In order to study abroad in New Zealand for one semester or one year, you will need to apply for a Fee Paying Student Visa. This may seem daunting but don’t worry – your program manager will walk you through every step, and send you an email 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.

If you are applying to the Ecology of People, Place, and Adventure program, you will need to apply for the Australian Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), the New Zealand ETA, and the New Zealand International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.  You can find further information here.

  • If you are a U.S. citizen

    • The easiest and most efficient way to apply for and secure a student visa is online as most applications are approved in less than 4 weeks. The visa has a fee of NZ$35, which is also referred to as the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL). The fee goes towards conversation efforts to offset the environmental footprint of tourists and short-term students and you will pay it when you complete your visa application.
  • If you are NOT a U.S. citizen

    • The visa application may be a time-consuming process and typically takes 4 weeks to process, but can take longer. You are able to apply online, but may be requested to supply more documentation than a U.S. citizen. There may be a fee depending on your citizenship. Please refer to Immigration New Zealand for additional information. If you are not a native English speaker, you may need to provide documentation of English language proficiency, such as the IELTS, Cambridge, or TOEFL. 

In order to complete your online New Zealand Student Visa application please follow the four steps outlined below:

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
  • A digital passport-style photo (Acceptable photo guidelines)
  • Arcadia Certification (Cert) Letter (sent by your Program Manager)
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from your New Zealand University (sent by your Program Manager)
  • Copy of round-trip flight itinerary. If you want to book a one-way flight instead of round-trip, you will be asked to show additional proof of funds in your bank statement
  • 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:
  • Sample Visa Application: This will guide you in answering some of the questions on your application

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. 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:

  • Open the online visa application and select "Apply Now" then click "Create Account"
  • Create a RealMe login - Store/save your login details for future use. Refer to page 2 of the Sample Visa Application for instructions.
  • 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:

  • A digital passport-style photo
  • Passport information page
  • Arcadia Certification (Cert) Letter
  • Acceptance/Offer Letter from your New Zealand University
  • Flight itinerary
  • Evidence of funds

Step 4: Checking the Status of Your Visa

Once you've submitted your online visa application, it will be reviewed by Immigration New Zealand.

  • It is imperative that you check your email, spam folder and the Application Details page of your visa application for new documents or communications from Immigration New Zealand.

  • Your evisa will be uploaded by Immigration New Zealand on the Application Details page of your visa application. The evisa document may be uploaded with the title “Other”, “Letter”, “Misc.”, etc. so check all new documents that have been uploaded.

  • Once you have your evisa you should print it and keep it with your passport at all times.

  • If you do not have your visa three weeks prior to departure please notify your Program Manager.

Important Visa Information

  • Be prepared to apply for your visa as soon as you receive the Arcadia Certification (Cert) 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.

  • Students with a medical condition, who are studying in New Zealand for more than six months, or have spent time in a country identified as high-risk tuberculosis (TB) country may be requested by Immigration New Zealand to complete a medical exam. If you are requested to complete a medical exam please notify your Program Manager immediately. All medical exams must be performed by an approved panel doctor. The New Zealand Immigration Services have compiled a list of low-risk TB countries.

  • If you have any medical conditions, you may be asked to provide additional documentation including a medical exam by a panel approved doctor. You should contact New Zealand Immigration directly to confirm what documentation you will need at +64 9 914 4100. Please notify your Program Manager right away if this will apply to you.
  • If you have a criminal background, you may be asked to provide additional documentation. This may include (but is not limited to) an affidavit, the court record, and a statement from you about what happened. You should contact New Zealand Immigration directly to confirm what documentation you will need at+64 9 914 4100. Please notify your Program Manager right away if this will apply to you.

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