Border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students

Border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students

A further border class exception for 1,000 international tertiary students has been approved by the Government for the following international students:

  • 400 pilot trainees
  • 300 students at degree level and above, and
  • 300 students at the sub-degree level.

We expect these students to start arriving from March-2022. For more detailed FAQ’s, see below.

Information for Education Providers

We are working with other government agencies and the international education sector to bring international students back into the country. We will engage with education sector representatives to finalise the allocation of places within each of the three groups and confirm student nominations. Education providers will be responsible for nominating students who are eligible for border exception to the Ministry of Education by December 2021. The Ministry of Education will be responsible for confirming students are eligible for the border exception by January 2022.

Key dates

October 2021Allocation of places and criteria for nominations from providers confirmed.
November 2021Providers communicate with potential students
December 2021Nominations open with the Ministry of Education
January 2022Successful nominated students to begin visa process
March 2022Likely first student arrivals to New Zealand

Information for International Students

Education providers will supply information to prospective students when it becomes available.

The first steps for students are:

  1. Notify your education provider of your intention to study in New Zealand. If you are already registered with your education provider – you don’t need to do anything, your provider will come to you and guide you through the nomination process.
  2. Please do not apply for a visa with Immigration New Zealand until you hear your nomination is confirmed by your education provider.
  3. Once your education provider has confirmed your nomination you will need to make sure you meet the above criteria to be travel ready (see travel ready check list).

Travel Ready Checklist

You will need to confirm you can meet the following requirements:

  • Meet all COVID-19 prevention requirements(external link)
  • Have received the full course of an approved vaccine
  • Have evidence that you have at least NZD $20,000 annually for living costs (or NZD $1,667 for each month of study if your programme of study is less than thirty-six weeks)
  • Have evidence that you can pay for managed isolation and quarantine (providers may choose to assist students with some or all costs)
  • Can successfully book an MIQ space timed to your course start date (MIQ places are not guaranteed)
  • Are ‘travel ready’ to arrive in New Zealand from about March to July 2022, including access to flight routes that easily link to New Zealand
  • Can enter NZ and complete 14 days isolation in MIQ. MIQ spaces may not align with programme start dates
  • Agree to your information being shared by government agencies to help you arrive in NZ
  • Be aware that there may be changes to In Study Work Rights and Post Study Work Rights that may be implemented at the time of your application for a visa
  • Demonstrate English competency as per the NZQA requirements. If you have any questions, contact NZQA (external link)
  • Have the support of your family to travel and study in New Zealand.


How will the 1,000 students be selected?

The Ministry of Education will work with government agencies and the international education sector, including Universities New Zealand, Te Pūkenga, Aviation New Zealand and the PTE sector, to identify eligible students. Providers will be in touch with nominated students. 

How will I know if I can be nominated?

You must contact your preferred education provider to signal your interest to study in New Zealand in 2022. At the right time, your education provider will contact you to discuss your eligibility. 

What if I don’t hear from my education provider who recommended my nomination by January 2022?

Check in with your nominated education provider. They will confirm whether they are nominating you under this border exception. 

What if I don’t hear from my education provider who recommended my nomination by April 2022?

Check in with your nominated education provider. They will confirm whether they are nominating you under this border exception.

It is possible that your nomination may be confirmed after your intended university start date. 

How do I secure an MIQ spot?

When your visa application is approved, you will need to apply for a MIQ place. You can find more information at The managed isolation booking system | Managed isolation and quarantine ( link).

Applications will not be eligible in December 2021 and January 2022. This is reserved for New Zealand citizens and residents only. An approved visa application does not guarantee a MIQ spot in a timely manner.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated?

Yes. As of 1 November 2021, anyone entering New Zealand (17 years and older), who is not a New Zealand citizen, will require a full course of any of the 22 COVID-19 vaccines approved by a government or approval authority and received your last dose at least 14 days prior to arrival in New Zealand. You can find information on eligible vaccines at Vaccines – COVID19 Vaccine Tracker ( link).

Vaccination details will need to be confirmed.

Am I eligible for a scholarship?

General information about scholarships for international students is available at Find a scholarship – link) and Scholarships and financial help.

Can I apply for a nomination with more than one education provider?

Ideally you will approach one preferred education provider who you already have a relationship with. Providers and government agencies will be working together to support the nomination process.