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Student Visa Information

Before you make a decision to study in Australia, it is really important that you visit the Department of Home Affairs website at  about information on student visa requirements and studying in Australia.

The introduction of SSVF as of 1st of July 2016 is a change in the way the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) assesses your eligibility for a student visa. A number of changes have been made to the student visa framework. 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 chosen course of study
  • 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.

Key changes

Key changes under the SSVF are:

  • a reduction in the number of student visa sub-classes from eight to two; and
  • the introduction of a simplified single immigration risk framework for all international students.

Reason for change

The changes are designed to make the student visa framework simpler to navigate for genuine students, deliver a more targeted approach to immigration integrity and create a level playing field for all education providers.


Student Visa (Subclass 500)

If you wish to undertake studies in Australia, you will need to apply for the student Visa (Subclass 500).  You can apply for the following types of visa:

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

  • school – primary or secondary
  • secondary school exchange program
  • vocational Education and Training (VET) courses –a registered VET course or a registered course for the award of an advanced diploma
  • higher education courses –a bachelor or associate degree, a graduate certificate or graduate diploma, a master’s degree by coursework or a higher education diploma or advanced diploma
  • postgraduate Research degrees –a master’s degree by research or a doctoral degree
  • non-award courses – non-award foundation studies courses or components of a course that do not lead to an award
  • students sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Trade or the Department of Defence.
  • You may be able to package your courses if you would like to study more than one course. This is known as course packaging.


What does this visa let you do?

  • You can study a registered full-time course in Australia.
  • Eligible family members can accompany you to Australia.
  • You and your family members can generally work a specified number of hours.
  • You can generally stay in Australia until your course is finished.


How long does this visa last?

This visa allows you to stay in Australia for the duration of your course.

Course Duration Duration of visa

Longer than 10 months and finishing at the end of the Australian academic year (November – December)

Your visa will usually be granted to March 15 of the following year.
Longer than 10 months (finishing January – October) Your visa will usually be granted for two months longer than the duration of your course.
10 months or less Your visa will usually be granted for one month longer than the duration of your course.

Before you apply for the 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.



With limited exceptions, 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.

You do not need to provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if you are:

  • sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – provide a letter of support
  • sponsored by the Australian Department of Defence – provide a letter of support
  • a secondary exchange student – provide an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form
  • a postgraduate research student required to remain in Australia for marking of your thesis – provide a letter from your education provider.

If you are in Australia, you can apply with a letter of offer or a CoE but you must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.

Packaged Course

You 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.

You will need to provide a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) or prove that a CoE is not required for each intended course with your visa application.

The final course that you will undertake as part of your package of courses is your main (or principal) course of study. Your main course of study will be used to determine your financial and English language evidentiary requirements.

Genuine Temporary Entrant

The genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement is an integrity measure to ensure that the student visa programme is used as intended and not as a way for international students to maintain ongoing residency in Australia.

The GTE requirement applies to all student visa applicants. The officer assessing the visa will and consider whether the individual circumstances of the student indicates that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia.

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

When assessing the GTE requirement, DIBP will consider the requirements set out in Ministerial Direction 69. To assess this, DIBP will consider:

  • your circumstances
  • your immigration history
  • if you are under 18 years old, the intention of your parent, legal guardian or partner
  • any other relevant matter.

The GTE requirement provides a useful way to help identify those applicants who are using the student visa program for motives other than gaining a quality education. The requirement is not designed to exclude students who, after studying in Australia, go on to develop the skills required by the Australian labour market and apply to become permanent residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What visa should I apply for?

Before lodging your application, you are strongly encouraged to visit the website of the Department of Home Affairs for more information about your visa options and the visa requirements if you wish to study in Australia. The following link can also help you find the best visa to apply for.

What will happen to Current Students?

  • If you are a current student, your visa will remain valid and your visa conditions will not change after 1st of July 2016.
  • After 1st of July 2016, family members of Student visa holders (subclasses 570-576) will need to apply for a subclass 500 visa if they wish to join a family member in Australia.
  • From 1 July 2016: International students will apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500), regardless of their chosen course of study
  • Student guardians will apply for the new Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)

Which students will be required to provide evidence of financial and English language under the SSVF?

The level of documentary evidence required in relation to financial and English language capacity will be guided by the combined immigration risk of the prospective student’s education provider and country of citizenship. Generally, students enrolled at an education provider with the lowest immigration risk outcomes will have lower evidentiary requirements, regardless of their nationality. Students enrolled at an education provider with the highest immigration risk outcomes will have access to reduced evidentiary requirements if they are from a country with the lowest immigration risk.

How will I know what documentation to provide with my visa application under the SSVF?

It is intended that students will be able to identify what documents they will be required to provide with their visa application by entering in their intended education provider and country of citizenship into an online tool. The Department will however retain the discretion to request additional documentation if required.

Will I be able to determine the immigration risk associated with my country of citizenship and education provider?

Through the online tool you will be able to determine the level of financial capacity and English language proficiency documentation that you will likely need to provide with your student visa application. This will be determined based on your country of citizenship and intended education provider.

Where do I go for more information?

Visit the Department of Home Affairs website at for more information on studying in Australia.