary visa issued automatically by Immigration New Zealand if your current visa expires while your new visa application is still being processed. It allows you to stay lawful in New Zealand during this period. You do not need to apply for this visa; it is issued automatically when your current visa expires, but you must apply for a new one.

8. When can I work full-time as a Student Visa holder?

As stated on your visa: "You can only work 20 hours per week. May work full-time during summer vacation. May work full-time during scheduled vacations."
This applies to almost every international student at Unitec.

Summer vacation starts the day after the last day of the second semester and ends the day before the next semester. If enrolled in summer school, your scheduled vacation is specified in your Offer of Place letter. Scheduled breaks are mid-semester breaks or breaks between semesters, not study breaks or official New Zealand holidays.

9. My employer needs a letter to confirm I can work full-time. Can Unitec provide this letter?

Unitec cannot issue letters to confirm your work-right eligibility as work rights are assessed and granted by Immigration New Zealand. Refer to your visa, which specifies your work rights, and the Unitec Academic Calendar or your Offer of Place letter for evidence of school vacations or breaks.

10. Can I take a leave of absence during the semester for urgent personal reasons?

You may take a leave of absence if your Academic Program Manager approves. You can be offshore for no more than two weeks. Be prepared to present evidence of the leave approval if an Immigration officer asks upon your return to New Zealand.