Student visa (subclass 500)
The purpose of the Student visa is to allow international students to undertake full-time education and training in Australia. This visa enables a student to stay in Australia for the duration of the relevant course. The student must enrol, or in some cases have a letter of offer, with an Australian education provider before lodging a visa application.
How to choose the best course to study in Australia?
The minimum requirements for this visa are set out below:
The exact requirements for this visa will depend upon the level of risk assigned to your application (the ‘Immigration Risk’), which is a combined immigration risk assessment determined by the risk rating of the education provider and your passport nationality.
Coronavirus and Student visas
Will concessions be available for students who have been unable to return to Australia due to the travel ban and have undertaken online courses during this period to ensure the continuity of their academic progress during the travel ban?
The Department of Home Affairs plays no role in authorising the modes of study for international students and is guided by education sector regulators, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), on whether students can count online learning towards completion of their course.
As the visa applicant, you must:
- enrol with an Australian education provider as a full-time student, and obtain written confirmation of this enrolment (predominantly on-line courses are not eligible)
- genuinely intend to complete the relevant period of study in Australia
- have the required level of English language proficiency unless exempt
- have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the period of your intended stay in Australia
- have access to sufficient funds to cover your return airfares, tuition fees and the cost of living in Australia, as well as costs required for any dependents included in your application.
The exact amount of funds a student requires is set by Department of Home Affairs (DOHA), and is determined by your chosen education provider, your course of study and other personal circumstances. Please contact us for further details.
You must first be enrolled in a full-time course at an Australian education provider, and obtain written confirmation of your enrolment (CoE) from that provider. We will then prepare and lodge your visa application with the DOHA. The main criterion is that you meet the requirements referred to above, the exact nature of which will depend upon your passport nationality and the education provider requirements. You must also meet the relevant health and character requirements.
Once the DOHA has granted your visa, you may enter into (or remain in) Australia in order to undertake your course of study. Whilst studying, you must work no more than 40 hours per fortnight whilst your course is in session, and for your initial visa only commence work once your course has commenced. Different work provisions apply to higher education research Masters and Doctoral level courses please discuss with us if appropriate. You should also check the work allowance for any dependents on your application if appropriate.
PLEASE NOTE: We estimate that it may take several weeks to prepare and lodge your application, with the time taken largely dependent on how promptly you (and your sponsor, if applicable) provide us with the necessary supporting information and documents.
The time that it takes the DOHA to process your application is dependent upon its processing time service standards, and may also vary due to a number of other factors, including the complexity of your case, perceived risk factors and processing priorities. Please contact us for current information regarding likely processing timeframes for this type of application.
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|
|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||B for each test component||N/A||N/A|
The test must have been taken no more than two years before you apply for your student visa.
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. Use our student visa funds calculator to determine how much you need to show for your student visa.
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.
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 must 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.
As part of your student visa application the department will assess to see if you are genuinely going to stay in Australia temporarily (Genuine Temporary Entrant).
In order to prove this, we need evidence such as:
- statement of purpose
- evidence of your/your family economic circumstances in home country (this is very important, you can show your family’s financial situation in home country by bank accounts, whether they have a business, house, etc.)
- ties to your home country (evidence of financial and personal ties to your home country, such as evidence of assets in home country consistent with your family background, family or social ties that would provide sufficient inducement for them to return to home country at the end of your studies). Please provide a list of your family members and other social ties (friends, previous co-workers, etc.)
- evidence of past study (we have your accounting diploma)
- work experience (we do not have any work experience evidence) – Please provide evidence of employment for at least the previous
12 months, evidence of an offer of employment upon your return home, tax returns or financial statements
- letter from your employer or statement from the applicant attesting to a need by the applicant for (improved) skills for the purposes of their employment or career prospects
- evidence of a range of professional or academic outcomes supporting the need for a new career direction.
GTE requirement samples and FAQ for student visas:
COVID-19 and Student visas
All visa holders need to be aware of the current travel restrictions.
Extending student visas
Under Australian migration law, it is not possible to extend a student visa.
You need to apply for a new visa if:
- you cannot return to your home country and your visa is expiring
- you need more time in Australia to complete your course.
You should apply for a new Student visa six weeks before your existing Student visa expires. There is no need to provide evidence of impacts of COVID-19 with your Student visa application.
If your study in Australia is ending, you can apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600). You need to do this before your Student visa expires.
More information on the Visitor visa.
Working in Australia
Course is ‘out of session’
You can work unlimited hours if your course is considered ‘out of session’. Courses are considered ‘out of session’ during scheduled course breaks or if a student has finished their course as scheduled.
Studying a masters by research or a doctorate course
If you have commenced studying a masters by research or a doctorate course, you may work unlimited hours.
You cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when your course of study is ‘in session’, regardless of whether you are attending classes physically or online. A course is considered ‘in session’ for the duration of the advertised semesters (including periods when exams are being held) even if the student is studying online.
Approved deferral of your course
You can work over 40 hours per fortnight if your course has been deferred.
Exemptions for some international students
There are new provisions for student visa holders if they are:
- already enrolled in nursing
- employed by select supermarkets.
See employers included in these special work arrangements.
Australian study requirements
The Department of Home Affairs does not regulate mode of study requirements.
You should contact your education provider.
Please refer to the Joint TEQSA and ASQA statement relating to flexible delivery.
For the exceptions as a result of the travel restrictions, see the National Code requirements for affected tertiary students to undertake online study.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. How long is result of English tests valid for student visa application?
The results are valid for 2 Years and the test must have been taken no more than two years before the student visa application.
Q. Can the applicant use their Diploma or Cert IV level certificates in lieu of English test score for a student visa?
Yes, applicant can satisfy the English language requirement the applicant has fully completed or completed substantial component of a course at the Certificate IV or higher level in Australia within two years before applying for the visa.
Q. What is the major difference between regular and streamline categories?
The mandatory document requirements for English and Financials Capacity differs for applicants in regular or streamlined category. Applicant can also check the mandatory documents using our Student visa checklist for offshore students.
Q. Can student visa be lodged using offer letter?
Only if the applicant is in Australia, s/he can apply for student visa with a letter of offer; however, the applicant must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.
Q. How is the applicant assessed against the character requirements?
Visa applicant(s) must answer a number of character related questions on the visa application form and the information provided will be used to assess the character. Applicant(s) might be asked for more information by DIBP, if required.
Q. Who does not require Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for Student visa?
The applicant does not require OSHC if s/he is:
a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
a Swedish student(s) covered by the National Board of Student Aid or by Kammarkollegiet
a Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
Q. What is requirement for welfare arrangements for an applicant under 18 year old?
To be granted a student visa, the applicant must demonstrate that s/he has adequate welfare arrangements in place for the length of the student visa or until they turn 18 years of age. They can do this by demonstrating that they will be accompanied by a parent or legal custodian, a suitable relative or that the student’s education provider approves the arrangements for the student’s accommodation, support and general welfare.
Q. What is satisfactory test score to meet the English language requirement?
The student applicant needs to provide evidence of English language proficiency and DIBP accepts the following minimum English language test scores:
|English Language Test Providers||Minimum Test Score (MTS)||MTS where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS||MTS where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS|
|nternational English Language Testing System||
|*Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based||
|TOEFL internet based test||
|Cambridge English: Advanced(Certificate in Advanced English)||
|Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)||
|Occupational English Test||
*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.
Q. Are there any exemptions for the English language requirement?
If one of the following applies, the applicant does not need to provide evidence of an English test score with the visa application:
- If the applicant is 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
- If the applicant has 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
- If the applicant is a citizen and holds a passport from UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland
Q. What is the amount of living and schooling cost required for student visa purpose?
For student visa purpose, the living costs for main student or guardian is AUD 19,830,for partner or spouse is AUD 6,940 and for each child is AUD 2,970. Where school aged children are included in the Student visa application, schooling costs of at least AUD 8,000 per year for each child needs to be added to the amount of fund required.
Q. What is the pre qualifying visa for student visa for the applicants in Australia?
If applicant is applying student visa in Australia, applicant 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.
Q. What are the major visa conditions applicable to the main student visa holder?
The following are the major visa conditions applicable to the main visa holder.
- 8105 – Work LimitationS/he cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when the course is in session (other than work which has been registered as a part of the course). A fortnight means any period of 14 days commencing on a Monday and ending at the end of the second following Sunday.
S/he can work for more than 40 hours per fortnight during recognised vacation periods offered by the education provider.
S/he cannot start paid work until s/he has started the course in Australia.
No work limits apply if s/he is studying a Masters by research or Doctorate course in Australia.
- 8202 – Meet course requirementsS/he must remain enrolled in a registered course (unless applicant is a Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored student or secondary exchange student in which case s/he must maintain full-time enrolment in the course of study or training).
Note: A registered course is one that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
S/he must maintain enrolment in a registered course that is the same level as, or at a higher level than, the registered course for which s/he was granted a visa. S/he must maintain satisfactory attendance in the course and course progress for each study period as required by the education provider.
- 8501 – Maintain health insuranceS/he must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance during the stay in Australia.
Note: Under policy, you must maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
- 8516 – Must maintain eligibilityS/he must continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of the student visa. For example, s/he should continue to have sufficient financial capacity to support the study and stay in Australia.
- 8517 – Maintain education for dependentsS/he must maintain adequate schooling arrangements for the school-age dependents who joined in Australia for more than 3 months as part of student visa application.
- 8532 – 18 approve welfareIf s/he is younger than 18 years of age, s/he must have accommodation and support, and general welfare must be maintained for the duration of stay in Australia.
- 8533 – Inform provider of addressS/he must inform the education provider:
- the address where s/he lives in Australia within seven days of arriving in Australia
- if s/he changes the address, where s/he lives within seven days of the change
- if s/he changes education provider, within seven days of receiving the electronic confirmation of enrolment certificate or evidence of enrolment.