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New Zealand

Study Law in New Zealand 2024

Study in New Zealand

Law Higher Education in New Zealand

To study law in New Zealand, students must apply to one of the country's universities that offers legal studies. The degree takes approximately four years of full-time study to complete. Upon successful completion of the degree and the practical course, students must be administered to the roll of Barristers and Solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand before they can practice law. They also must apply for and hold a New Zealand Law Society certificate.

New Zealand's law program offers several benefits. The country welcomes international students, and cities like Otago, where major universities are located, have ample amenities for students. Any student studying full time in New Zealand is automatically eligible to work in the country, full-time in the summers and part-time during the school year. Also, the people of New Zealand are known to be friendly and accepting. Students also have flexible requirements to be admitted to a law program. Students can pursue the first year of study, then are admitted to the remainder of the program based on their first year paper. This allows them to see if studying law is a good fit before jumping into the full legal program.

New Zealand residents who enroll in a law degree pay $5,798 for a year of study. Because government subsidies may not be available for international students, these fees may increase for those studying from another country. To get the most current fee schedule, students should contact the university of their choice.

Upon successful graduation with a New Zealand law degree, students will be able to practice law in New Zealand, or they can pursue further training to practice in another location. New Zealand's higher education program gives international students six month work permits after graduation to give themselves time to find a job and apply for residence if they wish.

Legal training can also open the door for work as a court reporter, legal secretary, legal executive or court registrar. Students who wish to have the upper hand in attaining a job after graduation may wish to pursue Honours or postgraduate study in the field of law at their chosen university. This further training provides greater employment options.

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Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

  • Share of utilities

  • Internet subscription

  • Local transportation


Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

  • Cinema ticket

  • Pint of local beer


About New Zealand

About New Zealand

Often the backdrop for adventure or fantasy films, New Zealand is known for its lush green mountains and breathtaking landscapes. New Zealand is an island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean east of Australia. This biodiverse island nation is known for its rich Polynesian culture and the art and culture of the indigenous Maori people, as well as its wool and dairy exports.

What Is the Law System Like in New Zealand?

New Zealand derives much of its legal system from the common law system used in the United Kingdom. However, some areas are different, as New Zealand has developed its own form of common law. The people of New Zealand also follow statute law, which refers to the laws created by its Parliament.

What Is a Law Degree in New Zealand?

Lawyers practicing in New Zealand must hold a Bachelor of Laws Degree from one of the country's universities. This is followed by a practical course administered by the College of Law New Zealand or the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. Students often receive a dual degree or pursue postgraduate study in law, but this is not a requirement.

Visa Requirements

Student Visa (for studies that are longer than three months)

If your course is three months or less, you don’t need a student visa, just a visitor visa.

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

Student Visa; Visitor Visa

Price and currency

NZD 250

Application fees vary depending on your country of origin and can be around $250.

You can check the costs of a New Zealand student visa here:

Who can apply for the visa?

A student visa is required for all people coming to New Zealand to study for more than three months. The study must be the main purpose of your visit. If your course is up to 3 months, you may be able to study on a visitor visa or work visa.

You don't need a student visa to study full time if:

  1. you're an NZ citizen or resident
  2. you're an Australian citizen
  3. you have a permanent residence visa or a resident return visa for Australia — without conditions.

Where can you make the application?

Online / New Zealand consulate or embassy

To make an application for a New Zealand student visa, you can apply online or in person before traveling.

To apply in person within your home country, you will need to contact your local New Zealand consulate or embassy to get an application form and/or appointment. Alternatively, you can apply online by visiting the official website and creating an account.


How to make the application?

For your visa application, you will need:

  • Acceptance letter from an approved education provider in New Zealand.
  • Evidence of sufficient funds - You will need to show that you have sufficient funds to pay your tuition fees (this can include evidence of loan coverage, scholarship or other funds) and proof of funds to cover your living costs while you study in New Zealand (via a sponsor, a loan, a scholarship, government support or sufficient bank balance). You need to prove you have at least NZD$15,000 (~US$10,870) for each year if your course is longer than nine months.
  • Proof of onward travel - This can be evidence of already paid-for onward tickets, proof of further funds, or agreement from a sponsor to pay for onward travel. The point is to show that you intend and can afford, to leave the country once you complete your studies.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Medical certificates - If you are planning to study in New Zealand for more than 12 months you will need to provide a general medical certificate, a chest x-ray certificate and possibly undertake a tuberculosis screening.
  • If you are under 18 you will also need to provide proof of arranged accommodation, and if you are 17 or older, a police certificate of “good character”.
  • Two-color passport photos.
  • A passport valid for at least three months after the date you plan to leave New Zealand.
  • Proof that you have paid the visa application fee.

When should you apply?

You should apply at least six weeks before you plan to travel to New Zealand. Student visas applied for online usually take 20 days to process, while student visas applied for via the paper form take 25 days to process.

Your Student Visa is normally for the same length of time as the study you’ve paid for, and its duration can be up to 4 years.

Processing time

20 Days

Work opportunities

International full-time students with a student visa are legally allowed to work in New Zealand for up to 20 hours per week during term time, and may work full-time during all scheduled holiday periods such as Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. The specifics depend on your visa conditions. Work experience required in your studies doesn’t count towards the 20-hour limit. International students can’t be self-employed.

Masters by research and Ph.D. students can work as many hours as they wish.

Hours per week


Why do you need this type of visa?

Some of the reasons why a New Zealand student visa may be rejected are:

  1. If you have a record of imprisonment in the last 10 years and or been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.
  2. If you have a record of deportation, and or if you are a subject of a period of prohibition to enter into New Zealand.
  3. If there is a misrepresentation of the information you have provided, on which the immigration officer believes that the information declared in your application is not genuine.
  4. If you submitted an application that is not completed
  5. If the health and character requirements are not met
  6. If you are unable to demonstrate to cover the tuition fee cost, living and travel cost in New Zealand
  7. If there is no clear pathway for the course you intend to study in New Zealand
  8. If the immigration officer sees that you are not a genuine student from the documents and information you have provided, and as after the telephonic interview, you can’t even answered some information regarding the course information, institution’s information, among others
  9. If the funds are not legit, or it cannot be verified