New Simplified Student Visa Framework
On 1 July 2016, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will make a number of changes to its student visa processes. 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.
Will the changes impact existing student visa holders?
The SSVF only applies to student visa applications lodged from 1 July 2016 and will not affect the visas of existing student visa holders.
Will the changes impact on Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) applications?
The eligibility criteria for the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) will not change.
Where can I find more information?
For more information regarding the SSVF please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website
Future students – applying for a student visa
You will need to apply for your visa directly with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). The University issues you a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) but is unable to assist with visa applications. You can submit an application yourself or use the services of one of the University's official overseas representatives.
Most international students require a student visa to study in Australia. If you have a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) for a degree course or a study abroad/exchange program, you can apply for a student visa under the Streamlined Visa Processing arrangements. Otherwise normal processing arrangements apply.
If you are holding an Australian temporary visa (other than a student visa) you may not need to apply for a student visa. Check the study entitlements on your visa with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
Student visa conditions are available on the DIBP website.
Additional requirements for international research students
As an international research student, you will also need to provide the following documents with your visa application:
- A detailed CV
- Your research proposal details
- Academic transcripts
- Details of publications
- Completed Form 1221 (Additional Personal Particulars Information)
Applying outside Australia
If you lodge an application outside Australia, you must wait until your visa is granted before travelling to Australia. If you travel to Australia on another visa before your application is finalised, you will need to lodge a new application in Australia (if eligible) and pay another visa application charge.
Applying in Australia
To apply for a student visa inside Australia, you must hold an eligible visa. Some visas (e.g. Class UR Business Skills visa and the 462 Work and Holiday visa) are not eligible visas. In addition, only students who are subject to Assessment Level 1 can apply for their first student visa in Australia. Others can only do so if there are exceptional circumstances.
The University of Melbourne participates in the DIBP Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) program. DIBP will assess your visa application against a lower assessment level (similar to Assessment Level 1) regardless of your country of passport if you have received a COE for a:
- Bachelor degree
- Master degree
- Doctoral degree
- Study Abroad or Exchange program
Under streamlined processing, you need less supporting documentation but DIBP must be satisfied that you are a genuine temporary entrant and meet health and character requirements. In your visa application, you must declare that you have enough money to pay for your tuition and living expenses. The University may ask you to provide evidence that you have access to sufficient funds.
The University has a cost calculator that gives you an indicative total cost to study in Melbourne based on course, living and accommodation expenses.
When and how to apply
You must wait until after you have accepted your offer and received a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) to apply for a student visa through the Streamlined Visa Processing arrangements, otherwise, your student visa application may be refused.
Only students from certain countries can apply online for their first student visa, others need to lodge their application by post or in person. Students from the People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia and Thailand can only make online student visa applications through an agent who is registered to access the student online lodgement facility for international students.
For information about application procedures, contact your nearest Australian Diplomatic Post.
Department of Immigration tips on applying for a student visa
There are three student visa subclasses applicable to students at the University.
If you do not have a COE for a course that is eligible for Streamlined Visa Processing, DIBP will assess your student visa application against the Assessment Level criteria that is determined by your country of passport. The higher your Assessment Level, the more evidence is required for the grant of visa.
If you intend to undertake more than one course (packaged courses), your visa application will be assessed for the subclass that corresponds with your principal course of study (the last course) and the highest Assessment Level of your course package.
When and how to apply
You can apply for a student visa as soon as you have received a COE from the University of Melbourne. Depending on which country you are from and where you are when you lodge your application, you can either apply online or via mail or lodge a paper application.
Student visa applications are assessed according to Assessment Levels. The higher the Assessment Level, the more evidence is required for the grant of visa. The average processing times are as follows:
Your Assessment Level is determined by your student visa subclass and country of passport. If you intend to undertake more than one course (packaged courses), your visa application will be assessed for the subclass that corresponds with your principal course of study (the last course) and the highest Assessment Level of your course package.
How long does it take to process my visa?
Application processing times vary. The average times for visa lodged outside Australia are:
- Assessment Level 1 and 2: 3 weeks
- Assessment Level 3: 3 months +
Please note: Visa processing can take longer in peak periods.
For more information about the normal visa processing arrangements and visa requirements, refer to the DIBP Student Visa Chooser.