International students need a Student Visa (Subclass 500) to come and study in Australia. The visa application is submitted online, and only after the student is enrolled (and have paid their enrollment deposit) in a course of study in Australia.
Required Visa Documents
Students need to submit a series of supporting documents as part of their online student visa application. To find out which documents your student needs, check the Document Checklist tool.
In general, students need the following documents:
- Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
- Evidence of financial capacity to support them (and their family members if they are travelling with them)
- Overseas Student Health Cover (health insurance policy)
- Proof of required language proficiency level (language test scores)
- Partner/dependant documents (if applicable)
Students and/or their representatives can apply for the visa once the student is enrolled in a course of study in Australia. Students must also have an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before they apply.
Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
The electronic confirmation of enrolment (eCoE) is a letter issued by the university, institution, or VTE institution to confirm that the student has accepted their offer of admission and paid their enrolment deposit. The letter includes details such as the student’s course of study, study duration, and a unique COE number.
Students and/or their representatives cannot apply for the study visa until the student is enrolled in a course of study in Australia, and has received their eCoE.
Evidence of Financial Capacity
Students must demonstrate that they will have enough money to cover the cost and expenses of their travel and stay in Australia. This includes the cost of travel, a year of course fees, one year living costs, and any other institution fees. The costs are prorated if the student is coming for a program that is shorter than 12 months in duration.
If the student is coming with a spouse or a partner, they must also have enough money to cover their family’s expenses. Students can demonstrate this by providing copies of their bank statements, details of any loans they are taking on, and information about any scholarships they have been awarded.
In October 2019, the Australian government calculated the 12-months of living costs to be:
- Students or Guardians: AUD21,041
- Partner Coming with a Student: AUD7,362
- Child Coming with a Student: AUD3,152
The costs may change over time. We recommend consulting the Australian Government’s website for a Student Visa before applying.
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
OSHC is health insurance that covers the student’s medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital, emergency ambulance, and prescription medicine. The student must be covered from the day they arrive, and throughout their stay to keep their visa valid.
Students can purchase OSHC through any Australian-registered private health insurer, and need to do so before they can apply for their study visa. Most education providers will provide students with a list of one or more OSHC providers to help students shop and select their provider. Some of the registered OSHC providers are Medibank, BUPA Australia Health, Allianz, nib, and Australian Health Management.
If the student is traveling with family member(s), they must also have OSHC coverage to apply for the visa and keep it valid. The OSHC policy must be issued in the name of the student/family member, and the name(s) on the policy must match the name(s) on the passport(s).
If the visa application is denied, students can get a refund on their OSHC policy.
Proof of English Proficiency
The Australian Government requires students to have a certain level of English proficiency when they apply for a student visa. The student visa English language requirements can be different than those needed for admission into the desired course. Acceptable language test scores for the student visa can be reviewed on the website for Student Visa.
Students must provide documentation such as a birth certificate(s) and marriage certificate for their dependants and spouse respectively as part of their visa application.
Other Visa Requirements
Most student visas decisions are based on the information and documentation the student provides with their visa application. Students from some countries, or in special cases, may need to provide additional information through a health exam, biometrics or an interview.
Some students may be asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they’re in good health. If the student is asked to complete a health exam, they must see a doctor who has been approved by the Australian immigration department. A health exam is a requirement for students from most South Asian countries.
Some students might need to provide biometrics. Most applicants will be advised immediately after submitting an application if they need to provide biometrics. Applicants will receive a letter and will also be able to see this request on their online application account..
Students will have 14 days to provide biometrics so it is important to arrange an appointment quickly using the instructions in the request letter.
Most visa decisions are based on the information submitted with the visa application. In some cases, an interview might be required.
If the student is under 18, they must have a student guardian who is either travelling to Australia with them or already living in Australia. The legal guardian must be a parent, legal custodian or relative over 21 years of age. The guardian must have enough money to support themselves and the student, and be able to provide accommodations, welfare and other support that the student needs. If the guardian will be travelling to Australia with the student, they can apply for the Student Guardian Visa (Subclass 590) along with the student’s visa application.
Traveling with Family
Students can bring their family with them by including them in their study visa application. For student visas, a family member is the student’s partner and their dependent children.
The family members should be declared on the student visa application even if they do not plan to travel to Australia with the student, or they will not be able to get a visa in the future.
Length of Stay
The length of stay is based on the course the student intends to study. The study visa for tertiary education courses are typically issued for the full study duration, and up to a maximum of five years. Students will need to apply for a new study visa if they decide to enrol in another course after completing their current course.
The processing time for a complete study visa application varies by the education sector, and can range from 30 days to 3 months.
Typically, school sector applications take between 41-84 days to process; VET applications take 43-77 days; and, higher education applications generally take between 29-42 days. However, the average processing times can change over time due to volume and other regulatory changes. For the most up to date timelines, always review the Government of Australia's website for processing times.
The student will be notified about the visa decision in writing once their application is processed.
If the student is approved for the visa, the communication will include:
- the visa grant number,
- the date the visa expires,
- and, the visa conditions, which the student must meet throughout their stay in Australia.
Since the visa is not stamped on a passport in Australia, students must keep this decision letter with them throughout their stay, and travelling to or from Australia.
If the visa is rejected, the written communication will include why we refused and whether the student has the right to a review of the decision.
Some of the common reasons why a visa application might be rejected include:
- Failure to show that student has the financial capacity to support themselves (and family, if applicable) in Australia
- Failure to convince the visa officer that the main purpose of travel is to study
- Failure to convince the visa officer that the student will leave at the end of the study
- Insufficient English language proficiency
- Falsified or incomplete documents
- Failure to satisfy medical or character requirements
The reason for rejection will be included in the visa decision letter. Students can re-apply for a visa after strengthening their application based on the information they received from the Department of Immigration. In some cases, students can also request a review of the visa decision.