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.
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.
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
- work experience – 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.
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.
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
How long is the result of English tests valid for a student visa application?
Can the applicant use their Diploma or Cert IV level certificates in lieu of English test score for a student visa?
Yes, applicants may satisfy the English language requirement if they have fully completed or completed substantial components of a course at the Certificate IV or higher level in Australia within two years before applying for the visa.
What is the major difference between regular and streamline categories?
The mandatory document requirements for English and Financial Capacity differs for applicants in regular or streamlined category. Applicant can also check the mandatory documents using our Student visa checklist for offshore students.
Can a student visa be lodged using offer letter?
Only if the applicant is in Australia, s/he can apply for a student visa with a letter of offer; however, the applicant must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.
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 DHA, if required.
Who does not require Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for Student visa?
What is required for welfare arrangements for an applicant under 18 years of age?
Students under 18 must provide evidence that they have welfare arrangements in place when they apply for a student visa. They can do this by either nominating a guardian on the Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application or having a CAAW approved by the principal registered education provider.
What are the English language requirements for student visas?
You might need to provide evidence of your English language skills at the time you submit your visa application.
Note: We can ask you for evidence of your English language skill after you have submitted your application, at any time while we are processing your application, even though the Document Checklist tool shows that you don’t need to provide evidence of your English language skill when you submit your application.
If you need to provide evidence of your English language skill, you must provide evidence that you:
- have obtained a certain test score in an English language test that the Department has approved, or
- fall into an exemption category listed below
English language tests
The table below shows the English language test providers and the minimum overall band scores you must achieve to meet the Student visa English language requirement.
You must have taken the English language test in the 2 years before you apply for a student visa.
|English language test providers||Minimum score||Minimum score and at least 10 weeks English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)||Minimum score and at least 20 weeks ELICOS|
|International English Language Testing System (IELTS)||5.5||5||4.5|
|TOEFL internet-based test (only accepted if test is taken on or before 25 July 2023)*||46||35||32|
|Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English)||162||154||147|
|Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)||42||36||30|
|Occupational English Test||B for each test component||N/A||N/A|
*On 26 July 2023 the TOEFL internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) stopped offering English language tests for Australian visa purposes. A score for a TOEFL iBT test taken on or after 26 July 2023 will no longer satisfy the English langauge requirement for Student visa purposes. Only TOEFL iBT scores from a test taken on or before 25 July 2023 are accepted for Student visa purposes.
What are English language evidence exemptions for student visas?
You do not need to provide evidence of an English test score with your visa application if one of the following applies:
- you are a citizen and hold a passport from UK*, USA, Canada, NZ or Republic of Ireland
- you are an applicant who is a Foreign Affairs or, Defence sponsored student or a Secondary Exchange student (AASES)
- you are enrolled in a principal course of study that is a registered school course, a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), a course registered to be delivered in a language other than English, or a registered post-graduate research course
- you have completed at least 5 years’ study in English in one or more of the following countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
- in the 2 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.
Note: You may be required to provide evidence of an English test score with your visa application if you hold a British National Overseas (BNO) passport.
What is the amount of living and schooling costs required for student visa purposes?
the living cost amount of A$24,505 for a student and the accompanying family members (A$8,574 for an adult and A$3,670 for a child) for the first 12 months or pro rata amount.
What is the pre qualifying visa for student visas for 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.
What are the major visa conditions applicable to the main student visa holder?
meet your course requirements, remain enrolled and maintain satisfactory attendance and course progression – tell your provider if you are sick or have any other issues that may affect your attendance. stay within the visa limit on working hours while studying. Read more here.