COVID-19 information for the international education sector
International students are a valued part of our education sector and our community. This information is to help students, agents and education providers understand what is happening on education and immigration in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Last updated 20 April 2022
This page is updated regularly. However, the latest official New Zealand Government information with full details on New Zealand’s COVID-19 response are at covid19.govt.nz.
Information for international students who are in New Zealand or preparing to travel to New Zealand can be found at NauMai NZ – COVID-19: what you need to know.
Information for people outside of New Zealand is at World Health Organisation – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Education in New Zealand
All of New Zealand is currently in the orange setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework, known as the traffic lights system.
Education providers can open, but you may have to follow public health measures such as wearing a face mask. Find out more about Education at Orange.
Find information and advice on COVID-19 from:
International education providers have signed New Zealand’s Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021. They have an important responsibility to make sure students are well informed, safe and properly cared for.
Find out if you are eligible for financial support using the COVID-19 financial support tool.
Entry to New Zealand
New Zealand has announced a gradual reopening of its borders, including for international students. This allows you to start planning your future studies with more certainty.
Here are the key points for international education:
- Students with a valid visa, who can still meet their visa requirements, can now enter New Zealand. This includes both visa holders currently offshore, and those in New Zealand who choose to travel overseas and wish to return.
- Applications are open for working holiday scheme visas, which can include studying a short course of up to six months as part of the trip.
- Applications for a border class exception of up to 5,000 nominated international students are currently being processed. More information is available in the Cohort 4 section of this website.
- From 2 May 2022, visitors from visa waiver countries will be able to enter New Zealand, in most cases for short visits of up to three months. These visitors can undertake a short course of study as part of their trip.
- By October 2022, all visa categories will reopen for processing, including visitor and student visas. This means that international students can plan to study in New Zealand in 2023.
All travellers to New Zealand need to comply with health requirements, including providing a negative pre-departure test, meeting vaccination requirements, and undertaking two rapid antigen tests on arrival and day 5/6. For more information, see Travel to New Zealand.
Anyone travelling to New Zealand by air must complete a New Zealand Traveller Declaration prior to check-in.
During this time, we recommend that students seek advice before making an application for enrolment, and contact their agent or preferred education provider in the first instance.
We’re looking forward to welcoming international students into New Zealand again as our borders gradually reopen.
International student border exception cohorts
International students can enter New Zealand if they are eligible for one of these border exceptions and if places are still available:
- Border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students
- Border class exception for 1,000 returning degree and postgraduate international students (applications now closed)
- Border class exception for 250 returning PhD and postgraduate international students (applications now closed)
- Information on the 5,000 international student cohort arriving from mid-2022 is available on this page, which will be kept regularly updated.
Students who are eligible for a border class exception must be nominated by their education provider, approved by education agencies and Immigration New Zealand. Students should not apply to travel to New Zealand until their education provider tells them to do so. Find out more about studying in New Zealand with a border class exception. For students who have been given a border class exception, we have resources about arriving in New Zealand on NauMai NZ.
Find out more about visas from Immigration New Zealand if:
- You want to enter New Zealand
- You want to study in New Zealand
- You are a student visa holder already in New Zealand.
If you have a question, contact Immigration New Zealand.
Find out more about: