The first cohort of international students are preparing to return to New Zealand under a new border exception announced by the government last month.
Universities New Zealand, which represents the country's eight universities, said 194 eligible students have been contacted and will now start their visa process.
It said the students are from China, the UK, the US, India, Vietnam, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, Italy and France and it will take up to another four weeks to know whether the students are all able to come.
The government has allowed 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to return to their study in New Zealand.
They need to have a visa, be enrolled to study at a university in 2020. Their research needs to involve a practical component such as medicine, veterinary, engineering, laboratory sciences and they would not be able to progress or complete their study unless they were in New Zealand.
Universities New Zealand said the actual number is less than the original quota because the criteria for selection are very strict.