Guide to NZ’s Dependent Child Student Visa

Guide to NZ's Dependent Child Student Visa

The Dependent Child Student Visa is designed for the dependent children of certain types of work and student visa holders who wish to study at a primary or secondary school in New Zealand.

Eligibility Criteria

To apply for this visa, the dependent child must meet certain criteria:
  1. The child must be 19 years old or under.
  2. The parent must hold an appropriate work or student visa.
  3. The child must be financially dependent on the parent.
  4. The child must be in good health and of good character.

Application Process

The application process involves providing proof of the child’s identity, the parent’s immigration status, and the child’s dependency on the parent. Additionally, the parent must have the legal right to remove the child from their home country and agree to pay the child’s healthcare costs.

Costs and Processing Time

The cost of the Dependent Child Student Visa starts from NZD $375. The processing time for 90% of applications is within 50 days.


With this visa, a dependent child can join their parent in New Zealand and study at a primary or secondary school. They are treated as a domestic student, which means tuition fees are not required.

The New Zealand School System

The New Zealand school system is divided into three stages: primary, intermediate, and secondary. Schooling begins at primary school, which can be either a contributing primary school (Year 1 to Year 6) or a full primary school (Year 1 to Year 8). After primary or intermediate school, children must be enrolled in a secondary school to complete their final school years, which go from Year 9 to Year 13.

Primary and Intermediate School

Children start primary school when they turn 5 and must be enrolled by their sixth birthday. If your child attends a contributing primary school, you will need to enrol them with an intermediate school to complete Years 7 and 8.

Secondary School

Secondary schools, often referred to as college or high school, cover Years 9 to 13. After completing primary or intermediate school, children must be enrolled in a secondary school to complete their final school years.

Enrolling Your Child in School

To enrol your child in a school in New Zealand, you must contact the school to find out their enrolment process and get their enrolment forms. Your child can enrol as a ‘domestic’ student if they are a New Zealand resident or permanent resident, a New Zealand citizen, or a student visa holder based on your temporary work visa.

School Structure and Environment

New Zealand schools vary in size, with most schools having between 100 and 2000 students. The learning environment involves a balance of practical and theoretical learning, with teachers encouraging students to think creatively, independently, and analytically. Schools are well equipped with computers, the Internet, and other technology. They also have a lot of room for outdoor play and sport.

School Hours, Terms, and Holidays

The school day usually starts at 9 am and ends at 3 or 3:30 pm. The school year starts in January, with four terms in a year, two-week breaks between them, and a six-week summer break at the end of the year.

School Zones

Most schools in New Zealand are grouped intoareas known as ‘zones’. Children are usually expected to attend a school in the zone where they live.

Higher Education and Training

When your child gets to senior secondary school (Years 11 to 13), you will be thinking about what they want to do after they leave school and what their education and career options are. Higher education in New Zealand is not limited to universities and institutes of technology or polytechnics. There are a wide range of other options, including vocational training, apprenticeships, and ‘on-the-job’ training.

Important Notes

If the child wishes to study at a tertiary level, they may need to apply for a ‘Fee Paying Student Visa’ instead. Some work visa holders are not eligible to support applications for this visa.
Remember, it’s important to check the official Immigration New Zealand website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. The visa application process can be complex, so it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice if you’re unsure about anything.

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