COVID-19 information for students, agents and the international education sector

International students and the international education sector are a valued part of New Zealand’s education system and community. We want to ensure that students, agents and providers have ready access to the information they need.

COVID19 header logo only

For students – go to NauMai NZ for information especially for international students in New Zealand.

Current situation in New Zealand - as at 0939 NZT on 23 February 2021 

New Zealand is at Alert Level 1.

  • It is now a legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport everywhere in New Zealand - including buses, trains, ferries and air travel - at Alert Levels 1 and 2 until further notice.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  • If you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested.
  • If you have been told to self-isolate you legally must do so immediately.
  • Get tested if you have cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms. Tests are free
  • Keep track of where you’ve been with the NZ COVID Tracer app.

Information and advice following community cases of COVID-19 in Auckland in February

If you are living or visiting Auckland, here is what you need to know about testing, isolation, mask wearing and contact tracing:

  • There are a number of locations of interest. if you live in Auckland, please check the locations of interest relating to Auckland cases on this link
  • Anyone in the Auckland area who has cold or flu symptoms should get a test and stay at home until you have a negative test result.
    • Members of the Papatoetoe High School community have been asked to receive a negative test result before returning to school.
  • Keep track of where you’ve been with the NZ COVID Tracer app.
  • For all information on what to do if you are in Auckland, including testing locations and advice for businesses and employers, visit this Auckland regional advice page on the covid19.govt.nz site. 
  • Tertiary students who have concerns about sitting on-site for examinations in Auckland are encouraged to contact their tertiary provider with their concerns.

High-level overview of Alert Level 1 

Education at Alert Level 1

At Alert Level 1, we all need to be ready in case COVID-19 comes back into the community.

Guidance on education during each alert level can be found on this link.

Key sources of health information

If you are in New Zealand:

  • The official New Zealand Government source of information is website - covid19.govt.nz - with information on:
    • The symptoms of COVID-19 and how to seek medical help
    • How to protect your mental wellbeing
    • Self-isolation
    • Content for speakers of other languages. There are currently 28 translations of the COVID-19 site available, including Hindi, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Korean and Japanese.
  • Call Healthline for health-related calls about COVID-19 on 0800 358 5453. Or for international SIMs +64 9 358 5453. You can talk with a member of the National Telehealth Service and interpreters will be on hand. The number is staffed by nurses, paramedics and health advisors.
  • You can also follow the Ministry of Health on Facebook @minhealthnz for key updates and on Twitter @minhealthnz

If you are outside of New Zealand the best source is the World Health Organisation (WHO):

 COVID-19 healthcare for international students

  • International students are eligible for free, public healthcare if they think they have COVID-19. In case of cold or flu-like symptoms, they can call their doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 and get advice about being tested. Further information is available on the Ministry of Health's website.
  • International students, as temporary visa holders, will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of New Zealand's national vaccine programme. The roll-out will focus on border workers first, with the rest of New Zealand expected to receive a vaccine later in the year.
  • Some countries require travellers to confirm a negative COVID-19 test before they leave New Zealand. Students who require a test prior to departure can organise this through Healthline or their GP, but they will need to pay for it. See questions and answers on pre-departure COVID-19 testing.
  • New Zealand Qualifications Authority advises international students to contact their insurance provider directly for up-to-date advice on any changes to their cover as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and to then consider their options, and take the course of action that is in their best interests.

NZ COVID Tracer App

Fast and effective contact tracing is one way we can all work together to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. One easy way to keep track of where you've been is the NZ COVID Tracer App.

All public transport services and small passenger services such as taxis are required to display QR codes.

Information for education providers

Students

Information for international students on COVID-19 and Alert Levels is available on NauMai NZ, an Education New Zealand resource to support international students studying in New Zealand.

  • International students can sign up to NauMai NZ to receive regular email updates.
  • Students from China can follow the ENZ WeChat account

Visas

The Government recently announced a number of changes to assist visitors who are staying in New Zealand longer than expected due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Overview of the main changes and announcements

  • The Government has announced an automatic extension to most onshore visitor visas that expire before 31 March 2021 by two months. It has also temporarily suspended the limit for visitor visa holders, allowing them to stay beyond the previous cap of nine months in an 18-month period. While this is unlikely to have any impact on international students currently in New Zealand - 
    • family members of international students currently studying in New Zealand may benefit from the visitor visa extension if they remain in New Zealand due to COVID-19 restrictions, or otherwise choose to stay longer
    • family members of students will also be able to apply for further visitor visas as the limit of time spent in New Zealand as a visitor has been temporarily suspended. Read more on this Immigration New Zealand page.

  • A COVID-19 short-term visitor visa has been introduced for temporary migrants whose visa is expiring soon but who are unable to leave New Zealand due to international travel restrictions. This includes international students who have completed their study and are waiting for flights to depart New Zealand. Individuals can apply for the COVID-19 short-term visitor visa on the Immigration NZ website.

Support if your visa has expired

If your visa has already expired, you must take urgent action and either leave New Zealand immediately (if possible), or make a request for a special visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.

International travel

New Zealand border

  • The New Zealand border is closed except to New Zealand citizens and residents, and a small number of limited exceptions. 
  • There is more information on the border closure and what some of the exceptions are on the Immigration NZ website.  

Repatriation travel for international students

  • Education providers who are assisting international students with flights must meet their duty of care obligations towards students.
  • For more information on travel for international students returning to their home countries, visit this page on the COVID-19 website.

Work and financial issues

Assistance for foreign nationals programme

  • Support available under the Assistance to Foreign Nationals Impacted by COVID-19 Programme has been extended to 31 August 2021.
  • Any foreign national in New Zealand – including international students – may apply for this support if they are experiencing temporary hardship due to the effects of COVID-19. More information here.

There is further information on what financial support is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website

Other advice

What's in it for me?