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 https//

Applying for a student visa

Should I apply for a student visa even though there are travel restrictions in place?

It is up to individuals as to when they apply for a visa. If you want certainly or wish to travel as soon as travel restrictions lift, you can apply for a Student visa through the Department of Home Affairs’ website.

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. 
When will visas, that were lodged pre-COVID, be processed? Are processing times for those visas as published on the website?  

Applications are taking longer to finalise due to COVID-19 impacts. Processing times are publically via the Department of Home Affairs’ website.

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

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 globally now have full access to biometrics collection services? Or are some regions/countries 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 students need to get new medicals, even if they were taken 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? Will this form/waiver be available for a limited time?
Yes, if required. You can use the Document Checklist Tool to determine if you are required to provide financial evidence with your application:
How many times can I re-apply and complete form 1545? Can I apply in Australia if their visa does not cover the full length of their studies? Will this form/exemption be available for a limited time?

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.

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.

Applying 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 holders

Can I leave Australia and return to my home country for school holidays?
Temporary visa holders impacted by COVID-19 can make arrangements to return to their home country, if border restrictions in that country allow. If you would like further assistance to return home, you can contact your embassy or consulate in Australia.
Temporary visa holders in Australia can depart Australia at any time, however, they will generally not be permitted to return. 
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.

Travelling to Australia

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

The holding of a visa does not in itself allow a student to travel to Australia for students not participating in Government-approved International Student Return programs. Anyone entering Australia will need to hold a travel exemption.

What travel exemptions are available for international students?

Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry to Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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 here.

Travel restrictions are subject to change in response to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. You can stay informed with the latest updates by checking this page regularly.

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.

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 website for updates to Australia's immigration and border arrangements during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak  

2. If you still have questions, visit here for contact information if you’re in Australia, here if calling from Americas, Europe, South Korea or Japan or check the contact list of locations for other Home Affairs overseas offices.

The Smartraveller website contains 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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