Frequently asked visa questions (FAQs)

The Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs has provided answers and important links related to your most frequently asked student visa questions. ​You can also find updates at www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19

Student visas

Are visas currently being processed? 

We continue to process Student visas. 

If your application contains all the required information, including a current active Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and health and police checks, it can be processed faster.

We cannot grant your visa without an active CoE. If you have changed your CoE since you applied, you need to attach your new CoE to your application via ImmiAccount

Log into your ImmiAccount to make sure you (and any dependants included in your application) have provided online all the documents that are relevant to your circumstances.

To check the requirements, visit: Document Checklist Tool (homeaffairs.gov.au)

For information on how to upload documents, visit: Applying online in ImmiAccount (homeaffairs.gov.au)

Am I eligible for a refund of my Student Visa Application Charge?

Any Student visa holder (including dependents) who is currently offshore and comes to Australia, will be eligible for a refund of their Visa Application Charge.

  • This refund period commences on 19 January 2022 and closes on 19 March 2022.
  • Dependent visa applicants will also have their visa application charges refunded if they travel to Australia during this period.
  • The current Visa Application Charge for a student is AUD$630.

These changes will also apply to new applications.

Eligible travellers will be able to apply for a refund of their visa application charge until 31 December 2022.

Students must be fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognised vaccine or have an approved travel exemption to enter Australia.

For more information, visit the Department of Home Affairs website at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500/temporary-relaxation-of-working-hours-for-student-visa-holders

Are there currently any restrictions on the number of hours student visa holders can work in a fortnight?
Student visa holders can also temporarily work over their normal limit of 40 hours per fortnight during term time across all sectors of the economy. Students are able to work immediately upon arrival in Australia, and do not need to wait until their course commences. Further information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500/temporary-relaxation-of-working-hours-for-student-visa-holders.

What other changes have been made to the Student Visa (subclass 500 series)?

In addition to the new student visa application fee rebate, the Australian Government has also announced further, temporary relaxation of work restrictions for international students. This means there is currently no restriction on the number of hours that you can work while studying in Australia. If you who have already arrived in Australia, you can start working even before the start of your course. The new policy has now been implemented and will be reviewed in April 2022. Please visit the Study Australia Employability Hub for student and graduate work information.

You must still meet satisfactory course progress requirements, including class attendance and assessments. If an education provider has approved a course deferral for a student or has delivered learning via online, rather than face to face, a student visa holder will not be in breach of condition 8202 (meet course requirements).

We will waive the visa application fee to allow you to submit a further student visa application if you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and couldn't complete your course within the original visa validity because of the impacts of COVID-19. This includes if you:

  • have deferred your study as you were unable to enter Australia because of travel restrictions
  • were forced to reduce to a part-time study load
  • were unable to complete your work-based training or placements.

You must apply for a Student visa to have your application for a fee waiver considered and attach a completed Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Student (PDF 228 KB) from your education provider. If you are applying for a fee waiver in Australia, a Bridging visa will not be issued automatically as the fee exemption must be checked first. This waiver only applies to the visa application charge. Refunds will not be available for students who have already applied for a Student visa.

Only new applications will be eligible to have the application fee waived. This measure is not intended for students who are applying for a new student visa because of ordinary reasons (including if you have failed a course or a unit of study, deferred for personal reasons or voluntarily reduced your study load.)

Students will have extra time to provide English language test results if they are unable to take a test because of COVID-19. Extra time will also be given for biometrics collection and health checks where COVID-19 has disrupted access to services. Where you have made an appointment for one or more of these services more than 28 days into the future, you may attach your booking confirmation in ImmiAccount. Please respond to requests for information to inform the Department, via ImmiAccount, that you need additional time should you require it.

How long, before the potential commencement date, can I lodge a visa application?

There is no limit to when you can submit your student visa application. It is recommended that you lodge a complete application at least six weeks before your course commences. 

My Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) has changed since I lodged my application. Do I need to let the Department of Home Affairs know?

Education providers can issue a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and enrol students to study online. If you hold a valid student visa, your education provider will provide the Department of Home Affairs with your new CoE. 

If you have an open student visa application, you can attach your new CoE to your application through ImmiAccount

What is the latest with onshore student visa cancellations?

With travel restrictions now easing, the Australian Government has recommenced reviews of student visas where the student visa holder no longer has a valid course enrolment.

Please note that the Australian Department of Home Affairs is taking into consideration circumstances where COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted studies.

For instance, where an education provider has approved a course deferral for a student or has delivered learning via online mode rather than face to face, a student visa holder will not be in breach of condition 8202 (i.e. ‘meet course requirements’).

What will happen to my visa if I don’t continue my study?

You can apply for another type of visa which is more aligned to your intentions.

This should occur as soon as possible, as a visa cancellation decision may impact your future Australian immigration options. Students can explore their visa options on the Department of Home Affair’s website.

 

If I intend to complete my qualification or keep studying, what do I need to do right now?

You must re-enrol in a course at the same AQF immediately.

Condition 8202 requires students to maintain enrolment in a course at the same level or higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level for which they obtained the visa. This rule does not apply to students undertaking a doctoral degree (AQF10) or transferring to a master’s degree (AQF9).

If you want to change to a lower level course or non-award course, you must apply for, and be granted, a new student visa before you change your course. More information is available about changing courses here.

What if I don’t want to continue studying for the time being but would like to stay in Australia?

If you do not intend to study, you can apply for another type of visa which is more aligned to your intentions.

This should occur as soon as possible, as a visa cancellation decision may impact your future Australian immigration options. Students can explore their visa options on the Department of Home Affair’s website.

What if I do not intend to continue studying nor do I wish to apply for a different visa type?

You must depart Australia.

Many countries are opening up their borders, particularly to returning residents and outbound commercial flights are available from several major airports across Australia.

You may also wish to find out if there are any private or Government repatriation flights to your home country. If you would like further assistance to return home, please contact your embassy or consulate in Australia.

Who can I contact if I have any questions about my visa?

If you have any questions on any of the above information, you can contact the Department of Home Affairs via one of the options listed on their website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us/telephone

Before the pandemic, it was possible to get the HAP ID before applying for a visa. Will this function be re-established?

My Health Declaration (MHD) is temporarily suspended. Information will be available on the Department of Home Affairs’ website if this changes.

Do all students have full access to biometrics collection services or are some still impacted by service office closures?

The collection of biometrics through the Australian Visa Application Centres (AVACs) and Australian Biometrics Collection Centres (ABCCs) is dependent on in-country COVID-19 restrictions.

You can use your existing Requirement to provide personal identifiers (biometrics) letter to book and attend an appointment. If you have applied for your visa online, a copy of this letter is available in your ImmiAccount.

You must contact your local AVAC or ABCC to arrange an appointment. You can check our website for updated information on AVACs and ABCCs including contact information and opening times in your country. See: Offices outside Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs is aware that you may not be able to provide biometrics in certain locations due to in-country COVID-19 restrictions. You do not need to contact us if:

  • the collection centre in your area is temporarily closed
  • there are lock-downs in your area that prevent you from travelling to a collection centre.

Are the panels of doctors currently operating? Will I need to get a new medical, even if I had one within a one-year period?

Panel doctor availability is dependent on in-country COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are unable to undergo the health examination with the requested timeframe in your Request for Health Examination letter, you should notify the Department of Home Affairs by attaching details through your ImmiAccount.

If I am re-applying, do I need to present updated supporting documents, including financial evidence?

You can use the Document Checklist Tool to determine if you are required to provide financial evidence with your application.

If you are required to supply it or if this information is requested of you by the Department of Home Affairs’ you must supply it. 

If I had my visa approved but was not able to travel, do I have to pay the Visa Application Charge (VAC) again?

If you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020, you may be eligible for a Student visa fee waiver. You must have been unable complete your course within the original visa validity because of the impacts of COVID-19. This needs to be supported by your Education Provider.

How many times can I re-apply and complete form 1545?

The Student visa fee waiver is a temporary measure and will continue for as long as necessary. There is no limit on the number of times you reapply using Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Students however, you will need to meet the requirements each time.

What is required to help me complete form 1545?

You can use the Document Checklist Tool to determine if you are required to provide financial evidence with your application: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/web-evidentiary-tool.

Do I need to purchase OSHC even though I am starting my studies online?

All student visa applicants must hold adequate health insurance at the time of their visa grant and maintain this during their stay in Australia. Any changes to health insurance arrangements post student visa grant and prior to arrival in Australia are a matter for the visa holder (or education provider) and health insurance provider.

How can agents/students process a visa withdrawal?

If you applied online, you can withdraw your visa application in ImmiAccount before the Department of Home Affairs’ make a decision. Instructions are available on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.

Temporary Graduate (post-study work) visa

I've heard there have been changes made to Temporary Graduate visa arrangements. What are they?

The Australian Government has implemented a number of measures to support students who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • If a student is unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19, they can lodge a further student visa application free of charge.
  • Student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 can use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
  • Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.
  • Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results and biometrics checks where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services.

From 18 February 2022, Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who are eligible for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa because they lost time in Australia as a result of COVID-19 international travel restrictions, will have their visas extended to 30 September 2022.

This interim measure allows eligible Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who were affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions, to enter, or remain in, Australia to live and work until they can apply for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa from 1 July 2022.

Visas will be extended for people who were outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021, while they held a valid Temporary Graduate visa.

Visa holders will be notified directly by the Department of Home Affairs of the extension of their visa.

From 1 July 2022 current and former Temporary Graduate visa holders whose visas expired on or after 1 February 2020 will be able to apply for a replacement subclass 485 visa of the same duration as their original visa, regardless of how long was spent in Australia on their original visa.

For more information visit the Department of Home Affairs website at: www.homeaffairs.gov.au\covid19\visa-information\international-students\temporary-graduate-visa.

The length of stay on the Temporary Graduate visa has increased from two to three years for Masters by coursework graduates, matching that of Masters by research graduates.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two-year Temporary Graduate visa, increased from 18 months.

The new visa settings will also extend existing measures for students and temporary graduates to recognise time spent offshore studying online to count towards qualifying for a temporary graduate visa.

If I am commencing university studies online, do I need to apply for a visa in order to be eligible for a Temporary Graduate visa?

Students must hold a student visa in order for their study to count towards the eligibility requirement for a Temporary Graduate visa.

What is the maximum time I can undertake studies online in order to still be eligible for the post study work visa?

You must have successfully completed all course requirements as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) study to meet the Australian Study Requirement (ASR) eligibility.

During the COVID concession period, online study offshore will be counted towards Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa eligibility from the date of visa grant.

Existing visa requirements

I have a student visa and I'm fully vaccinated, can I return to Australia?

Yes, all visa holders who are fully vaccinated in accordance with Australia’s international border entry requirements are able to arrive in Australia without needing an approved travel exemption.

International students arriving in Australia need to comply with Australian Government border requirements as well as any state or territory testing requirements. Check the requirements in the state or territory of your arrival here.

Fully vaccinated international students can make their own individual travel arrangements to come to Australia. To access this arrangement, visa holders must:

  • Be fully vaccinated with a primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). See list of approved vaccines here.
  • Travellers are considered fully vaccinated seven days after receiving their final dose of the course.
  • Travellers to Australia will not require a booster or third vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated for the purposes of inbound travel to Australia.
  • These provisions also apply to temporary visa holders who:
    • are under the age of 12 years and 3 months at the time of departure for international travel to Australia (whether vaccinated or not)
    • are under the age of 18 years at the time of departure for international travel to Australia, when the child is travelling with at least one adult who meets the definition of fully vaccinated (subject to State and Territory requirements)
    • cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (with acceptable evidence and subject to State and Territory requirements). More information can be found on the Department of Health website.
  • Provide proof of their vaccination status.

For more information visit the Department of Health website.

What if I am unvaccinated and want to study in Australia?

Restrictions on travel to Australia remain in place for unvaccinated students, with some limited exemptions. Unvaccinated students can still enrol with an Australian education provider, be granted a student visa offshore, and commence or continue their studies online.

Further information is available on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

Are students still returning to Australia under International Student Arrival Plans?

Previously, international students could only be granted a travel exemption if they were taking part in an International Student Arrivals Plan, with some limited exceptions. If you are fully vaccinated, you can make your own separate arrangements to travel to Australia.

Can I leave Australia and return to my home country for a holiday?

All visa holders who are fully vaccinated in accordance with Australia’s international border entry requirements are able to arrive in Australia without needing an approved travel exemption.

This means that vaccinated temporary visa holders in Australia can make arrangements to visit their home country, if border restrictions in that country allow, and return to Australia to continue their studies. If you would like further assistance to return home, you can contact your embassy or consulate in Australia.

On your return to Australia, you will be subject to the quarantine and testing requirements of the state or territory in which you arrive. Further advice is available at www.australia.gov.au/states.

Do I need to tell the Australian Government if I elect to return to my home country?

You don’t need to tell us if you return home. Your visa will remain valid until you submit another visa application, or your visa expires.

If I defer my studies due to COVID-19, will this impact my student visa?

The status of your visa will not change if your education provider approves your deferral your studies.

Visas and travel

Can unvaccinated international students be granted a travel exemption once their visa is approved?

Vaccinated students may arrive without a travel exemption from 15 December 2021.

Unvaccinated student visa holders are required to obtain a travel exemption to enter Australia. This includes student visa holders who are vaccinated with a vaccine not recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Information on recognised vaccines can be found at Approved and recognised vaccines (studyaustralia.gov.au)

What travel exemptions are available for unvaccinated international students?

Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.

A list of current travel exemptions is available at: www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19/unvaccinated-travellers/temp-visa-holders/entering-and-transiting-australia/exemption-process.

From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated student visa holders no longer require an exemption to enter Australia.

Travel restrictions are subject to change in response to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. You can stay informed with the latest updates by checking the Department of Home Affairs website at www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19 regularly.

If needed, how do I apply for a travel exemption?

If you are not in an exempt category you can request an individual exemption to Australia's travel restrictions using the Travel Exemption portal.

What vaccines are recognised by the TGA for inbound travel to Australia?

Further information is available on the Study Australia COVID-19 vaccine information page.

Up to date information on travel requirements and vaccines recognised in Australia will be made available on www.smartraveller.gov.au.

Different visa categories 

All visa applications by international students and education agents are processed online by creating an account on ImmiAccount.

Student visa (Subclass 500)

All of the following types of study are included on this visa. For more information about student visas, visit Department of Home Affairs:

  • independent ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
  • schools (primary and secondary)
  • secondary school exchange program
  • vocational education and training (VET)
  • higher education
  • postgraduate research
  • non-award courses
  • international students sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Defence.

Things to note with this type of visa: 

  • You can stay for the duration of your course
  • You must be enrolled in full-time course at a recognised educational institution
  • You can only work up to 40 hours in a fortnight. A fortnight means the period of 14 days starting on a Monday.
  • Visas have conditions. You can view a full list of conditions for this visa on the Department of Home Affairs website.

What other visa options are there?

Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) (COVID-19 pandemic event)

If you are a temporary visa holder working in, or intending to work in, tourism and hospitality, you may be able to extend your stay by up to 12 months through the 408 COVID-19 visa.

Read more about this visa on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485)

  • This visa allows eligible international students who have completed an Australian education to stay in Australia to gain work experience.
  • You can work in Australia for a period of 18 months and up to 4 years, depending on your qualification.
  • This visa does not restrict the type of work you may do or the number of hours you may work.
  • Applications for this visa must be made in Australia and you must hold an eligible student visa in the last 6 months.
  • You must meet Australian study, English proficiency, health insurance, health and character requirements.
  • You must meet the specific requirements of the stream in which you are applying for this visa.

Read more about Temporary Graduate visas on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Visa options and requirements are sometimes subject to change. In order to stay up to date, the best place to get accurate information is on the Department of Home Affairs website. The website provides comprehensive information on the types of visas available for different levels of study in Australia including people considering bringing family members with them (whether guardians, partners/spouses or children). You will also have access to help and advice about your specific visa requirements. 

Another option is to contact an education agent who can help with your visa application, your course application and answer any other questions.

I will only be studying in Australia for a short period. What are my visa options?

Visitor Visa (Subclasses 600, 601, 651)

  • Maximum 3 months study.
  • Intention to visit Australia is genuine.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Sufficient money to support yourself during stay in Australia.

Read more about Visitor Visas on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417 and 462)

  • Maximum 4 months study.
  • Aged 18 to 30 years and hold an eligible passport.
  • Principal purpose to holiday in Australia.
  • Enter or remain in Australia as a genuine visitor.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares and personal support for stay in Australia.

Read more about Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) and Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Student Guardian (Subclass 590)

  • Provides for certain persons to reside with a student in Australia, where the student requires a guardian, ie: the student is under 18 years of age.
  • Study up to 3 months or study ELICOS for 20 hours per week for duration of visa.
  • Meet Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares and living costs.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Acceptable health insurance.

Read more about Student Guardian visas on the Department of Home Affairs website.

If I’m looking at work-based training in Australia, what visa can I apply for?

Training visa (Subclass 407)

The Training visa (Subclass 407) temporary visa allows you to take part in workplace-based occupational training activities to improve your skills for your job, area of tertiary study, field of expertise or in a professional development training program in Australia for up to 2 years.

Visa options and requirements are sometimes subject to change. In order to stay up to date, the best place to get accurate information is on the Department of Home Affairs website. The website provides comprehensive information on the types of visas available for different levels of study in Australia, including people considering bring family members with them (whether guardians, partners/spouses or children). You will also have access to help and advice about your specific visa requirements.

Another option is to contact an education agent, who can help with your visa application, course application, and answer any other questions. 

Where do I go to find the latest information on COVID-19 and visas?

Regular updates are being made to the Latest Travel and Visa section on the Study Australia website.

The Department of Home Affairs website also has up-to-date information on Australia’s borders and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where should I go if I want more information on my visa and travel restrictions?

If you are leaving, staying or coming to Australia and want information on your visa and travel restrictions:

  1. Visit the Department of Home Affairs websitefor updates to Australia's immigration and border arrangements during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, , including specific advice for international students: www.homeaffairs.gov.au/covid19/visa-information/international-students.
  2. If you still have questions, visit here for contact information if you are in Australia, or click here if calling from Americas, Europe, South Korea or Japan. You can also check the contact list of locations for other Home Affairs overseas offices.

If you are a current student located in Australia, and you are preparing to travel outside of Australia, please refer to information on international travel at the Smarttraveller website for information about:

  • What to do if you are considering travelling to any destination with detected cases of the novel coronavirus.
  • What to do while you are away.
  • What to do if returning from a destination and you feel unwell.
  • What to do if returning from a destination with reported cases.

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