Visa and Accommodation

International students who have accepted their offer and paid their fees are now on their way to obtaining a student visa and beginning their journey to Christchurch.
Your next step is to:

Step 1: Organise your Student Visa and immigration requirements

Applying for a Student Visa

If you wish to study in New Zealand you must have a valid student visa. The Government of New Zealand issues student visas for full time study on the understanding that you have sufficient funds for study and living expenses for the duration of your stay in New Zealand. There are regulations that must be met before a student visa can be issued and these vary from country to country. Information about how to apply for your student visa can be obtained from your Education Agent or the nearest Diplomatic Mission of New Zealand in your country. Student visas can take significant time to issue, please ensure that you leave sufficient time to obtain your visa.

All student visa applications are assessed by the New Zealand Government according to:

  • Evidence of funds to support yourself

  • Medical/Health requirements

  • Character requirements

  • Letter of Offer from UCIC (or Confirmation of Enrolment if you are renewing your visa)

  • Proof of payment of UCIC fees

Keeping and Understanding a Student Visa

All International students must comply with current visa conditions and regulations determined by Immigration New Zealand. For more detailed information on current visa conditions and regulations visit the Immigration New Zealand website - migrant/stream/study

Change of Education Provider

If you wish to change your programme of study and/or education provider you must first obtain a variation of conditions (or a further student visa). If you change your programme of study and/or education provider before obtaining authority to do so, you will be in breach of your visa conditions. This may jeopardise your ability to be granted further visas, or a variation of conditions, and you may become liable for deportation. Please see for further details, or speak to UCIC Admissions.


You must maintain enough money to pay for tuition and living expenses for yourself, your spouse and your dependent children for the duration of your stay in New Zealand.

Under 18 Students

Under 18 students at the time of visa application must have approved welfare and accommodation arrangements in place and must maintain these arrangements until they turn 18.

Students under the age of 18 not living with their parents in New Zealand, must have appropriate accommodation. This accommodation can include homestays, boarding establishments or a designated caregiver. For further details on arranging a homestay with UCIC, please see here. A designated caregiver must be a relative or close family friend, designated in writing by your parents. For more information on arranging to stay with a designated caregiver, please contact UCIC admissions.

A representative from UCIC Student Services will meet with you at least once a quarter to ensure that your living situation continues to be suitable, and to check your general wellbeing. You must advise UCIC immediately if your living circumstances change, and any change in your living situation must be approved in writing by your parents before the change is made.

Students with Families

If you have family members that will accompany you to New Zealand there are immigration requirements that must be met. Further information about immigration requirements are available at

For children between the ages of 5 and 18, you are required to make adequate schooling arrangements for them while they are in New Zealand. Students must note that New Zealand government and private schools charge fees. Further information about enrolling your child at a school can be obtained by contacting the Ministry of Education, telephone (+64 4) 463 8000 or visit

If you have a spouse travelling with you and they wish to study, they may study up to 3 months. If they want to study beyond 3 months then it is an Immigration New Zealand requirement that your spouse enrols in an appropriate programme and applies for a student visa of their own right.

Student Visa Conditions

Student visas are granted subject to a number of mandatory and discretionary conditions. International students are required to comply with these conditions while studying in New Zealand.

Academic Progress

Students must make satisfactory academic progress each semester. Failure to achieve this will lead to students being "at risk" of not completing the programme within the expected duration as stated in your offer letter and the Confirmation of Enrolment.


International students must attend at least 90% of all scheduled classes during the semester. If illness or personal problems prevent you from maintaining 90% attendance at classes during the semester you must seek advice from a Student Adviser as soon as possible. Please also see the Attendance Policy, available here.

Providing your contact details in New Zealand

Students must advise UCIC of your home address and phone number in New Zealand within seven (7) days of arriving in New Zealand. Also, if you change your address or phone number during your stay in New Zealand, you must advise UCIC within seven days.

Step 2: Organise your Accommodation

UCIC students who require accommodation have the opportunity of staying at an UC Residential Campus, on-campus accommodation, homestay, temporary, hostel or apartment style accommodation or private house/flat rental.

It is recommended that you secure your accommodation as soon as possible after confirming your programme with UCIC to ensure that you are able to obtain your preferred accommodation option.

For further information about Accommodation options click here

Step 3: Arrange Medical and Travel Insurance

As an international student you are required, and any dependants, to hold adequate and current Medical and Travel Insurance for the duration of your Student Visa. Your policy should cover you from the time you leave your home, in your home country, and should meet the minimum requirements as defined under the Guidelines for the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 –Tertiary. Medical and travel insurance must cover you and any dependents or partner.

UCIC offers appropriate medical and travel insurance, this can be taken up at the time of application and upon paying appropriate fees with your Letter of Offer. If you do not wish to take up the insurance that UCIC offers, you will need to provide a copy of your policy documents to UCIC, and UCIC will need to confirm that the policy is suitable.

Further details on what the medical and travel insurance covers is available by contacting UCIC Admissions.

Step 4: Book your flight and UCIC's free Airport Pickup service

Many students travel to and from New Zealand at the beginning and end of each semester, therefore flights can be heavily booked in advance. It is advisable to make a flight booking as soon as you have confirmed your enrolment at UCIC.

Plan to arrive in Christchurch at least 14 days prior to Orientation and Enrolment to give yourself time to settle in, find permanent accommodation, open bank accounts and familiarise yourself with your new environment. This adjustment will be a major change to your normal routine and leaving your arrival to the last minute can create unnecessary difficulties.

Free Airport Reception

If you are arriving in New Zealand for the first time and you have booked on-campus accommodation in the Halls of Residence, the UC Accommodation Office can arrange for you to be picked up from the airport and taken to your accommodation. This service is free but must be booked at least a week prior to your departure. To book an airport pick-up, go to

Arriving in Christchurch via an International Flight

New Zealand has strict quarantine laws designed to help protect New Zealand's natural environment. It is very important that you do not try to bring anything into New Zealand which is prohibited, and that you declare anything that is restricted on your arrival. For further information on quarantine matters go to

The New Zealand Customs Service also provides advice on importing goods into New Zealand. For information about customs duties and taxes on articles imported into New Zealand, and goods which are exempt, subject to strict import control, or absolutely prohibited, go to

When you arrive in New Zealand, you will go through an arrivals process. This will involve immigration, customs, and biosecurity checks. You will be given an arrival card which asks you to declare food and other restricted items. It is important to read the information on the arrival card carefully. If you are not sure about an item you are carrying, declare it. If you fail to declare any goods that are considered a biosecurity risk you may receive an instant fine of NZ$400, or be prosecuted.

Once you have collected your baggage and cleared customs, look out for your airport pick-up (if you have booked one).
For more information about the Christchurch Airport visit:

Step 5: Find out more about living in Christchurch


Christchurch has a temperate climate, with low rainfall, lots of sunshine and the full range of spectacular seasons. Temperatures can vary between 15-30 °C (60-85 °F) in summer and 12-15 °C (50-60 °F) in winter.


The unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar ($ or NZD) (100 cents = $1.00). There are six coins: $2 and $1 are gold; 50c and 20c are silver; and 10 cents are bronze. There are five notes: $100, $50, $20 $10 and $5. Each note has a unique design and a different colour.

For currency conversion see:

Cost of Living

The cost of living in New Zealand is comparable to other western countries. Your budget will depend on the type of lifestyle and accommodation you choose. For further information on cost of living, please see

The first few weeks in New Zealand may be expensive, due to an outlay of 'one-off' expenses. These may include temporary accommodation, rental bonds, books, clothing, furnishings, etc. Other major expenditure may include purchasing and maintaining a car, and obtaining a driver's licence.


Being a student is an exciting time where you will make new friends and experience different learning opportunities. It is important to enjoy your city and your campus. Please take the time to read our safety flyer for tips on assisting to protect you from unsafe situations.

For more information on Christchurch and the Canterbury region visit:

Step 6: Find out more about UCIC's student support services

Both UCIC and UC have extensive student support services which you can access.