Visa information and immigration

You will need a current study visa to study at Otago Polytechnic. Information on how to get a student visa is available from Immigration New Zealand. This website has information and contact details for your closest Immigration New Zealand office, as well as downloadable application forms.

When to arrive

It is recommended you arrive a few days prior to your programme start date so that you have enough time to find accommodation and attend orientation before classes begin.


Dunedin Campus

Please bring your passport and visa and come to the Student Success area in The Hub (Forth Street, Dunedin).  

Orientation will include: 

  • Enrolment and Student ID process 
  • Information on Otago Polytechnic requirements and Student Services 
  • Preparation for studying in New Zealand
  • Introduction to your Programme Manager 
  • Tour of the campus. 

Central Otago Campus

In Central, your orientation can begin from the moment we meet you at Queenstown Airport. We will take you to your accommodation, help you get settled in, and ensure you have the essentials, such as groceries. We will also let you know what to expect in your first few days at Central.

Your first day at Central includes:

  • Enrolment and Student ID process
  • Information on Otago Polytechnic requirements and Student Services  
  • Preparation for studying in New Zealand
  • Introduction to your Programme Manager and school
  • Tour of the campus. 

Planning your finances

You’ll need to think carefully about the amount of money you will need while you are studying. Remember, your daily cost of living is in addition to our tuition fees. This section explains important financial things about money, including the cost of living, transferring money to a New Zealand bank account and family expenses if they are planning to come with you.


New Zealand currency is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). Notes come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Coins come in denominations of $0.10, $0.20, $0.50, $1, and $2. There is a bank branch, or at least an automatic teller machine (ATM), on nearly every tertiary campus. All banks offer phone and internet banking. Most New Zealanders use EFTPOS to pay for large and small items. This is an electronic transaction that automatically transfers money from your bank account to the retailer.

Approximate costs in New Zealand 


Amount (New Zealand Dollars)


$100 – $300 per week


$80 – $120 per week

Books and materials

$500 – $2,000 per year


$100 – $500 per year


$500 – $2,000 per year

See the Currency and Foreign Exchange for up-to-date currency conversions.

Opening a bank account

Some banks let you open an account before you arrive in New Zealand. New Zealand’s banks include:

Foreign currency

You can bring foreign currency into New Zealand, but if it’s more than NZ$10,000 you need to declare it to Customs. Most overseas currencies are easily exchanged at New Zealand banks. Check out the latest exchange rates.

What to pack 

In keeping with New Zealand’s relaxed lifestyle, dress is informal on most occasions. Most houses do not have central heating so New Zealanders tend to wear many layers of clothing to keep warm, including merino (wool) or polypropylene long sleeved tops. In winter and summer you'll need:

  • Warm footwear for cold weather
  • Woolen sweaters or other warm garments
  • A warm and windproof coat
  • Winter hat, scarf and gloves
  • A sunhat or cap (It’s easy to get sunburnt here, even on cool or cloudy days, as the sun in New Zealand has strong UV rays)
  • Suitable footwear for outings to the beach and the countryside.

If you do not have suitable clothing available in your country, we suggest that you buy warm garments suited to Dunedin's cold winter climate when you arrive. Items such as merino and propylene clothing, and winter jackets can be purchased year-round from the following shops:

Electrical items

Electricity is supplied throughout New Zealand at 230/240 volts, 50 hertz. Most hotels and motels and some homes provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors. For all other equipment, you’ll need an adapter or converter, unless the appliance has a multi-voltage option. Power outlets only accept flat three- or two-pin plugs, depending on whether an earth connection is fitted.  

What not to bring

When you fly to New Zealand from overseas, it is important to follow New Zealand law. That means you must declare or dispose of risk goods at our international borders. Biosecurity risk goods that must be declared include:

  • Any food including cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried goods
  • Plant or plant products including fruit, vegetables, leaves, nuts, parts of flowers, seeds, bulbs, fungi, cane, bamboo, wood or straw
  • Animals, animal medicines or animal products including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shells, raw wood, skins, bones or insects
  • Biological cultures, soil or water
  • Equipment used with animals, plants or water
  • Articles with soil attached, outdoor sport or hiking shoes, and tents.

For more information, visit the biosecurity website.