Applying for a student visa

It is your responsibility to ensure you obtain and maintain a valid passport and student visa to enter Australia for study purposes.

Changes to the student visa framework

On 1 July 2016, Australia will change its student visa processes. These changes include the introduction of a Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF).

Under the SSVF:

  • all international students will now apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500), regardless of their course
  • all international students will be required to apply for their student visa online
  • a new immigration risk framework will be used to guide the evidence of English language and financial capacity that a student needs to provide with their visa application.

What will remain the same?

  • Student visa applicants will continue to be assessed against the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria.
  • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) could still request additional evidence from applicants at their discretion.
  • The University will still need to manage its immigration risk by GTE assessing high risk applicants and requiring education agents to vet applicants they recruit for the University
  • The Post Study Work Visa (PSWV) will not be affected by the new framework.
  • Under SSVF, evidentiary requirements will be based on the combined immigration risk of the student’s country of citizenship and their chosen education provider.
  • The SSVF only applies to student visa applications lodged from 1 July 2016 and will not affect the visas of existing student visa holders.
  • Family members of existing student visa holders (subclasses 570-576) will need to apply for a subclass 500 visa if they do not currently hold a student visa and want to join their family in Australia.

How to apply for a student visa

You can apply for a visa online using ImmiAccount.

Future students

If we make you a full-time study offer and you accept it, you will be issued with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form which you can then use to apply for a student visa through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website.

Changes to the student visa framework

On 1 July 2016, Australia will make a number of changes to its student visa processes. These changes include the introduction of a Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF). The SSVF is designed to make the process of applying for a student visa simpler to navigate for genuine students, deliver a more targeted approach to immigration integrity and reduce red tape. Read more on this on the DIBP website.

Under the SSVF:

  • all international students will now apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500), regardless of your chosen course of study
  • all student visa applications need to be submitted online
  • a new immigration risk framework will be used to guide the evidence of English language and financial capacity that you need to provide with your visa application.

Processing times

DIBP aim to finalise 75 per cent of complete student visa applications within one month of lodgement.
You are strongly encouraged to submit all required documents with your visa application to reduce visa processing time. Failure to do so might lead to processing delays or visa refusal.

Key requirements for the student visa (subclass 500)

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)

The GTE requirement applies to all student visa applicants and considers whether the individual circumstances of the student indicate that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia.

Financial capacity

All international students are required to have sufficient funds to cover their course fees and living costs in Australia. Under the SSVF, all student visa applicants must have sufficient funds available for the duration of their stay in Australia.

Students associated with higher immigration risk, based on their country and education provider immigration risk outcomes, will generally need to provide documentary evidence of financial capacity with their visa application.

Please note: DIBP uses an online client service tool that indicates the documentary evidence of financial capacity required. You need to attach these documents to your visa application prior to lodgement. Failure to do so might result visa refusal.

English language proficiency

Under the SSVF, students associated with the lowest immigration risk will generally have streamlined evidentiary requirements. This means students will generally not be required to provide evidence of English language capacity with their visa application, other than a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) which shows that they have met their education provider’s English language requirements. DIBP will however retain the discretion to seek this evidence where appropriate.

Health and character

International students are required to be of good character and will generally need to undertake a health examination as part of their student visa application. Students must also obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before a student visa can be granted.

Apply for a student visa

You can apply for your visa online.

Package courses

Genuine students will continue to be able to package two or more courses on the one student visa where there is progression from one course to another. Under the SSVF, education providers will not be required to formally nominate educational business partners and will be able to package with other educational providers with whom they have a commercial arrangement.

Extend your student visa

If you are already studying in Australia and would like to enrol in a new course after the completion of your studies, you should apply for a new student visa before your current visa expires. If your student visa contains the 8534 or 8535 ('No Further Stay') condition, you will not be able to renew your student visa in Australia unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If you are returning home temporarily and would like to renew your visa offshore (not in Australia), you must indicate this on your Offer Acceptance (new students) or CoE Application (continuing students) form to ensure your CoE is issued correctly.

Family members visas

From 1 July 2016, family members of existing student visa holders will need to apply for a Subclass 500 visa if they do not currently hold a student visa and want to join the student in Australia.

Family unit members must be declared on the initial student visa application, regardless of whether or not they intend to join the student in Australia at a later stage. Those not declared will not be eligible for a visa at a later stage. An exception applies to those who became a family member after the primary applicant (student) was granted a visa.

From 1 July 2016, there will be no restrictions on the duration of particular courses that the primary applicant (student) must study to be accompanied by family members, including subsequent dependants.

Generally, the same level of evidentiary requirements of financial capacity applied to the primary applicant (student) would apply to their family members, including subsequent dependants.

In all circumstances, our officers have discretion to ask for evidence of funds, if required.

Student visa conditions

Immigration issues student visas with a number of conditions. There are two categories for the student visa conditions for the primary visa holder, they are:

  • Mandatory conditions - attached to all primary student visas
  • Discretionary conditions - may be attached to a student visa.

The University is obliged to notify DIBP if you:

  • breach any visa condition
  • change your course
  • defer prior to commencement
  • temporarily suspend
  • take an official Leave of Absence (intermit or suspend)
  • discontinue your studies or make any changes affecting the duration of your study.

For information about visa requirements for students with families, visit our student with families section.

Please note: we can only provide general information regarding immigration matters.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

It is a condition of your student visa that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of your student visa. You must obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before a student visa can be granted and ensure your OSHC is valid throughout your studies in Australia.

We currently have an agreement with OSHC by Allianz Global Assistance, a private health fund, to provide health cover for our international students. If you purchase OSHC through La Trobe University we will advise DIBP on your behalf. Under this agreement, you pay an OSHC premium for the entire length of your visa with your first instalment of tuition fees. This means that you are covered from the day you arrive in Australia.

Permission to work

You cannot work before you commence your course in Australia. Once your course has started you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session, and unlimited hours when your course is not in session. International students holding a student visa can work during semester (including the entire advertised exam periods), or unlimited hours during official University vacations, once granted Permission to Work by the DIBP.

In some university courses the demands are heavy and students have little free time for employment. Part-time work and vacation work is not always available and you should not depend on this form of income to cover living expenses or tuition fees.

Course transfers

From 1 July 2016, a new condition requires all student (subclass 500) visa holders to maintain enrolment at the same level or a higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level for which they were granted a visa, unless they are undertaking a doctoral degree (AQF10) and transfer to a Master’s degree (AQF9).

Transferring to a lower AQF level course or transferring from an AQF level course to a non-AQF Award course would be in breach of the student visa condition and might result in the visa being cancelled. Students who want to change to a lower level course must apply for, and be granted, a new student visa before they change their course.

Renewing your student visa

If you need to renew your student visa before it expires, you need to apply for a CoE at La Trobe International Compliance. You can get information on how to renew your student visa by visiting our applying for a visa page or contacting La Trobe International's Compliance team at lticompliance@latrobe.edu.au

You can apply for your visa renewal online.

Note: the University can only provide general information regarding immigration matters.

La Trobe University cannot advise students or prospective students on migrations related issues such as applying for Permanent Residency and appealing to the Migration Review Tribunal.

For detailed immigration advice, visit the DIBP website, phone the DIBP inquiry line on 131 881 (call from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call) or contact a Registered Migration Agent.

Current students - visa renewal

General information

If you need to renew your student visa, you must submit an application for visa extension with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

You must begin the process at least two months before the expiry date of your current visa.

How to apply for a student visa

You can apply for a visa online.

See further information on processing times.

Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) requests submitted early will be held and processed three months before the student's visa expiry date for offshore students and one month before the student's visa expiry date for students in Australia.

Please note:

  • A new CoE will not be issued until the results of the current semester are released, so an accurate assessment of your program completion date can be made.
  • Sponsored students will need to obtain a new Financial Guarantee from their sponsor before a new CoE can be issued.
  • US Financial Aid students will need approval from US Financial Aid Officer before an update CoE will be created.

Applying for a CoE

Guide to applying for a further student visa in Australia

A student visa is a temporary visa that allows you to come to Australia for a specified period of time to study at an Australian educational institution.

Be aware of the expiry date of your student visa as you must either depart Australia before it expires, or lodge a new visa application.

If your visa expires you need to contact the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) immediately. If your visa has expired for more than 28 days an exclusion period may be imposed which means you cannot return to Australia for three years.

Section A - Preparing to apply for a new eCoE

Step 1 - apply for a new Agreed Progression Plan (APP)

Your new Agreed Progression Plan (APP) needs to be approved by your College and it will outline how and when you will complete your course and will include recommendations for how to improve your studies.

You need to correspond with your College directly to complete a new APP:

  • All students must book online to attend a group CoE and visa information session. An Agreed Progression Plan will be completed on the day. Please arrive on time and be prepared to stay for approximately two hours and bring with you your student ID card. It is a requirement of your student visa that you have full time enrolment, which is 60 credit points per semester. If you have approval to underload, you will need to provide evidence of that too.

Step 2 - Extend your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Your new student visa will be valid for the same period as your OSHC policy to ensure that you have health cover for the entire period (visa length) you are in Australia.

Coursework students

If your APP indicates that you will be completing your studies:

  • at the end of Semester 1 (your CoE will end on 30 June) you will need to extend your OSHC policy until 30 August of the same year. This is because DIBP will allow you to stay in Australia for an additional period of approximately two months after you have finished your studies in order to prepare for your departure.
  • at the end of Semester 2 (your CoE will end on 31 December) you will need to extend your OSHC policy until 15 March the following year. DIBP allows you to stay in Australia with enough time to enroll in additional studies the year you complete your current course.
Research students

If your Progress Report or Resumption of Candidature form indicates that you will be completing your studies:

  • between November-December (your CoE will reflect this) you will need to extend your OSHC policy for an extra 6 months. This is because DIBP will allow you to stay in Australia for approximately 6 months after you have finished your studies for  interactive marking of a thesis.
  • between January-October (your CoE will reflects this) you will need to extend your OSHC policy an extra 8 months. This is because DIBP will allow you to stay in Australia for extra six months (on top of the two months normally granted for a student visa) for interactive marking of a thesis.

Note: if you discontinue your course, or leave Australia earlier than the date your visa expires you may be able to claim a refund on your unused OSHC.

Step 3 - Apply for a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

Download and complete the relevant Application for Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form [DOC 320KB] and provide:

  • a copy of your passport
  • a copy of your current visa page or e-visa
  • a receipt showing that you have extended your OSHC
  • your Agreed Progression Plan (APP).

Please note:

  • it may take up to 7 working days for the CoE to be issued
  • a new CoE will not be issued until the results of the current Semester are officially released by the University, so an accurate assessment of your program can be completed
  • sponsored students will need to obtain a new Financial Guarantee Letter from their sponsor before a new CoE can be issued.

Section B - Preparing to lodge your visa application

Read carefully the Applying for a Student Visa Form

Step 1 - Download the relevant Visa Application Document Checklist

Step 2 - Check if you need to undergo a medical check

Medical health checks for student visas are valid for 12 months. Medical requirements are different for temporary and permanent visas and sometimes the applicant may be asked to undergo further testing.

If you have not yet made a health examination appointment, you will now need to contact BUPA Medical Visa Services to arrange an appointment.

If your appointment is after your visa expiry date, you will need to keep your receipt/booking/reference number and quote it when applying for your new student visa.

Section C - Lodging your visa application

You can apply for a student visa online.

Costs

You can find general information on visa application charges on  the DIBP website. You can use the Visa Pricing Estimator to calculate the costs for your application. You will need to answer the questions as accurately as possible to get a clear estimate of the charges.

Don't forget to read about your visa rights and responsibilities under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework.