Visa and Travel

COVID visa and travel advice for international students from the Australian Government.

The Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs has provided updated answers and important links related to your most frequently asked student visa questions.

Should I apply for a student visa even though borders are still closed?
Granting of offshore student visas, where all requirements are met, will provide certainty for international students and the reassurance that you will be able to enter Australia when health advice allows and travel restrictions are relaxed. You can apply through normal online channels.
Can a 408 Visa Holder or Bridging Visa 'E' holder apply for a Student Visa?
If I had my visa approved before 02/01/2020, but was not able to travel, do I have to pay the VAC again?
If you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020, you may be eligible for a nil-VAC student visa if you could not complete your course within your visa validity. See: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/student-visa
If I had a visa approved, but now plan to travel in 2022, should I submit an updated COE now, or should I wait?
Student visas cannot be extended. If you require more time on a student visa in order to complete your course, you should apply for a further student visa closer to the time of visa expiry.
Does the VAC fee waiver, as part of the COVID-19 Impacted Students visa package, apply to tourist visas approved pre-COVID for study purposes?
Visitor visa applicants outside of Australia, whose previous Visitor visa expired, or will expire, between March 2020 and December 2021, will soon be able to apply for a Visitor (subclass 600) visa with a nil VAC. See: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/refunds-and-waivers-visa-application-charges
Do all students globally now have full access to biometrics collection services? Or are some regions/countries still impacted by service office closures?
The resumption of offshore biometrics collection services through the Australian Visa Application Centres (AVACs) and Australian Biometrics Collection Centres (ABCCs) is dependent on in-country COVID-19 restrictions. Updated information on AVACs and ABCCs, including contact information and opening times in each country, is available here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/contact-us/offices-and-locations/offices-outside-australia
If my visa has expired without travelling, do I need to provide and pay for new biometrics?
Yes, if requested.
Are the panels of doctors currently operating? Will students need to get new medicals, even if they were taken within a one-year period?
Panel doctor availability is dependent on in-country COVID-19 restrictions.
To determine whether or not you are required to undertake health examinations, please see: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/health/who-needs-health-examinations
When will visas lodged pre-COVID be processed? Are processing times for those visas as published on the website?
Is there a tentative date suggested that I can select on my COE, in order to lodge an application?
CoEs should accurately reflect the course start and end dates (including any periods of online study offshore).
If I am re-applying, do I need to present updated supporting documents, including financial evidence?
Yes, if required. You can use the Document Checklist Tool to determine if you are required to provide financial evidence with your application: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/web-evidentiary-tool
How many times can I re-apply and complete form 1545? Can I apply in Australia if their visa does not cover the full length of their studies? Will this form/exemption be available for a limited time?
The student visa fee waiver is a temporary measure and will continue for as long as necessary. More information is available at: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/student-visa
Will there be quarantine and/or isolation requirements for students arriving in Australia? Will they need to get tested for COVID? Who will pay for those arrangements?
The return of international students is being led by Australian States and Territories and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. More information is available at: https://www.dese.gov.au/covid-19/resources/protocols-and-preconditions-international-student-arrivals
If I have an approved but about-to-expire visa, will I be able to travel to Australia once borders open?
Students will be able to travel to Australia as long as they hold a valid visa.
If I am commencing university studies online in Semester 1, 2021, do I need to apply for a visa in order to be eligible for the PSW visa?
Students must hold a student visa in order for their study to count towards the eligibility requirement for a Temporary Graduate visa. Go to: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/student-visa
Do I need to purchase OSHC even though I am starting my studies online?
All student visa applicants must hold adequate health insurance at the time of their visa grant and maintain this during their stay in Australia.
Any changes to health insurance arrangements post student visa grant and prior to arrival in Australia are a matter for the visa holder (or education provider) and health insurance provider.
How long before the potential commencement date can I lodge a visa application?
Students are encouraged to lodge a complete student visa application at least six weeks before CoE commencement. More information is available at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500#HowTo
Before the pandemic, it was possible to get the HAP ID before applying for a visa. Will this function be re-established?
My Health Declaration (MHD) is temporarily suspended. More information is available at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/meeting-our-requirements/health/when-to-have-health-examinations
What is the maximum time I can undertake studies online in order to still be eligible for the post study work visa?
The Education Regulators (ASQA and TESQA) determine the mode and proportion of online learning required to qualify for an Australian qualification.
Will there be any Covid-19 related changes to the demonstration of financial capacity requirements?
Financial capacity requirements have not changed. Information on financial capacity requirements is available at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/student-500#HowTo
How can agents/students process a visa withdrawal?

If you are leaving, staying or coming to Australia and want information on your visa and travel restrictions:

1. Visit the Department of Home Affairs website for updates to Australia's immigration and border arrangements during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak
https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/student-visa  

2. If you still have questions, visit here for contact information if you’re in Australia, here if calling from Americas, Europe, South Korea or Japan or check the contact list of locations for other Home Affairs overseas offices.


The Smartraveller website contains information about:

  • What to do if you are considering travelling to any destination with detected cases of the novel coronavirus.
  • What to do while you are away.
  • What to do if returning from a destination and you feel unwell.
  • What to do if returning from a destination with reported cases.

www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19

 

 

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