There are seven student visa subclasses (570 to 576), each representing one ‘education sector’ as well as a Student Guardian visa subclass (580). Students may “package” their studies so that they combine a preliminary course with their principal course of study. For example, they may take a short English language course, and/or a bridging course before their main course begins. Courses can only be packaged where one of the courses is a prerequisite to another course, or where one of the courses may only be taken after the completion of another of the courses. Students doing ‘package course’ should apply not for the visa of the preliminary course but rather for the visa of the principal course of study.




Studying Visas 

Independent ELICOS Sector visa (subclass 570):

For overseas students undertaking an ELICOS (English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students). It is for a stand-alone course, and is not as a prerequisite to commencing another course such as, for example, a degree course. Students undertaking an ELICOS course as a prerequisite to another course should apply for a student visa to study under the visa subclass for the education sector associated with the principal course, i.e. Schools / Vocational Education and Training / Higher Education, etc. ELICOS courses include Non-Award ELICOS, and Certificates I, II, III, and IV in ELICOS. 


Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector visa (Subclass 572):

For overseas students undertaking a course of study at a primary school or a secondary school. The types of courses are primary school, secondary school, including both junior and senior secondary school and secondary exchange programs



School Sector visa (subclass 571):

Covers Certificate I, II, III, and IV, (Excluding Certificate I to IV ELICOS), VET Diploma, VET Advanced Diploma, Vocational Graduate Certificate, Vocational Graduate Diploma. This visa may also be used for students undertaking occupational training by coursework. 



Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573):

For student undertaking a Bachelor degree, Graduate certificate, Graduate Diploma, Associate Degree, Higher Education Diploma, Higher Education Advanced Diploma and Masters by Coursework. 




Postgraduate Research Sector visa (subclass 574):

Covers a Masters by Research and a Doctoral degree.

Non Award Sector visa (subclass 575)

Covers full time courses other than ELICOS not leading to an Australian award and including foundation, bridging or other courses and Study Abroad courses not otherwise included in subclass 573

AusAID or Defence sector visa (subclass 576):

Covers full-time study undertaken by AusAID or Defence-Sponsored students for the whole part of an education or training course offered by an Australian education provider. 


Student Guardian visa (subclass 580)

For parents/guardians or relatives of young students (generally under 18) who wish to be in Australia in order to provide appropriate care and support and welfare arrangements to the students during their study.


An application for the Student Guardian visa can be made from either overseas or within Australia, and must be supported by a nomination by the overseas student who is studying or coming to study in Australia.


It is required that:

  • The nominating student should be under 18 years of age

    • in very limited circumstances, it may be possible for a parent or relative of a student over 18 to be granted a Student Guardian visa. One situation envisaged may be that tradition and culture in certain countries may require that female students from those countries, even though they are over 18, receive the supervision and protection from an appropriate relative 

  • The student guardian visa applicant must be aged over 21, and should normally be the parent/guardian or a relative of the nominating student

  • Student guardian visa applicants can include secondary applicants in the application in certain circumstances, but only children under 6 years of age who are not yet of school age

  • Applicants for the student guardian visa must declare all family members at time of visa application 

  • The student guardian visa will allow the guardian to remain in Australia for the duration of the nominating student’s studies or until the student turns 18, whichever is the soonest. The visa period of the student guardian visa will usually be linked to the year of the nominating student’s 18th birthday 

  • The student guardian is expected to live with the nominating student in Australia, and must not leave Australia without the student unless appropriate alternate arrangements for the care and support of the student are put into place and approved by the child’s education provider, and DIBP is advised of the alternate arrangements in advance. 



General Assessment of Student Visas:

In general terms this means the applicant needs to be satisfactorily assessed against a number of factors, including: 


• The course to be studied must be full-time 

• The student’s health and character 

• The student’s past academic record 

• The student’s level of English proficiency (not applies to ELICOS course) 

• The student’s financial capacity to undertake the course, including travel costs, living costs, tuition fees, etc. 

• The student’s capacity to support any dependents in Australia (if any) and dependents in their home country (if any) 

• The student’s general background and the likelihood/incentive of the student returning to the home country 

• The student’s past immigration history and incidences of non-compliance with visa conditions 

• Whether the student has any outstanding debts owing to the Commonwealth of Australia 



General Supporting Documents:

An applicant for a student visa, irrespective of the visa subclass, must submit the following supporting documentation and evidence with the application: 


  • Passport, photos and personal documents, e.g. birth and marriage certificates, etc. 

  • Employment papers and references (if appropriate) 

  • Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) or Offer of a place from a registered educational institution in Australia 

  • Students doing “package courses” will need eCoE for both courses or at least an eCoE for the preliminary course and offer of a     place for the subsequent principal course 

  • Evidence of funds and declaration of financial ability 

  • Copies of educational documents and academic transcripts 

  • Evidence of Overseas Student Health Charge (OSHC) payment 

  • Relevant Police clearance certificates 

  • Results of medical and x-ray tests (if completed) 

  • Evidence of English proficiency. The test results from the specified English language tests taken in any country are accepted for Student visa purposes. The specified tests are ( IELTS), (TOEFL iBT), Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, and Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE). 

  • Evidence of school enrolment of any accompanying school-age dependent

  • Confirmation of appropriate welfare arrangements (for applicants under 18) 

  • Evidence of satisfactory results in previous studies (if applying onshore) 

  • Signed acceptance of Australian Values Statement form 

  • Evidence of “exceptional circumstances” (only for applicants in assessment levels 2, 3, 4 or 5 applying onshore for change of status to student). 

In addition, the applicant must not have any outstanding debts to the Commonwealth of Australia 



Genuine Student and Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) Requirements:


An applicant must show that they are a genuine student with the necessary prerequisites to succeed in their course of study. As well, applicants lodging applications for Student visas must satisfy the Australian visa officer that they intend a temporary stay only, and are not seeking a Student visa for other reasons, for example, to work in Australia.