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 2021 - 2021-go4141 - 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

enquiries.national@education.govt.nz

Definition of domestic tertiary student

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)

Two additional categories of domestic tertiary student have been added to the Gazette Notice and will come into effect from 1 January 2022.

One additional category aims to provide certainty to children of those on the one-off 2021 Resident Visa pathway.  Further information about the 2021 Residence Visa is available from Immigration New Zealand(external link).

This will enable children 25 years or under on 1 January 2022, who meet other criteria related to the 2021 Resident Visa pathway, to 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 tertiary student from 2024, and would be expected to pay international fees to continue study.

The second additional category supports the Partners of New Zealand citizens or residents to access English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses, prior to the partners transitioning to residency. This change enables those partners who have ESOL needs to access funded ESOL courses to improve their English and support their future 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. For any enquiries email:

international.division@education.govt.nz

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