A student visa is a permit given to you by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship that outlines the conditions under which you are permitted to reside in Australia.
Most student visas require that:
- you have been accepted into a recognised course of study
- you are able to support yourself financially during your stay
- you meet certain health requirements and have appropriate health insurance.
There are sub-classes of student visa and each may have particular requirements.
While studying in Australia, you must meet continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of your visa. This means for example that your main course of study must continue to be a course in the education sector that matches your visa. You must also apply for a visa renewal before expiry of your current visa and you must not overstay your visa. This means that you should leave when you have completed your course.
If you are under 18, you need to maintain your approved accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements.
Applying for a student visa
The student visa application process and the information that you will need to supply with your application is dependent on the specific assessment level of your visa application.
This level, which is shown as a number from one to five, is based on the country where your passport is held, the educational sector where you will be studying, and is determined by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
The assessment level can significantly affect your student visa application and how you accept your offer. Generally, your letter of offer will advise you if you need to complete a pre-visa assessment before you accept your offer and pay your fees.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship provide details on applying for a student visa as well as a list of visa assessment levels.
You can also apply for your student visa through an agent and you may be able to apply online.
Australia's modern electronic visa system does not require you to have a visa label placed in your passport to confirm your immigration status and entitlements in Australia.
Your visa information is held electronically and you can access it at any time using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. Employers, banks and government services can also check your visa entitlement details on VEVO once they have your consent to do so.
VEVO is a free internet service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that allows you to view your visa details online, providing greater detail about your visa than on a label. VEVO displays all the details of your current visa, including subclass, visa description, grant date, period of stay, grant number, entries allowed and conditions that apply to your visa.
You can access VEVO if you have recorded a password at the end of your eVisa application. Visit immi.gov.au, select the VEVO for visa holders link and log in. If you haven't yet recorded a password, call 131 881 and ask for your password to be reset.
You may still be given a label in your passport if your government requires a it in order to facilitate your travel. The letter of confirmation you receive once your visa has been granted will tell you if you need to obtain a visa label.
All people granted a student visa automatically receive permission to work with their visa. This arrangement enables you to apply for work as soon as your course starts, without having to spend time applying for permission to do so. Students are permitted to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during study periods and unlimited hours during vacations period. While TAFE South Australia does not organise employment, many international students find work in retail, tourism and hospitality industries.