30 January 2019 at 9:00 am

Student visa processing update

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is continuing to experience high student visa application volumes and would like to remind applicants to apply for their student visa well in advance of their course start date.

A very large number of applications have been submitted to INZ in January for courses beginning within four weeks of the application submission date.  

Jeannie Melville, INZ’s Assistant General Manager, Visa Services reminds applicants to apply for their student visa at least eight weeks before their course start date. 

For those with an application in progress, we ask that they first check the recent student visa processing times published on the INZ website before contacting INZ to seek an update on their application. Those who submitted their visa application online should also check their online account regularly to ensure they haven’t missed any communications from INZ. If INZ needs more information to decide an application, it will take longer to assess. 

During this peak student visa application period, INZ is processing applications in some additional sites in an effort to ensure applications are decided as quickly as possible.  

To ensure the sector is well informed, INZ is developing improved reporting on application processing, including the volume of work in progress and expected processing times. INZ will provide this information in regular email updates to education peak bodies.

ENZ is working closely with INZ on student visa processing matters, to help providers, students and agents understand the current situation.  While INZ continues to experience high volumes of student visa applications, ENZ continues to monitor market reactions and engage constructively with INZ. 

Current fee paying student visa application volumes (as at 27 January 2019)


Application volumes 

Assessment ongoing 


Approved in principle 


Total on hand 



Recent processing timeframes (calculated based on fee paying student visa applications decided 28 Oct 2018-28 Jan 2019) 

Provider Type 

80% decided within: 

90% decided within: 

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics 

38 days 

50 days 

Private Training Establishments 

36 days 

47 days 


15 days 

25 days 


21 days 

31 days 


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