Definition of a domestic student in New Zealand

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

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020 defines a domestic student as an individual who is:

  • a New Zealand citizen; or
  • the holder of a residence class visa granted under the Immigration Act 2009 who satisfies the criteria (if any) prescribed by regulations made under subsection (2); or
  • 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.

Definition for schools

The classes of persons enrolled with schools who are required to be treated as if they are not international students are detailed in the Gazette notices below.

The Education (Domestic Students) Notice 2023 - New Zealand Gazette(external link)

To enquire about eligibility to enrol in New Zealand schools as a domestic student, phone +64 4 463 8000 and ask to speak to someone about this, or email

Definition of domestic student (tertiary education)

The classes of persons enrolled with a tertiary institution or registered establishment who are required to be treated as if they are not international students are detailed in the Gazette notice below.

The Domestic Students (Tertiary Education) Notice 2022(external link)

One additional category of domestic student has been added to the Gazette Notice and will come into effect from 1 January 2023.

Special Ukraine Visa holders are now classified as domestic students for the purposes of ACE and ESOL classes. This change enables Ukrainian people who have ESOL needs to access funded ESOL courses to improve their English and support their new life in New Zealand. This change only supports access to courses funded through the Intensive Literacy and Numeracy ESOL fund or Adult Community Education fund.

The domestic student notice has also been updated to be consistent with revised domestic student eligibility settings under the unified funding system for vocational education. An eligibility exemption scheme has been developed to allow some non-domestic learners to access specific training areas, and current work-based eligibility for tuition subsidies has been continued for those learners with a training agreement prior to 1 January 2023. Further information about this change can be found on the TEC website(external link).

Residence Visa 2021

From 1 January 2022(external link), children aged 25 years or under on 1 January 2022, who meet other criteria related to the 2021 Resident Visa pathway, can pay domestic fees from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2023 for government-funded tertiary education. The tertiary education provider will also be able to seek tuition subsidies for these students from the Tertiary Education Commission.

If any students covered by this temporary provision do not transition to a resident visa prior to the end of 2023, they would no longer be domestic students from 2024, and would be expected to pay international fees to continue study.

Further information about the 2021 Residence Visa is available from Immigration New Zealand(external link).

For any enquiries email:

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