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COVID-19 information for new international students currently offshore

Pārongo KOWHEORI-19 mā ngā tauira hou nō tawāhi kei tāwāhi tonu

New Zealand borders and visa processing

Updated: 20 April 2022

The University of Otago welcomes the border re-opening plans announced by the New Zealand government earlier this year:

Reopening the New Zealand, border 5 steps – New Zealand Immigration website

Key border re-opening and visa processing stages relevant to non-New Zealand citizens/residents:

  1. From 14 March, applications for working holiday visas open for a number of countries. Working holiday visas allow study for up to 6 months, for example a Study Abroad programme or studying English.
  2. From 13 April, the border reopens to student visa holders who still meet their visa requirements, as well as newly nominated international students as part of the government announced 5,000 cohort.
  3. From 2 May, the border reopens to visa-waiver travellers and existing holders of a valid visitor visa.
  4. From October, the border reopens and normal visa processing resumes for all categories - including visitor and student visas.

As part of the re-opening plans, the Government announced that a limited cohort of 5000 international students would be allowed back into New Zealand from the middle of this year. The University of Otago has been allocated a small number of places (116) as part of this nominated cohort. This number is significantly less than the number of our international students currently studying offshore, and we know there are many more new students who are waiting to travel to New Zealand to commence their study with Otago.

If you have not received a separate email from us inviting you to take part in the nominated border exception cohort, we instead look forward to welcoming you as a returning or commencing student later this year or early in 2023, once the New Zealand border restrictions have lifted and student visa processing has resumed.

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Undergraduate and coursework postgraduate programmes

Applications open

Otago welcomes applications from international students at all levels.

Studies commencing semester 1 (February) 2023

Applications for semester 1 (February) 2023 can be made starting from May 2022.

With the New Zealand border reopening in stages during 2022 and student visa processing due to resume later in 2022, we are looking forward to welcoming students from across the world to the Otago campus to start studies at the start of 2023.

Explore our full range of undergraduate and postgraduate study options taught on campus

Studies commencing semester 2 (July) 2022

Applications for studies commencing in semester 2 (July) 2022 close on 30 April.

Studies that are offered online with a semester 2 intake can be found via these pages:

Given the border and student visa processing restrictions currently in place, students who have already applied for, or who have received an offer for semester 2, will either be:

  • Offered an on-campus offer for semester 2
  • Offered an offshore study option – online or distance learning, or
  • Deferred until the next available on-campus intake for semester 1 (February) 2023

Scholarships for on-campus and offshore study

Bachelor’s scholarships

International students admitted to a full-time, full-year Bachelor’s degrees in 2022 or 2023 will receive a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for International Students valued at NZ$10,000.

This applies to:

  • Offshore students who are admitted to start an Online or Distance programme
  • Students who are able to join us on campus when the border restrictions allow

The scholarship will be credited to the student’s tuition fees account.

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for International Students

Postgraduate scholarships

International students admitted to an eligible Master’s or Postgraduate Diploma programme in 2022 or 2023 will be considered for a merit-based Otago International Excellence Scholarship, valued at NZ$10,000.

This applies to:

  • Offshore students who are admitted to start an eligible online or distance programme
  • Students who are able to join us on campus when border restrictions allow

The scholarship will be credited to the student’s tuition fees account.

Otago International Excellence Scholarship

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PhD and research thesis master's studies

Applications open

Applications for PhD and research thesis master’s studies are open throughout the year – there is no specific application period or deadline to apply.

Remote starts for PhD applicants currently offshore may be an option in some cases.


The University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship includes a NZ$27,000 stipend per annum plus a domestic tuition fees waiver for up to 36 months (excludes student services fee and insurance). Scholarship applications are being accepted and processed for remote-start students, but conditions apply.

University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship

Important information for offshore prospective research students

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English Language and Foundation Studies Certificate

Applications open

The University of Otago offers the Foundation Studies Certificate both online and on campus, as well as several English language programmes with online or on campus options.

Learn more about these pathway preparation programmes

Foundation Studies Certificate scholarships

International offshore applicants who are admitted to the Foundation Studies Certificate online in 2022, will receive an Otago International Pathway Scholarship. The scholarship will be credited to the student’s tuition fees account.

Otago International Pathway Scholarship

International applicants may also apply for the University of Otago Pathway │ Te Huarahi Scholarship.

University of Otago Pathway │ Te Huarahi Scholarship

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Student exchange

We are looking forward to welcoming students from our Exchange Partners back on campus in 2023.

Prospective exchange students seeking to come to Otago should contact their home university’s international office to learn how to be nominated for an exchange.

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Study abroad

The University of Otago is currently accepting Study Abroad applications for semester 2 2022, however please note that there is no accommodation guarantee for Study Abroad students in semester 2, 2022.

The deadline to apply is 30 April 2022 for semester 2 studies.

The Immigration New Zealand website provides information on the possibility to study for up to six months (for instance a Study Abroad programme) with a valid working holiday visa.

Immigration New Zealand working holiday visa information

For our partners with students seeking to study our English language and Study Abroad package, please contact our English Language Centre for more information:

We are looking forward to welcoming our regular cohorts of Study Abroad students back to campus in 2023. The Study Abroad student housing guarantee will be offered in 2023.

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Need help?

Meet us

Otago participates in selected online and in-person education fairs and events around New Zealand and the world to meet with students considering their future study options. At these events, you can talk with our international recruitment staff for personal guidance about study options, how to apply, scholarships, accommodation, and life at Otago.

Meet a representative from the University of Otago

Get in touch

No question is too big or too small for our friendly AskOtago team. For any questions about studying at Otago:

Complete our online form, or

Have an offer?

If you have an offer to study at Otago for 2022, visit our Prepare for Otago pages to ensure you are ready for Otago.

Prepare for Otago

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