Australian Student Visas

Anyone enrolling as an international student on a course lasting four months or more in Australia will need a student visa. Here are the key things to know.

Please note that in order to apply for a student visa for Australia, you must have an unconditional offer of place at a university, have accepted that place in writing and paid the required tuition fee deposit. It is therefore one of the last parts of the process to organise.

What type of visa do I need?

For all programmes of study you will be applying for a subclass 500 student visa. This visa must be applied for using the online system at www.border.gov.au

When should I apply?

You can only make an application for an Australian student visa after you have received a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your chosen university. In order to get a CoE, you must have been given a formal offer by the university, have accepted it in writing and paid the required deposit toward your tuition fees.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit on applying for a student visa for Australia.

Can I still get a student visa if I’ve already had a working holiday visa for Australia?

Yes, your working holiday visa status has no impact on a student visa application – the two types of visa are completely separate.

How much does it cost?

The visa application fee is currently AU$550, which needs to be paid when you submit your application. Please note that visa application charges are reviewed annually on July 1. If you have dependents joining you on your visa there will be additional fees payable when you make your application.

How long does the visa last?

Your student visa will last for the duration of your study programme (including holiday periods) and will allow you some time to remain in Australia at the end of your course. This time can range from one to three months, depending on the length of your course and the month in which it ends. If you are studying a course that is longer than ten months and which ends in November or December, for example, your student visa would usually end on March 15 of the following year.

How long does the visa take to get?

Visa processing times vary but you should allow up to four weeks. Where possible we recommend applying for your visa as soon as you have received your CoE.

When can I travel to Australia?

You can arrive in Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts.

Can I work while on this visa?

On a student visa you will be able to work up to 40 hours a fortnight during term and full time in the holidays. The visa will automatically be issued with ‘permission to work’ although you are not allowed to begin working until your course has started. Work that is a formal, registered part of your course is not included in the limit. If you do unpaid or voluntary work you must still apply for permission to work, and this type of work is included within the 40 hour limit.

Can I take my partner with me on my student visa?

Yes, it is possible for your partner to accompany you to Australia as a dependent on your student visa. You will need to prove you have been in a genuine and exclusive relationship with them for at least 12 months. This usually requires you to have been living together for at least 12 months.

Do I need to provide any health documents or checks?

Currently citizens of the UK or Ireland are not required to have a health assessment except in certain circumstances – for example if you are going to Australia to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse, or if you are likely to work or train in an Australian childcare centre during your course. You may also be required to do a health assessment if you have spent more than three consecutive months in another country in the last five years.

Can I apply for another visa when my course ends?

In some circumstances it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course. Please visit the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship at www.border.gov.au to find out what your options are. Under current visa rules if you have studied for two years towards a university bachelors, masters or research degree you will be entitled to apply for a Post Study Work Visa. This visa will allow you to remain in Australia for two to four years (dependent on level of study). 

How do I apply?

Online at www.border.gov.au

Your obligations

  • You must remain enrolled in a course registered on CRICOS (cricos.deewr.gov.au).
  • You must maintain satisfactory attendance on your course, as required by your education provider.
  • You must make satisfactory academic progress for each study period.
  • You must advise your education provider of your home address within seven days of arriving in Australia. If you change address during your stay, you must tell your education provider within seven days.
  • You must maintain suitable health insurance throughout your time in Australia. This can be done by obtaining OSHC. 

What will I need to apply?

Your nationality (according to your passport) and your chosen Australian university will determine what documents you need to show for your visa application. Please use the document checklist tool at www.border.gov.au to check this before making your application. You will also need your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), the application fee, your passport number, and evidence you have paid for appropriate Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) insurance.

All information is correct at July 2016 but is subject to change. Please check the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website (www.border.gov.au) for the most up-to-date information before applying for your visa.