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.

What 'unlawfully' means

Unlawfully means the student isn't a New Zealand citizen and is either:

  • not holding a current visa of any type, or
  • was born in New Zealand on or after 1 January 2006 and isn't a New Zealand citizen by birth.

Domestic student approval criteria

Students need to meet all of the following criteria in either Criteria A or Criteria B to be able to apply for approval as a domestic student.

Criteria A

For a child whose most recent arrival in New Zealand was before 23 August 2013:

  • the child is unlawfully living in New Zealand, and
  • the child and a parent/legal guardian, or the child and an extended family member (for example, an aunt, uncle or grandparent) have been living together in New Zealand continuously for over 6 months, and
  • either the child has never enrolled in a New Zealand school or a private training establishment, or the child’s most recent enrolment was as a domestic student.

Criteria B

For a child whose most recent arrival in New Zealand was on or after 23 August 2013:

  • the child is unlawfully living in New Zealand, and
  • the child and a parent/legal guardian have been living together in New Zealand continuously for over 6 months (note that extended family members are excluded), and
  • either the child hasn’t enrolled in a New Zealand school or private training establishment or the child’s most recent enrolment was as a domestic student, and
  • the child’s last visa was not one of the following:
    1. a student visa
    2. an interim visa with study conditions
    3. a visitor visa
    4. a limited purpose permit under the Immigration Act 1987
    5. a limited visa under Immigration Act 2009

unless the child last held a student visa issued under the Immigration Act 2009 and whose most recent enrolment at a registered school was as a domestic student.

How to apply to be a domestic student

If the student meets either Criteria A or B, then follow these steps.

  1. Read the following Guide to 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.

Local Ministry office

Guide to applying to be a domestic student — Parents website (external link)

Application form for approval as a domestic student — Parents website (external link)

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.

Application form for approval as a domestic student — Parents website (external link)  

How to apply to renew domestic student status

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

  1. Read the following Guide to 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.

Local Ministry office

Guide to completing the renewal form — Parents website (external link)

Application to renew domestic student status form — Parents website (external link)

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