Enrolling students as domestic students who are living unlawfully in New Zealand

Students living unlawfully in New Zealand can apply to the Ministry of Education to enrol as a domestic student. Note this does not change the immigration status of the student.

What 'unlawfully' means

Unlawfully means the student does not have the lawful authority to be in New Zealand – for example, isn’t a New Zealand citizen or resident or is not holding a valid visa.

Domestic student approval criteria

Students need to meet all of the following criteria to be able to apply for approval as a domestic student. The child must be unlawfully living in New Zealand and:

(i) The child is living with a parent/legal guardian or extended family member (for example, an aunt, uncle, or grandparent). At the date of application, the child and family member must have been living together in New Zealand continuously for more than six months: and

(ii) The child has either not been previously enrolled at a registered New Zealand school or other provider, or their last enrolment was as a domestic student. The definition of a provider is that within the meaning of section 10(1) paragraph (c) of the definition of the term "provider” in the Education and Training Act 2020.

These criteria are part of a notice by Gazette to treat these students as if they were not international students, and can be found on the Ministry of Education website.

Definition of a domestic student in New Zealand

Information for parents

Parents wishing to enrol their child must make an application to the Ministry of Education. Information about this process and eligibility can be found on the Ministry of Education website for parents.

Going to school as a child unlawfully living in New Zealand — Parents website(external link)

How to apply to be a domestic student

If the student meets the Gazette criteria, then follow these steps.

  1. Read the following Guide for applying to be a domestic student.
  2. Fill in the following form to apply to be a domestic student.
  3. Post, email or take the completed form to your local Ministry of Education office.

Guide for applying to be a domestic student — Parents website(external link) [DOCX; 44KB]

Application form for approval as a domestic student — Parents website(external link) [DOCX; 53KB]

Local Ministry office

How to renew an existing domestic student status

You can only apply for a renewal of domestic student status if the student holds a current approval letter from the Ministry and meets all 3 of the following criteria.

  1. They haven’t been issued with a new visa since the Ministry granted approval, and
  2. They haven’t left New Zealand since the Ministry granted approval, and
  3. They didn’t turn 19 years old last year.

If the student’s existing approval has ended or been withdrawn, you'll need to complete a full application for approval to enrol as a domestic student.

How to apply to renew domestic student status

If the student meets all of the above 3 criteria, then follow these steps. 

  1. Read the following Guide for completing the renewal form.
  2. Fill in the following form to renew your child's domestic student status.
  3. Post, email or take the completed form to your local Ministry of Education office.

Guide to completing the renewal form — Parents website(external link) [DOCX;44 KB]

Application form to renew domestic student status — Parents website(external link) [DOCX;37KB]

Local Ministry office

 

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