In order to study in New Zealand, you will need to apply for a Student visa. This may seem daunting but don’t worry – your program manager will walk you through every step, and send you a complete Visa Pack with full instructions and details of everything you will need. If you are traveling internationally in the months leading up to your program start date, please let your program manager know.

The New Zealand visa process is a comparatively simple one, and can be completed in six simple steps:

Step 1: Obtain a Passport

Be sure you have a valid, signed passport that will be good for at least six months following the completion of the program. If you do not have a passport, please begin the process of securing one immediately.

Step 2: Gather Application Materials

You will need the following materials to complete your visa application:

Step 3: Complete Your Visa Application

The visa application must be fully completed, signed, and dated by you in ink. Refer to the Sample Visa Application as a guide to fill out your application. You should also review the Student Visa/Permit Guides from the NZ Immigration Website. If you are unsure of an answer, call your program manager and ask for advice. Do not guess on any question.

The Arcadia University Confirmation of Enrollment letter is necessary for your visa application. It indicates that Arcadia University is responsible for paying your tuition and accommodation fees to your New Zealand University. Because you have this letter, you do not have to fill out a Financial Undertaking for a Student form or provide personal finance information.

All non-US citizens can use the same Student Visa Application form to apply.

Step 4: Complete the Cover Letter and Fee Form

Fill out the Visa Application Cover Letter and the VAC Service & Return Courier Fee Form. Confirm your Service and Courier fee amounts from the New Zealand Visa Application Center (VAC) website.

Step 5: Make Copies

Make copies of the following:

  • Completed Visa Application
  • Completed Visa Application Cover Letter
  • Completed VAC Service & Return Courier Fee Form
  • Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment Letter
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from your New Zealand University
  • Flight Itinerary

Keep these copies for your records. You must send the originals with your visa application.

Step 6: Combine Materials & Submit

Combine the visa application, cover letter, VAC form, Arcadia University confirmation of enrollment letter, New Zealand university acceptance letter, and flight itinerary along with your passport, and two recent passport-sized photographs with your name printed on the back.

How to Send: It is strongly recommended that you mail the completed application via Federal Express to the appropriate New Zealand visa processing center (addresses included below). While other courier services such as UPS and DHL can be used, Federal Express is the only service that delivers twice a day.

Your application can be traced by Federal Express in the event that your visa and passport are lost in the mail, so be sure to record your tracking number. (The New Zealand Embassy is NOT responsible for any documents or passports lost in transit).

Helpful Hint: To further ensure a timely return on your student visa, you can also write your departure date on the outside of the FedEx envelope. Visas are processed in order of departure date, not in the order the applications are received. This will help the visa officers process your visa in a timely manner.

Where to Send: Most U.S. Passport holders should mail their visa application to the Washington DC office.

New Zealand Visa Application Center
1120 19th Street NW, Suite No. 415
Washington, D.C. 20036

However, U.S. Passport holders residing in the following western states can send their applications to the New Zealand Visa Application Center in Los Angeles: Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii.

New Zealand Visa Application Center
1620 26th Street, Suite 2075N
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Important Visa Information

  • You must send in your actual passport so that your visa can be physically attached to the inside of the passport.
  • Be prepared to mail your materials to the appropriate center/consulate as soon as you receive the Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment letter and the Acceptance/Offer Letter from your New Zealand University (these will be sent to you in one email from your Program Manager). Allow at least 3-4 weeks for visa processing.
  • Do not over-pack your application with multiple envelopes, extra documents, etc. This slows the processing time.
  • Do not send an incomplete application. The immigration officials will not match up documents that arrive separately.
  • Students studying in New Zealand for more than six months may also need to provide a completed Chest X-ray Certificate (1096) to show you have been screened for tuberculosis (TB).
  • Students studying for only one semester do not need to provide any medical documentation. Students studying for two semesters who have spent a combined total of three months or more in a country identified as a high-risk TB country will need to provide a completed Chest X-ray Certificate (1096) to show that they have been screened for tuberculosis (TB). The New Zealand Immigration Services have compiled a list of low-risk TB countries.

If you have any questions regarding the visa process, email your program manager or call 1-866-927-2234.