Your first student visa

How to apply for your first student visa

On this page:

Who should apply?

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

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.

The Department of Home Affairs 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.

Required documentation

Check the Home Affairs document checklist to see what evidence you’re required to provide with your application.

Most students will require:

  • Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
  • Overseas student health cover (OSHC)
  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) statement
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • Evidence of funds
  • Health examinations
  • Passport.

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

Failing to provide evidence with your application can result in requests for further information, which will add an additional 28 days to visa processing.

Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

You must wait until you have been accepted into your course and received a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) before you start your visa application, otherwise your visa will be refused. If you provide your CoE details in your application, do not attach 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, and contact us if the issue persists.

Overseas Student Health Cover (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 Genuine Temporary Entry (GTE) requirement is designed to identify students who are using the student visa program for motives other than gaining quality education.

Home Affairs assesses genuineness by taking into account a range of factors relating to a visa application, including:

  • 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 are required to prepare a statement in English about why you would like to study in Australia and sufficiently address:

  • 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. 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.

Evidence of English language proficiency

The document checklist will indicate whether you are required to provide evidence of English with your visa. Home Affairs has listed minimum English language test scores on their website. The test must have been taken no more than two years before the student visa application is made. Check if you are exempt from this requirement.

Evidence of funds

To study in Australia, you will be required to have access to funds for your tuition fees, living expenses and travel. You will be asked to make a declaration that you have genuine access to funds and are aware of living expenses. See how you can satisfy financial capacity requirements.

Health examinations

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 so using My Health Declarations.

To confirm whether health examinations are required if you have already lodged a visa application, please follow instructions on the arranging a health examination website.


Your passport should have at least six months validity at the time you apply for your visa. You must advise Home Affairs of a change of passport as your visa will be linked to the passport you used when your visa was submitted.

Other required documentation

There are additional requirements for:

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.

Application process

An application for a student visa must be made online through the Department of Home Affairs application system, ImmiAccount.

Apply for your student visa

We recommend you carefully read the Student Visa (subclass 500) website before applying.

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 the application 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.

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 Home Affairs.

Tips for completing the visa application form

  • If you have trouble understanding the question being asked on the visa form, click on the question mark icon (?) next to the question for an explanation.
  • 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. RTP scholarships will be specified on your CoE or scholarship letter.
  • Student visa applicants who are receiving full or partial funding under a Commonwealth scholarship are not required to pay the visa application charge. In addition, these students are not covered under the ESOS Act and as such, the Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is automatically cancelled in PRISMS. If you incorrectly identify yourself as Commonwealth sponsored in the visa application form, your application will be considered 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.
  • 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.
  • Do not leave space for answers to questions blank; write “not applicable” where appropriate.

Processing times

Visa application processing times are published and updated on the Home Affairs website. These are indicative only and vary during peak and non-peak periods

If you need to contact Home Affairs, use their online form and be sure to include your passport details and application ID so your application can be identified.

Once your visa has been 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).

You should also:

  • keep a copy of your visa grant letter and visa application for reference
  • understand and comply with your student visa conditions
Newborn children

If you have a newborn child after your visa is granted, 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.

Visa refused or application issues

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