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Student Visa (subclass 500)

What is Australian student visa?

A student visa in Australia will enable you to study in a CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students) registered course on a full-time basis in a registered institution. As student visa holder, you and your dependent family members have permission to work in Australia. However, work conditions will be applied to your student visa.

What are the requirements for an Australian student visa?

To be eligible to apply for the student visa you must meet the following key requirements:

  • Be at least 6 years old

  • Have an Australian institution accepted you to study

  • Hold a health cover

Which documents are required to apply for a Student visa?

The Student visa document’s checklist is specific to each applicant and depends on the country of passport and education provider.

These checklists are updated twice a year and so must ensure that the most updated list is being used.

Further eligibility criteria to apply for a student visa

You must be accepted to a full-time study at an educational institution in Australia.

In case you are younger than 18 years old, there must be appropriate welfare arrangement for the duration of your stay as a student in Australia.

1. Enrolment Requirement 

You must enrol in the course of study that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students (CRICOS). There are limited options for exceptions.

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).

You must make sure all the CoE codes are mentioned on the application form for the courses to be included in your application.

You won’t need to add a CoE to your application in the following situations:

  • If you are sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – you must provide a letter of support

  • If you are sponsored by the Australian Department of Defence – you must provide a letter of support

  • If you are a secondary exchange student – you must provide an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form

  • If you are a postgraduate research student required to remain in Australia for marking of your thesis – you must provide a letter from your education provider

If you are applying for a student visa from Australia, you can apply with one or more Letters of Offer, but for your visa to be granted you must provide the CoE.

2. Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) Requirement

You must proof you hold a genuine intention to study temporarily. This requirement is an integrity measure to ensure you won’t maintain ongoing residency in Australia.  A personal statement in English addressing this requirement must be attached to the application. 


As part of the GTE, some of the following criteria will be checked - your country of residence circumstances, your potential circumstances in Australia, the course’s value to your future, your immigration history, etc.

The GTE requirement applies to all student visa applicants.

3. English Language Requirements

Some of the student visa application streams need to be supported by English language skills. In case you are required to provide English exam evidence but don’t do it, this can cause your application to be refused

The test must have been taken not more than two years before you apply.

This table provides the minimum score you must obtain for a Student visa application:

English requirements for student visa 500

4. Financial capacity Requirement


For some of the student visa streams, you are required to attach evidence of financial capability to support your application. You must show your ability to access funds to pay for your course fees, travel and living costs for yourself and each of your accompanying family members while you are in Australia.

If demonstrating the financial capacity is required by your visa type, the financial evidence must be attached to the visa application form or your application could be refused.

Please be aware that student application streams who don’t have the financial capacity requirements, can still be asked to provide it by Department of Home Affairs during the application process.

If you are a secondary exchange student stream, you should provide a completed Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form as evidence of meeting the financial capacity requirement.

If you are sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence you should provide a letter of support as your financial evidence. The letter won’t cover accompanying family members, and you will have to provide evidence of financial capacity for them.

What can be counted as evidence of financial capacity?

Evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and schooling costs (for school-aged dependants) for you and your accompanying family members

  • Evidence that you meet the annual income requirement – either using personal / your parent / your de facto / spouse funds

  • 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.


Student visa subsequent entrant - financial capacity requirements

A family member who applies after the primary applicant has been granted their visa must also provide documentary evidence for financial capacity. This must be one of the options mentioned above.

5. Health Requirement and Health cover

As part of the health requirements, you might need to take a medical examination. You must hold an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance in Australia while being in Australia.

6. Character Requirement

Every applicant for any visa to Australia will be assessed against the character requirement and must demonstrate good character. You must answer all the questions on the application form regarding your character as accurate as possible and declare any pending or previous character issues.

7. Pre-Qualifying visas

To be eligible for applying to a student visa from Australia, you must hold a temporary substantive visa (which is any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa, which allows the holder to remain temporarily in Australia) and should not hold the following visas:

  • Domestic Worker (Temporary) Diplomatic and Consular visa (subclass 426)

  • Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403) in the Domestic Worker (Diplomatic or consular) stream

  • Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) - primary visa holder only. This means a family member of a Diplomatic (Temporary) visa (subclass 995) can apply for a Student visa in Australia.

  • Transit visa (subclass 771)

  • Visitor visa (subclass 600) in the Sponsored Family stream or in the Approved Destination Status stream.

In limited circumstances, if your student visa has expired within the last 28 days, you might be able to apply for your new student visa in Australia.

Please be aware that you can use this benefit once only!

8. Adding family members to join your student visa

Your family members can join you when applying for your student visa application (combined application) or apply to join you later once you already hold the student visa provided you declared about 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.

9. English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

You can apply to study in ELICOS Australia. If you intend to study standalone ELICOS for more than 12 months, you should provide lots of information with your application showing how you meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement.

There is flexibility to extend the length of ELICOS where it is needed. This will be determined on a case by case basis.

What is the processing time for the various student visa streams?

  • Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector 25 days to 48 days

  • Postgraduate Research Sector 49 days to 74 days

  • Non-Award Sector 6 days to 22 days

  • School Sector 43 days to 77 days

  • Independent ELICOS Sector 37 days to 68 days

  • Vocational Education and Training Sector 61 days to 82 days

  • High School Sector 25 days to 46 days

Changes to Student Visa 500


We keep up to date with the latest changes to the Student Visa and publish them on our Blog.

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