Pursuing Studies in New Zealand as a Domestic Student

In New Zealand, the classification of students into international or domestic is based on the type of visa held. It is essential to understand the distinction between these categories to determine eligibility for certain benefits and services.

Temporary Visa Holders and Education Options in New Zealand

For children who are dependents of temporary visa holders and are at early childhood level (under 5 years old), they can attend kindergarten on a dependent child visitor visa. In the case of primary or secondary level, dependent children of certain temporary visa holders will require a student visa, but will generally be considered domestic students, enabling them to study for free in any public school in New Zealand.

Adult students studying at tertiary level will need a residence-class visa or an international student visa, unless they possess a temporary visa that permits short-term study (typically 3 to 6 months).

Eligibility for Domestic Student Benefits as a Residence Visa Holder

If you hold a residence-class visa in New Zealand, you can study at the tertiary level as a domestic student and pay lower fees compared to international students. Additionally, residence visa holders may also qualify for other benefits related to higher studies, but there are additional requirements to fulfill.

Fee-free first year of study:

You may be eligible to study your first year of university fee-free if you have been a resident of New Zealand for at least 3 years.
Feesfree website -https://www.feesfree.govt.nz/

Interest-free student loan:

You must have lived in New Zealand on a residence-class visa for three years to qualify for an interest-free student loan.
Studylink website - https://www.studylink.govt.nz/products/a-z-products/student-loan/index.html

Apprenticeships (till December 2022):

Since December 2020, the government has been providing funding for free apprenticeships that are available to you from the first day of your residence in New Zealand. Even if you are a work visa holder, you may still qualify for this initiative if the apprenticeship is within your visa expiry date.
Tertiary Education Commission-https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/legislation/definition-of-domestic-student/

Definition of A Domestic Student in New Zealand as per New Zealand Ministry of Education

The MOE website provides a definition of domestic students in New Zealand as per Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020.
MOE website- https://www.education.govt.nz/our-work/legislation/definition-of-domestic-student/