Student Visa Program – (c) border.gov.au

Before you apply for this visa, you must have:

  • been accepted to study full-time in a registered course at an educational institution in Australia
  • organised appropriate welfare arrangements for the duration of your intended stay in Australia if you are under 18 years of age.Collapse all

Enrolment

With limited exceptions, you must be enrolled in a course of study that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

If you are applying from outside Australia, you must include a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for each intended course of study with your visa application. A letter of offer from your education provider will not be accepted.

You do not need to provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if you are:

  • sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – provide a letter of support
  • sponsored by the Australian Department of Defence – provide a letter of support
  • a secondary exchange student – provide an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form
  • a postgraduate research student required to remain in Australia for marking of your thesis – provide a letter from your education provider.

If you are in Australia, you can apply with a letter of offer or a CoE but you must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.

Packaged courses

You can apply to undertake two or more courses on your Student visa (subclass 500) where there is clear progression from one course to another. This is known as course packaging.

You will need to provide a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) or prove that a CoE is not required for each intended course with your visa application.

The final course that you will undertake as part of your package of courses is your main (or principal) course of study. Your main course of study will be used to determine your financial and English language evidentiary requirements.

Students under 18 years of age

If you are under 18 years of age, you need to have welfare arrangements in place while you are in Australia.

More information is available about Welfare arrangements for students under 18.

Genuine temporary entrant

The genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement is an integrity measure to ensure that the student visa programme is used as intended and not as a way for international students to maintain ongoing residency in Australia.

The GTE requirement applies to all student visa applicants. The officer assessing the visa will and consider whether the individual circumstances of the student indicates that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia.

You must satisfy us that you have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.

When assessing the GTE requirement, we will consider the requirements set out in direction number 69. To assess this, we will consider:

  • your circumstances
  • your immigration history
  • if you are under 18 years old, the intention of your parent, legal guardian or partner
  • any other relevant matter.

The GTE requirement provides a useful way to help identify those applicants who are using the student visa programme for motives other than gaining a quality education. The requirement is not designed to exclude students who, after studying in Australia, go on to develop the skills required by the Australian labour market and apply to become permanent residents.

English language requirements

You might need to provide evidence of your English language skills with your visa application. Check the Document Checklist Tool below to find out the evidence you need to provide. You might also be exempt from providing evidence.

If you do not provide evidence of your English language skills with your application or when asked by an officer, your visa could be refused.

If you do not need to provide evidence with your application, we can ask you for this during the application process.

If one of the following applies, you do not need to provide evidence of an English test score with your visa application:

  • you are enrolled in full-time school studies as a principal course including in a secondary exchange programme, a postgraduate research course, a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), and Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored students
  • you have completed at least five years’ study in one or more of the following countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
  • you are a citizen and hold a passport from UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Republic of Ireland
  • in the two years before applying for the student visa, you completed, in Australia and in the English language, either the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or a substantial component of a course leading to a qualification from the Australian Qualifications Framework at the Certificate IV or higher level, while you held a student visa.

Acceptable English language test score

If you need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, we will accept the following minimum English language test score:

English language test providers Minimum test score Minimum test score where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS Minimum test score where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS
International English Language Testing System 5.5 5 4.5
*Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based 527 500 450
TOEFL internet based test 46 35 32
Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English) 162 154 147
Pearson Test of English Academic 42 36 30
Occupational English Test Pass** N/A N/A

*The TOEFL paper based test will only be accepted from limited countries

**The Occupational English Test includes a mark between A and E. An A or B is considered a pass.

The test must have been taken no more than two years before you apply for your student visa.

Financial capacity requirements

You need to have enough money that is genuinely available to you, to pay for your course fees, and travel and living costs for you and your accompanying family members while you are in Australia.

You might need to provide evidence of your financial capacity with your visa application. Check the Document Checklist Tool below to find out if you need to provide evidence of financial capacity with your application.

If the Document Checklist Tool lists evidence of financial capacity as a requirement, it must be included at the time of lodgement or your visa application could be refused without requests for further information.

If you do not need to provide this evidence with your application, we have discretion to ask you for this during the application process.

 Documentary evidence of financial capacity

If you need to provide evidence of financial capacity, you will be able to demonstrate this by providing one of the following:

  • evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and (for school aged dependants) schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members
  • evidence that you meet the annual income requirement
  • an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES) form (secondary exchange students only)
  • a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence.

Subsequent entrants – family members who apply after the primary applicant has been granted their visa must also provide documentary evidence of financial capacity. This must be one of the options above.

Twelve months’ funds option

Evidence of funds can include money deposits, financial institution or government loans, scholarships or sponsorships. You can calculate the total amount of funds you will need by adding living costs, course fees, schooling costs and travel costs. Use the information below to calculate the total amount of funds you will need.

Living costs

From 1 July 2016, the 12 month living cost is:

  • student or guardian –  AUD 19,830
  • partner or spouse – AUD 6,940
  • child – AUD 2,970.
Course fees

Calculate the first 12 months of your course fees or include the total cost of your course if it is for a duration of 12 months or less. Deduct any prepaid costs and provide evidence of these payments (this should be on your Confirmation of Enrolment or provide receipts).

If you are in Australia and your course has already commenced, calculate the course fee payable for the 12 month period commencing from the date on which you lodge your application.

Example 1: if your course fee is AUD 50,000 for three years, determine the fee for one year (12 months) by dividing the total amount by the number of years. The amount will be AUD 16,666. Deduct any pre-paid amounts.

Example 2: if your course fee is AUD 15,000 for 10 months, and you have already paid AUD 5,000, deduct this prepaid amount from the total amount. The amount will be AUD 10,000.

Example 3: if your course fee is AUD 20,000 for 18 months, determine the fee for one year (12 months) by dividing the total amount by the number of months, then times by 12 (20,000 / 18 x 12). The amount will be $13,333. Deduct any pre-paid amounts.

Schooling costs

Where school aged children are included in your student visa application, schooling costs of at least AUD 8,000 per year for each child will need to be added to the amount of funds required. You are responsible for researching schooling costs, which vary between states, territories and schools in Australia.

You do not have to provide evidence of schooling costs if you are:

  • a PhD student and can show you have enrolled your child in an Australian government school where the fees have been waived
  • received an Australian Commonwealth Government scholarship, including Foreign Affairs and Defence sponsored students, and you can show you have enrolled your child in a government school where the fees have been waived.
Travel costs

If applying outside Australia, include AUD 2,000.

If applying in Australia, include AUD 1,000.

Annual income option

The annual income option requires a student to provide evidence of personal annual income of at least AUD 60,000. For students accompanied by family members, the requirement is at least AUD 70,000. The income demonstrated must be the personal income of your spouse (who is not coming with you) or parents. Where both of your parents are working, their combined income can be considered for this requirement. Evidence must be in the form of official government documents such as tax assessments. Evidence in the form of bank statements or information directly from an employer is not acceptable.

Genuine access to funds

You and your accompanying family members must be able to access the funds shown while you are in Australia.

When considering whether the funds will be genuinely available, we will take into account additional information and supporting evidence you provide, such as:

  • the nature of the relationship between you and the person who is providing the funds, where applicable
  • your income, assets and employment or those of the person providing the funds
  • evidence of financial support history
  • source of funds for any lump sum deposits.

Health insurance

You must have adequate health insurance while in Australia. Students can show this by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance.

You can select an approved OSHC provider and pay for the policy yourself. Some education providers might offer to arrange OSHC for you.

If your education provider arranges your OSHC coverage, you will need to know the name of your health insurance provider, the date that your policy starts and finishes and should be aware of the terms and conditions of your policy. If you arrange OSHC coverage yourself you will also need to know the policy number to include in the visa application.

You do not need OSHC if you are:

  • a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
  • Swedish student covered by Kammarkollegiet
  • a Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

Health

You must meet the health requirements.

You might need to undergo health examinations as part of the visa application process.

The health assessment process can take several weeks to complete. To help avoid delays, you can choose to undertake your health examination prior to lodging your visa application.

More information is available about My health declarations.

Character

Everyone who wants to enter Australia must be of good character and will be assessed against the character requirements. You must answer a number of character related questions on your visa application form and the information you provide will be used to assess your character. You might be asked for more information.

More information is available about Character and police certificate requirements.

Pre-qualifying visas

If you are applying in Australia, you must hold a current temporary substantive visa, but not any one of the following:

  • Domestic Worker (Temporary) Diplomatic and Consular visa (subclass 426)
  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) in the Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or consular) stream
  • Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) – primary visa holder only. This means a family member of a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) can apply for a Student visa in Australia.
  • Transit visa (subclass 771)
  • Visitor visa (subclass 600) in the Sponsored Family stream or in the Approved Destination Status stream.

A substantive temporary visa is any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa, which allows the visa holder to remain temporarily in Australia.

In limited circumstances, if your student visa has expired within the last 28 days, you might be able to apply for your new student visa in Australia. You must not have been previously granted a visa on the basis of an application made when you did not hold a substantive visa.

Family members applying to join you

You and your family members can make a combined application or they can apply to join you later provided you declared them in your student visa application or they became a family member after the grant of your student visa (such as a newborn baby).

You must have funds to support yourself and all accompanying family members already in Australia as well as those included in the current application.

More information is available about How to apply for family members to join you.

English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

Student visa applicants can apply to study in ELICOS in Australia. If you are intending to study standalone ELICOS for more than 12 months, you should provide lots of information with your application showing how you meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement. There is flexibility to extend the length of ELICOS where it is needed. This will be determined on a case by case basis.

School students

Students can apply for a student visa to study at primary or secondary school in Australia, regardless of their country of citizenship.

The maximum period for a Student visa in the school sector is five years with the exception of primary school aged students where a maximum of two years will apply.

The shorter grant period for primary school students will act as an important safeguard for younger and more vulnerable students.

In circumstances where a student packages primary and high school study, a visa can still be granted for up to five years, providing that the primary school component of the package does not exceed two years.

Students must be the right age for their school course. To be granted a visa for school studies, the student must be:

  • at least 6 years of age at time of application
  • younger than 17 years of age when starting year 9
  • younger than 18 years of age when starting year 10
  • younger than 19 years of age when starting year 11
  • younger than 20 years of age when starting year 12.

A child younger than six years of age can study for up to three months on a Visitor visa (subclass 600).

Documents

The Document Checklist Tool at the bottom of this page can help you to find out the documents you need to provide with your student visa application by entering your country of citizenship and your education provider.

If you have not yet decided on an education provider, you can choose the option ‘I have not decided on a provider yet’ on the tool and receive guidance about the documents you will need to provide with your visa application.

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In Australia, only people registered as migration agents can give immigration assistance to people who want to enter or stay in Australia.

It is a criminal offence for an unregistered person to provide immigration assistance or to advertise migration services. Penalties include fines and imprisonment.

If you choose to use the services of a migration agent make sure they are registered by visiting www.mara.com.au or phoning 1300 22 62 72.

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Unregistered people could:

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