Are you eligible to live and teach in New Zealand?

The length of time your application will take to process depends on a number of factors. The following criteria will have an impact on the time it takes to approve your application. Make sure you prepare your documentation carefully before you leave your home country to help speed up the process.


  • Do you have proof of identification?

    For teacher registration purposes, you’ll need a current passport and either a current New Zealand or overseas drivers licence, or a national police certificate issued in the last six months by the country you currently reside in. View the EC15 application form on the Education Council website for further details.

    Find out more  

    For visa purposes, you’ll need a current passport and police clearance from your country of citizenship and any country you’ve lived in for more than 1 year (either consecutively or cumulatively) in the last 10 years. Visit the Immigration New Zealand website for further details on police certificates.

    Find out more  

  • Do you have a criminal record?

    If yes, then your application for a visa and your teacher registration in New Zealand will take longer – or you may be excluded entirely from teaching in New Zealand.

  • Do you or your dependants have any health issues that may require medical attention?

    Depending on what health issues you (or your dependants) have, this could impact the processing time and outcome of your visa application.

  • Are your qualifications on NZQA’s pre-approved overseas teaching qualifications list?

    If your teaching qualifications are on the pre-approved overseas teaching qualifications list, and your other non-teaching qualifications meet the requirements for the pre-approved list then you won’t need to have them assessed by NZQA. This can greatly accelerate the application process. If you have qualifications that are not on the list, you’ll be required to do an NZQA International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) for each of them.

  • Is English your first language?

    If English is not your first language, you must have proof that your level of written and spoken English is high before you can teach in New Zealand.

    Both Immigration New Zealand and the Education Council accept the Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test result of level 7 or higher in each of the four components, for visa and teaching registration purposes.

    Visit the Immigration New Zealand and Education Council websites to find out more about English language requirements.

    Find out more at Immigration New Zealand  

    Find out more at Education Council  

  • Do you have a commitment to, and understanding of, the importance of Māori and Pacific languages, cultures and identities?

    To be an effective teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand, you must have a genuine professional and personal commitment to understand and embrace Māori and Pacific languages, cultures and identities.

    Teachers and families (whānau) know, and research tells us, that young people do best when their whānau are actively involved in their schools. So as a teacher, you’ll come into daily contact with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. That’s the beauty of teaching – it’s an opportunity to learn as well as teach, and to give something back to the community you live in. In doing so, you’ll demonstrate that educational success is real and achievable for everybody.