Definition of a domestic student in New Zealand

The definition of domestic student is clarified as below for schools and further education institutions.

Definition for schools

The list of class or description of foreign nationals enrolled at schools who are required to be treated as if they are not international students was updated in 2013.
Go to the New Zealand Gazette notice - The Education (Domestic Students) Notice 2013 (external link)

email enquiries.national@education.govt.nz or phone +64 4 463 8000 and ask to speak to someone about eligibility to enrol in New Zealand schools as a domestic student.

Definition for tertiary

Section 159 of the Education Act 1989 defines a domestic student as:

  • A New Zealand citizen
  • The holder of a residence class visa granted under the Immigration Act 2009
  • A person of a class or description of persons required by the Minister, by notice in the Gazette, to be treated as if they are not international students.

The following classes of persons are required by the Minister to be treated as if they are not international students:

  • A person who has a letter from the Protocol Division of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirming that he or she is for the time being entitled to any immunity from jurisdiction by or under the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968 or the Consular Privileges and Immunities Act 1971 for the current academic year, until the end of the year in which that status expires.
  • A person who has made a claim to be recognised as a refugee or a protected person in accordance with Part 5 of the Immigration Act 2009, and who is the holder of a valid temporary visa.
  • A person who has been recognised as a refugee or a protected person in accordance with Part 5 of the Immigration Act 2009, and whose application for residence is being processed.
  • A person who is in New Zealand to study under a New Zealand Government approved exchange programme at a tertiary education provider.
  • A person who is enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy programme at a New Zealand university.
  • A person who is enrolled at a tertiary education provider for the purpose of participating in industry training funded under the Industry Training Act 1992.

For any enquiries, please email  international.division@education.govt.nz.

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