Applying for a student visa

It is your responsibility to ensure a valid passport and student visa are maintained for the duration of your stay in Australia. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) uses an online tool to apply for student visa. All international students will need to apply for a student visa (subclass 500)  and enrol in a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registered course. DHA will assess your student visa application against a range of criteria which is specified on their document tool checklist

You are strongly encouraged to submit all required documentation with your student visa application to reduce the visa processing time. Failure to do so might lead to processing delays or visa refusal. We recommend applying for your student visa 3 months before travelling time or your current student visa expires.

Future students

Eligibility for the student visa (Subclass 500)

Who could get this visa?

Before you apply for this visa, you must have:

  • been accepted to study full-time at an educational institution in Australia
  • organised appropriate welfare arrangements for the duration of your intended stay in Australia if you are under 18 years of age.
  • A passport that has been valid for at least six months before applying for a student visa. Contact DHA when you change your passport details [external link] as your visa is associated with your passport

Please note: other documentation may be requested when you are an under 18 [external link] student, bringing your family and package course.

A student visa (subclass 500) is a temporary visa that allows you to come to Australia for a specified period to study at an Australian educational institution. You will need to apply for a course and accept the full offer then you will be issued with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) which you can then use to apply for student visa (subclass 500) online via the Department of Home Affairs website. Make sure to have all the relevant documents before applying Student Visa (subclass 500) [external link].

For more information about your course and CoE contact La Trobe International.

Enrolment

You must be enrolled in a course of study that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

If you are applying from outside Australia, you must include a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for each intended course of study with your visa application. A letter of offer from your education provider will not be accepted.

If you are applying for more than one course in your student visa application, you must include all Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) codes in the application form or the visa may only be granted for the CoE provided.

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)

GTE 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. You must satisfy DHA that you have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.

Financial Capacity

This means 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. 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. Ensure you check the Document Checklist tool [external link] to find out the evidence you may need to provide.

Evidence of financial capacity

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

View further information [external link]

English Language Requirements

DHA may require you to provide evidence of English with your student visa application. The DHA accepts a minimum English Language test score and the document checklist will indicate if you are required to provide evidence of English.

Health Requirements

This might be a requirement as part of the student visa application process.

The health assessment process can take several weeks to complete. To help avoid delays, you can choose to undertake your health examination before lodging your visa application.

More information is available about My health declarations.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

OSHC must be obtained before a student visa can be granted and you will need OSHC coverage for the duration of your visa. Meaning, your policy needs to be covered from the day you arrive in Australia until the day you depart Australia.

Some Belgian, Norwegian and Swedish students are exempted from OSHC, please refer to DHA to determine if you are exempted.

La Trobe University has an agreement with Medibank. If you purchase OSHC through La Trobe University we will advise 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.

Character requirements

Everyone who wants to enter Australia must be of good character and will be assessed against the character requirement. You might be asked for more information.

Package courses

Genuine students 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 Please ensure you read this information carefully.

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.

Family members visas

You and your family members can make a combined application, or they can apply to join you later provided you declared them in your student visa application or they became a family member after the grant of your student visa (such as a newborn baby).

You must have funds to support yourself and all accompanying family members already in Australia as well as those included in the current application.

More information is available about How to apply for family members to join you.

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

Student visa conditions

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) issues student visas with a number of conditions [external link]. 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 Department of Home Affairs if you:

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

Permission to Work

When you have commenced your course in Australia 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. Please read further details about your work conditions.

If you are a postgraduate research student:

  • you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake
  • if you have commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.

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 Department of Home Affairs website, phone the Department of Home Affairs 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

If you need to renew your student visa, you must submit an application for visa extension with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Make sure to have all the relevant documents before applying Student Visa (subclass 500). You must begin the process at least three months before the expiry date of your current visa.

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 Home Affairs 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.

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.

Current students - Applying for a CoE

Section A

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

Coursework students - 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.

Research students – please provide your most recent progress review report

You need to contact your College directly to request an APP.

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

You will need to extend your OSHC because your course duration has changed. 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 the Department of Home Affairs will allow you to stay in Australia for an additional period of approximately two months after you have finished your studies 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. This is because the Department of Home Affairs will allow you to stay in Australia for an additional period after you have finished your studies to prepare for your departure or apply for further studies.
Research students

If your Progress Review Report indicates, you will be completing your studies:

  • between November-December (your CoE will reflect this course end date) you will need to extend your OSHC policy for an extra 6 months. This is because Department of Home Affairs 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 course end date) you will need to extend your OSHC policy an extra 8 months. This is because Department of Home Affairs 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 Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

Complete the online Application for Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form 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
  • Coursework student - your Agreed Progression Plan (APP) / Research student - progress review report

If you need further information about the CoE process, please contact La Trobe International.

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.
  • US Financial Aid students will need approval from the US Financial Aid Officer before an update CoE will be created.

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 apply for a student visa online

Costs associated with your student visa application

You can find general information on visa application charges on the Department of Home Affairs 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.

Once you applied, a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is assigned and you will need this to track and manage your application. Alternatively, the visa application processing times is available on the DHA website

If you have queries, contact the La Trobe International office for further assistance.