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.

New Zealand Immigration has recently updated their student visa application process to include an online component. If you are experiencing problems with the online application form, or any other aspect of your application, please contact Arcadia at 1-866-927-2234, or the New Zealand Visa Application Center directly at 1-202-223-3400.

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

  • Passport
  • 2 Passport-Sized Photographs
  • Sample Visa Application: This will guide you in answering some of the questions on your application
  • Visa Application Cover Letter
  • Arcadia Confirmation of Enrollment Letter (sent to you by email)
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from your New Zealand University (sent to you by email)
  • Copy of Round-Trip Flight Itinerary
  • Visa Application Centre (VAC) Service & Return Courier Fee Form
  • Evidence of financial support for day-to-day living expenses throughout your stay in-country. You can do so by providing one of the following:
    • Evidence of funds held by you or on your behalf; a bank statement showing $400 per month or a credit card statement.
    • If the funds are not in your name, your parents should complete and sign the Financial Undertaking form.

Step 3: Complete Your Visa Application

The online visa application must be fully completed by you. Refer to the Sample Visa Application as a guide to fill out your application. You should also review the Student Visa Guide from the NZ Immigration. If you are unsure of an answer, call your program manager and ask for advice. Do not guess on any question. Here are a few basic steps to begin:

  • Create a RealMe login - Store/save your login details for future use*
  • Click "Continue"
  • Accept the security disclaimer
  • Create your profile
  • Activate your account by confirming your email address
  • Answer the initial questions
  • Click "Start Application"

Upload the following items directly to the online application:

  • 2 Passport-Sized Photographs
  • Passport information page
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from your New Zealand University
  • Flight itinerary
  • Evidence of funds

Step 4: Immigration Online Application - Next Steps

Complete the Cover Letter and VAC Service & Return Courier Fee Form

Once you've submitted your online visa application, you must fill out the Visa Application Cover Letter and provide:

Additionally, enclose your contact information, phone and email, and return courier address (if applicable) so that you can be contacted by the VAC if necessary.

Please provide these documents promptly; Immigration New Zealand cannot finalize your online application until they receive your passport.

Step 5: Combine & Mail Materials

Combine the Cover Letter, your original passport, the VAC Service & Return Courier Fee form, and the printout of the online confirmation page or your online application reference number.

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

New Zealand Visa Application Centre - Washington, D.C.
TT Services
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: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington State and Wyoming.

New Zealand Visa Application Centre - Los Angeles
TT Services
1620 26th Street, Suite 2075N
Santa Monica, CA 90404

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

Your materials 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 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.

Important Visa Information

  • U.S. residents with U.S. passports do not have to pay the visa application fee, as the United States is a fee-waiver country.
  • You must send in your actual passport so that your visa can be physically attached to the inside of the passport.
  • Make photocopies of all materials for your records.
  • Be prepared to apply for your visa 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.