Student visa (subclass 500)

Australian Student Visas give international students the ability enter and live in Australia in order to study or train full-time for the duration of a particular course. Applications can only be submitted once the student has enrolled in or received a formal offer of a place at a recognised educational institution in Australia.

The precise eligiblity requirements for this visa can vary, depending on what risk level your application is assigned by the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Immigration risk levels are generally a combination of the risk rating of the educational institution you plan to attend and your nationality.

Applicants for an an Australian student visa must:

  • formally sign up for a course or training with an educational institution in Australia on a full-time basis, and provide written proof of their enrolment
    • NB: if the course or training is predominantly online, your visa application may not be successful
  • have genuine intent of completing their studies in Australia
  • unless exempt, provide eveidence that they have a sufficient degree of proficiency in the English language
  • arrange ‘Overseas Student Health Cover’ (OHSC) for the duration of their proposed time in Australia
  • have sufficient funds to pay for their tuition, travel to and from Australia, accommodation and other living costs
  • be able to fund both their own stay and also that of any dependants that they include in their application

The precise amount that will be required in order to meet the ‘sufficient funds’ criteria will vary per person and is set by the Department of Home Affairs. Please contact us if you would like further information on what might constitute ‘sufficient funds’.


To apply for a Student visa (subclass 500), you must have been enrolled in a full-time course or training provided by an Australian educational institution, have met the necessary health and good character requirements, and satisfied the risk criteria determined by your education provider and nationality.

After you have been granted a visa by the Department of Home Affairs, you will be permitted to enter and/or remain in Australia for the purpose of completing your study. You will be given the right to work while completing your studies, but only once your studies have commenced and up to a  maximum of 40 hours per 14 days. If you are undertaking a research-based Masters or Doctoral-level course, your visa’s work provisions and conditions may differ.

Preparing an application for a Student Visa usually takes a few weeks, potentially longer or shorter depending on how quickly you are able to obtain and provide the necessary supporting information.

English language test score

English language test providers Minimum test score Minimum test score where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS Minimum test score where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS
International English Language Testing System 5.5 5 4.5
TOEFL internet based test 46 35 32
Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English) 162 154 147
Pearson Test of English Academic 42 36 30
Occupational English Test B for each test component N/A N/A

*ELICOS = English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students

Any tests must have been taken and passed within the previous two years when you submit your application.

When you apply, you will need to demonstrate that you have access to enough money to meet the cost of tuition, accommodation, travel and living expenses for yourself and any family members who will be joining you in Australia. To get a sense of how much money you might need to satisfy this requirement, please feel free to use our student visa funds calculator.

You may be asked to provide the Department of Home Affairs with ‘evidence of financial capacity’. In the event that this is required, you can provide any of the following:

  • proof of funds on hand which will pay for travel to and from Australia, course fees, and  a full year’s living expenses evidence. You will also need to cover school costs for any accompanying children
  • proof that you earn at least the minimum annual income requirement
  • an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES) form (secondary exchange students only)
  • a letter of endorsement from either the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence.

Packaged Courses

‘Course packaging’ It is possible to apply for a subclass 500 Student Visa on the basis that you will take two consecutive courses where there is a clear route from one to another e.g. an undergraduate course to a postgraduate course. This is known as course packaging.

For each course you intend to use as the reason for your application, you must show that you have a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) or demonstrate that one is not required.

It is always the final course which will be counted as your main course for the purposes of determining the English language and financial requirements you must meet in order to be successful in your application.

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)

When reviewing your application, the Department of Home Affairs will consider whether they believe your intentions to enter Australia on only a temporary basis are genuine.

In order to pass this assessment, you will need to provide sufficient evidence, for example: 

  • a personal ‘statement of purpose ‘
  • proof of your or your family’s economic situation in your home country e.g. bank accounts, home ownership, business operations
  • proof of ongoing ties to your home country e.g. assets, family ties, social ties. In effect, you are seeking to show that you have sufficient motivation to return to your home country once your studies have concluded.
  • Proof of any past qualifications
  • Proof of any previous work experience, ideally for the last year
  • Any offer of employment you may have lined up in your home country once you have completed your studies in Australia

GTE requirement samples and FAQ for student visas:


The results are valid for two years, and the test must have been taken no more than two years before the student visa application.

Yes, applicant can satisfy the English language requirement the applicant has fully completed or completed substantial component of a course at the Certificate IV or higher level in Australia within two years before applying for the visa.

The mandatory document requirements for English and Financials Capacity differs for applicants in regular or streamlined category. Applicant can also check the mandatory documents using our Student visa checklist for offshore students. 

Only if the applicant is in Australia, s/he can apply for student visa with a letter of offer; however, the applicant must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.

Visa applicant(s) must answer a number of character related questions on the visa application form and the information provided will be used to assess the character. Applicant(s) might be asked for more information by DIBP, if required.

The applicant does not require OSHC if s/he is:

a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
a Swedish student(s) covered by the National Board of Student Aid or by Kammarkollegiet
a Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

To be granted a student visa, the applicant must demonstrate that s/he has adequate welfare arrangements in place for the length of the student visa or until they turn 18 years of age. They can do this by demonstrating that they will be accompanied by a parent or legal custodian, a suitable relative or that the student’s education provider approves the arrangements for the student’s accommodation, support and general welfare.

The student applicant needs to provide evidence of English language proficiency and DIBP accepts the following minimum English language test scores:

English Language Test Providers Minimum Test Score (MTS) MTS where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS MTS where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS
nternational English Language Testing System




*Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based




TOEFL internet based test




Cambridge English: Advanced(Certificate in Advanced English)




Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)




Occupational English Test




*The TOEFL paper based test will only be accepted from limited countries

**The Occupational English Test includes a mark between A and E. An A or B is considered a pass.

If one of the following applies, the applicant does not need to provide evidence of an English test score with the visa application:

  • If the applicant is enrolled in full-time school studies as a principal course including in a secondary exchange programme, a postgraduate research course, a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), and Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored students
  • If the applicant has completed at least five years’ study in one or more of the following countries: Australia, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
  • If the applicant is a citizen and holds a passport from UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or Republic of Ireland

For student visa purpose, the living costs for main student or guardian is AUD 19,830,for partner or spouse is AUD 6,940 and for each child is AUD 2,970. Where school aged children are included in the Student visa application, schooling costs of at least AUD 8,000 per year for each child needs to be added to the amount of fund required.

If applicant is applying student visa in Australia, applicant must hold a current temporary substantive visa, but not any one of the following:

  • 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.

A substantive temporary visa is any visa other than a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa, which allows the visa holder to remain temporarily in Australia.

The following are the major visa conditions applicable to the main visa holder.

  • 8105 – Work LimitationS/he cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when the course is in session (other than work which has been registered as a part of the course). A fortnight means any period of 14 days commencing on a Monday and ending at the end of the second following Sunday.

    S/he can work for more than 40 hours per fortnight during recognised vacation periods offered by the education provider.

    S/he cannot start paid work until s/he has started the course in Australia.

    No work limits apply if s/he is studying a Masters by research or Doctorate course in Australia.

  • 8202 – Meet course requirementsS/he must remain enrolled in a registered course (unless applicant is a Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored student or secondary exchange student in which case s/he must maintain full-time enrolment in the course of study or training).

    Note: A registered course is one that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

    S/he must maintain enrolment in a registered course that is the same level as, or at a higher level than, the registered course for which s/he was granted a visa. S/he must maintain satisfactory attendance in the course and course progress for each study period as required by the education provider.

  • 8501 – Maintain health insuranceS/he must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance during the stay in Australia.

    Note: Under policy, you must maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

  • 8516 – Must maintain eligibilityS/he must continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of the student visa. For example, s/he should continue to have sufficient financial capacity to support the study and stay in Australia.
  • 8517 – Maintain education for dependentsS/he must maintain adequate schooling arrangements for the school-age dependents who joined in Australia for more than 3 months as part of student visa application.
  • 8532 – 18 approve welfareIf s/he is younger than 18 years of age, s/he must have accommodation and support, and general welfare must be maintained for the duration of stay in Australia.
  • 8533 – Inform provider of addressS/he must inform the education provider:
    • the address where s/he lives in Australia within seven days of arriving in Australia
    • if s/he changes the address, where s/he lives within seven days of the change
    • if s/he changes education provider, within seven days of receiving the electronic confirmation of enrolment certificate or evidence of enrolment.