Student Visa Information

Student visa (subclass 500)

If you intend to study in Australia, you will need to apply for the Student visa (subclass 500).

You can apply for the following types of study on this visa:

  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
  • vocational Education and Training (VET) courses –a registered VET course or a registered course for the award of an advanced diploma

You may be able to package your courses if you would like to study more than one course. This is known as course packaging.

For more information visit

About this visa: This visa is for students who want to come to Australia to study at a registered education institution.

What this visa lets you do:

  • You can study a registered full-time course in Australia.
  • Eligible family members can accompany you to Australia.
  • You and your family members can generally work a specified number of hours.
  • You can generally stay in Australia until your course is finished.

Before you apply for this visa, you must have:

  • been accepted to study full-time in a registered course at ITHEA

For more information visit

Course Packaging

Enrolment: You must be enrolled in one or more of our courses registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

If you are applying from outside Australia, you must include a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for each intended course of study with your visa application.

If you are in Australia, you can apply with a letter of offer or a CoE but you must obtain a CoE to be granted the visa.

For more information visit

Course Packaging: Students can apply to undertake two or more courses on their Student (subclass 500) visa where there is clear progression from one course to another. This is known as course packaging.

The final course that you will undertake as part of your package of courses is your main (or principal) course of study.  Your main course of study will be used to determine your financial and English language evidentiary requirements.

To be granted a visa for the full duration of the packaged courses, you must provide confirmation that you are enrolled in all of the courses. A student visa for the full package will only be granted if the duration of the package does not exceed the maximum visa grant period.

For more information visit

Packaging English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS): There is no limitation on the maximum duration of ELICOS study that can be undertaken. Genuine students are able to undertake as much ELICOS study as either a standalone course or prior to their principal course, as required.

For more information visit the Home Affairs website.

English Language Test Score

You need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, we will accept the following minimum English language test score:

English language test providers Minimum test score Minimum test score where combined with at least 10 weeks ELICOS Minimum test score where combined with at least 20 weeks ELICOS
International English Language Testing System 5.5 5 4.5
*Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper based 527 500 450
TOEFL internet based test 46 35 32
Cambridge English: Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English) 162 154 147
Pearson Test of English Academic 42 36 30
Occupational English Test Pass** N/A N/A

*The TOEFL paper based test will only be accepted from limited countries

**The Occupational English Test includes a mark between A and E. An A or B is considered a pass.

The test must have been taken no more than two years before you apply for your student visa.

If you fall into one of the following categories, you do not need to provide evidence of an English test score with your visa application:

  • you are enrolled in full-time school studies as a principal course in a secondary exchange programme, a postgraduate research course, a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), and Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored students
  • you have completed at least five years’ study in one or more of the following countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, or the Republic of Ireland
  • are a citizen and passport holder of one of the following English speaking countries: UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Republic of Ireland
  •  in the two years before applying for the student visa, you completed, in Australia and in the English language, either the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or a substantial component of a course leading to a qualification from the Australian Qualifications Framework at the Certificate IV or higher level, while you held a student visa.

For more information visit

Health Insurance

You must have adequate health insurance while in Australia. Students can show this by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance.

You can select an approved OSHC provider and pay for the policy yourself. ITHEA can arrange OSHC for you.

You do not need OSHC if you are:

  • a Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme
  • Swedish student covered by the National Board of Student Aid or by Kammarkollegiet
  • a Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

For more information visit

Changing Courses

If you hold a Student visa (subclass 500) and are thinking about changing your course of study, ensure that you continue to meet all the conditions that apply to your student visa.

If you have not completed six months of your principal course (the main course of study you are undertaking) and you want to change your education provider, the ESOS National Code explains the circumstances in which this will be possible. Unless special circumstances apply, you usually need to have permission from your existing education provider to transfer to another education provider.

If you want to transfer, your education provider must assess or consider your request to transfer. All education providers have documented procedures about their transfer policy. Make sure you understand your education provider’s transfer policy, and what your written agreement says you must do, before you attempt to enrol with a new education provider.

If your education provider does not give you permission to transfer to another education provider and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you should first use your education provider’s internal appeal process. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal the education provider’s decision at an external complaints handling body such as the State or Territory Ombudsman or the Overseas Student Ombudsman.

Changing to a lower level course: If you already have a student visa to study in Australia and wish to change your main course of study to a lower Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level course or a non-AQF level course, you will generally need to obtain a new student visa. You will not need to obtain a new visa if you are changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF 9 course (Masters degree).

It is not important if the course you change to is with the same education provider. For example, if you are studying a Bachelor of Science (AQF level 7) at a university and wish to transfer to a Diploma of Accounting (AQF level 5) at the same institution, you would need to apply for and be granted a new student visa.

For more information visit

Visa Conditions

Your visa is subject to a number of visa conditions that you must comply with.  Different visa conditions apply to you and your family members.

While studying at ITHEA, you are also required to

  • regularly attend your classes and be performing to a satisfactory level i.e. passing your course.
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout the entire duration of your course.
  • inform us immediately of any change of address during the duration of your studies.
  • contact us if you are absent for more than 3 consecutive days,

Breaching a visa condition may result in the cancellation of your visa.

These pages provide information about the visa conditions that may apply to you and your dependent family members.

For more information visit Subclass 500 Student Visa overview



Work conditions for student visa holders: If you are a student visa holder, you and your dependent family members have permission to work included with your visa. You and your family members must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa. Students and their families must not breach the work conditions that apply to their student visa.

Work conditions for student visa holders: You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session, and unlimited hours when your course is not in session.

Work that is a formal registered part of your course is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.

Voluntary, unpaid work, is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:

  • is of  benefit to the community
  • is for a non-profit organisation
  • is genuinely voluntary (that is, you are not paid either in cash or other—board and lodging is acceptable).

If the voluntary work could have been undertaken by an Australian resident who would have received a wage, then this is included in the 40 hours.

For more information visit

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