Your first student visa

How to apply for your first student visa

Background

An application for a student visa must be made online through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s (DIBP) application system, ImmiAccount.

You can seek the services of a registered migration agent or use one of the University’s official overseas representatives if you need help with process. The University will issue you with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) once you’ve been admitted into your course, but can’t assist you with the visa application.

If you hold another temporary visa (other than a student visa), check your visa entitlements online to see whether study is permitted. If not, you will need to apply for a student visa.

Who should apply?

  • Students coming to Australia to complete an Australian qualification
  • Students coming for an approved exchange or non-award research
  • Students changing visa type from a non-student visa to a student visa

Process

We recommend you carefully read the Student Visa (subclass 500) website and check the document checklist to see what evidence you’re required to provide with your application.

Most students will require evidence of enrolment, overseas student health cover (OSHC), Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) statement and health examinations.

Evidence of English language proficiency and financial capacity may not be required at time of application, but we recommend that you be prepared to provide this evidence should it be requested. Requests for further information may result in an additional 28 days to visa processing.

There are additional requirements for under 18 students; those wishing to bring family and for students submitting their student visa in Australia (check prequalifying visas).

Please note that you may have to pay a subsequent visa application charge if applying in Australia based on your individual temporary visa history. The charge does not apply to the first visa that is granted when you are in Australia.

All documents should be scanned and saved as PDFs, certified translations should be provided if your document is not in English.

Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

You must wait until you have been accepted into your course and received a CoE before you start your visa application, otherwise your visa will be refused. If you provide your CoE details in your application, you should not attach details of a Letter of Offer for the same course. If a warning message about your CoE appears during the application process, check that your passport details match the details appearing on your CoE, contact us if the issue persists.

Secondary Exchange, Foreign Affairs or Defence students don’t need a CoE – if one of these categories applies to you, please select “other evidence of intended study”.

OSHC

You must have your health insurance policy details, including policy commencement and end dates. Your policy must have started for at least one week before your course commencement. If you arrive in Australia before the start date of your OSHC, you can contact your OSHC provider to request that they commence your policy from the date of your arrival. Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students are not required to purchase OSHC as part of their visa requirements.

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)

The GTE requirement was introduced on 5 November 2011 to help improve the integrity of the student visa program and is designed to identify student who are using the student visa program for motives other than gaining quality education.

DIBP assesses genuineness by taking account of a range of factors relating to a visa application. Factors that the department considers as part of the GTE requirement include:

  • circumstances in the applicant’s home country
  • the applicant’s potential circumstances in Australia
  • the applicant’s immigration history
  • the value of the course to the applicant’s future
  • any other matter relevant to the applicant’s intention to stay temporarily.

You should prepare a statement in English about why you would like to study in Australia and sufficiently addresses:

  • reasons for choosing University of Melbourne
  • reasons for choosing to study in Australia instead of your home country
  • relevance of your course of studies to your academic or employment background
  • relevance of your chosen course to your future career and educational plans.

You can upload your GTE statement as a PDF document to your visa application if your statement does not fit into the free-text-box in the online form and write “please see attached statement” in the free-text box if you choose to do this. You can also attach evidence to support the claims you are making in your GTE statement, if they are relevant. Supporting information may include your CV, prior qualifications, or employment references.

English

The document checklist will indicate whether you are required to provide evidence of English with your visa. If you have this evidence ready, you can provide it with your application. The DIBP has listed minimum English language test scores on their website. Check also if you are exempt from this requirement.

Passport

Your passport should have at least 6 months validity at the time you apply for your visa. You must advise DIBP of a change of passport as your visa will be linked with your passport.

Incorrect answers

You can edit your application in your ImmiAccount up until you submit it to the department for processing. If you realise you’ve made an error after submission, there’s instructions on how to notify DIBP.

Application tips

  • If you are unsure about what a question on the online form is asking, click the question mark icon (?) and a pop-up with an explanation will appear
  • Only select YES to the question “is the application receiving partial or full funding under a training scheme approved by the Commonwealth of Australia” if advised by the University that you are Commonwealth Sponsored. If you select this incorrectly, you will not be charged a visa application charge (VAC) and your visa will be invalid
  • Answer questions relating to your passport and citizenship carefully to make sure correct information is entered, incorrect data entry will lead to delays in processing
  • Health examinations can be completed before or after you submit your visa application. If you elect to do it before you submit your visa, you can do it by using my Health Declarations
  • The information you key into your online application should be accurate, so take your time and review it before submitting. We recommend saving each page as you progress, and printing a copy of your application for a final review before payment. Attach all required documentation
  • Global processing times are published and updated on the DIBP website. These are indicative only and increase during peak and non-peak periods
  • DIBP suggests submitting your visa application no later than 6 weeks before class commencement to avoid late commencement, and no earlier than 3 months before you are due to commence.
  • If you need to contact DIBP, use their online form and be sure to include your passport details and application ID so your application can be identified.

Visa granted

  • Once your new student visa has been granted, please update your student record via the Student Portal (Student admin > Personal details > Update my citizenship and residency details) my.unimelb.edu.au
  • Keep a copy of your visa grant letter and visa application for reference
  • Understand and comply with your student visa conditions

Refused or application issues

If your student visa is refused or if you experience any difficulties with the application, contact us.

Newborn children

If you have a new born child, you will need to notify immigration of changes in circumstances and attach a copy of your child's passport to the Notification of changes in circumstances form.