Apply for a visa

You are responsible for ensuring you obtain and maintain a valid passport and student visa to enter Australia for study purposes.

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 Home Affairs 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. See the Department of Home Affairs website for more information.

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

The Department of Home Affairs 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: The Department of Home Affairs 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. The Department of Home Affairs 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 dependents.

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

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 The Department of Home Affairs if you:

  • breach any visa condition
  • change your course
  • defer prior to commencement
  • temporarily suspend
  • take an official Leave of Absence (intermittent 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 The Department of Home Affairs 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 Department of Home Affairs.

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.