Visa categories

The following information will help you decide which class of student visa you need to study in Australia.

All visa applications by international students and education agents are processed online by creating an account on ImmiAccount.

Student visa (Subclass 500)

All of the following types of study are included on this visa. For more information about student visas, visit Department of Home Affairs:

  • independent ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
  • schools (primary and secondary)
  • secondary school exchange program
  • vocational education and training (VET)
  • higher education
  • postgraduate research
  • non-award courses
  • international students sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs or Defence.

Things to note with this type of visa: 

  • You can stay for the duration of your course
  • You must be enrolled in full-time course at a recognised educational institution
  • You can only work up to 40 hours in a fortnight. A fortnight means the period of 14 days starting on a Monday.
  • Visas have conditions. You can view a full list of conditions for this visa on the Department of Home Affairs website.

COVID-19 and visas

In July 2020, the Australian Government announced updates to the student visa program. To gain entry to an Australian university and finish your studies onshore in future, you’ll need to have a visa before you start studying (including studying remotely or via online methods).

The Department of Home Affairs website also has up-to-date information on Australia’s borders and the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep this hyperlink handy and check back regularly for updates to border announcements.

Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) (Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 pandemic event))

If you are a temporary visa holder working in, or intending to work in, tourism and hospitality, you may be able to extend your stay by up to 12 months through the 408 COVID-19 visa.

Read more about this visa on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485)

  • This visa allows eligible international students who have completed an Australian education to stay in Australia to gain work experience.
  • You can work in Australia for a period of 18 months and up to 4 years, depending on your qualification.
  • This visa does not restrict the type of work you may do or the number of hours you may work.
  • Applications for this visa must be made in Australia and you must hold an eligible student visa in the last 6 months.
  • You must meet Australian study, English proficiency, health insurance, health and character requirements.
  • You must meet the specific requirements of the stream in which you are applying for this visa.

Read more about Temporary Graduate visas on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Other visa options

For shorter periods of study, you can apply for a Visitor or Working Holiday Visa. There is also a visa option specifically for student guardians.

Visitor Visa (Subclasses 600, 601, 651)

  • Maximum 3 months study.
  • Intention to visit Australia is genuine.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Sufficient money to support yourself during stay in Australia.

Read more about Visitor Visas on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417 and 462)

  • Maximum 4 months study.
  • Aged 18 to 30 years and hold an eligible passport.
  • Principal purpose to holiday in Australia.
  • Enter or remain in Australia as a genuine visitor.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares and personal support for stay in Australia.

Read more about Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) and Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Student Guardian (Subclass 590)

  • Provides for certain persons to reside with a student in Australia, where the student requires a guardian, ie: the student is under 18 years of age.
  • Study up to 3 months or study ELICOS for 20 hours per week for duration of visa.
  • Meet Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares and living costs.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Acceptable health insurance.

Read more about Student Guardian visas on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Training visa (Subclass 407)

The Training visa (Subclass 407) temporary visa allows you to take part in workplace-based occupational training activities to improve your skills for your job, area of tertiary study, field of expertise or in a professional development training program in Australia for up to 2 years.

Visa options and requirements are sometimes subject to change. In order to stay up to date, the best place to get accurate information is on the Department of Home Affairs website. The website provides comprehensive information on the types of visas available for different levels of study in Australia, including people considering bring family members with them (whether guardians, partners/spouses or children). You will also have access to help and advice about your specific visa requirements.

Another option is to contact an education agent, who can help with your visa application, course application, and answer any other questions.

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More resources

Visa categories

The following information will help you decide which class of student visa you need to study in Australia.

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