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Latest updates from 2024

Updates from the Department of Home Affairs:

Changes in English language requirements

Starting March 23, 2024, "the minimum score required for a Student visa from an IELTS test score increases from 5.5 to 6 (or its equivalent)."

Other changes:

  • The minimum score required to undertake a packaged ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) from IELTS increases from 4.5 to 5.0.

  • For students studying English only through ELICOS, there will be no change.

  • The test score required for students undertaking university foundation or pathway programs that deliver reputable English language training will be IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent).

Read more about the new English requirements on the Department of Home Affairs website

Genuine Student Requirement

"The Government has replaced the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for student visas with a Genuine Student (GS) requirement. This is effective for student visa applications lodged on and after 23 March 2024.

This requirement does NOT apply to student visa applications lodged before 23 March 2024. We will continue to assess these applications against the GTE requirement."

Read more about the Genuine Student requirement on the Department of Home Affairs website

Changes for onshore visa applications

From 1 July 2024, selected visa types will not be eligible to apply for a Student visa while in Australia. This includes Visitor and Temporary Graduate visa holders.

Read the complete list of visa types that will be unable to apply for a Student visa onshore.

Student Visa Length & Duration

The student visa is a temporary visa and the length of stay is determined by the type and length of the course you will be studying.

Length of Course

Length of Stay

Longer than 10 months (finishing November – December)

The visa end date will usually be the 15th of March the following year

Longer than 10 months (finishing January – October)

The visa end date will usually be 2 months longer than the course end date

Shorter than 10 months

The visa end date will usually be 1 month longer than the course end date

There may be special circumstances where these usual periods may be exempt: 

Postgraduate Research Students 

The length of stay or visa end date for Postgraduate research students is generally an additional 6 months on top of the usual visa end date. This is to allow postgraduate students to remain in Australia during the marking of their thesis. 

Primary School Students 

For primary school children enrolled in years 1-4, the maximum period for a student visa is 2 years. To continue their studies, these students must apply for another student visa.

Student Visa Application Processing Time

Depending on the type of student visa you are applying for, processing times can vary. To ensure that your visa application is processed as quickly as possible, ensure that you fill in the application correctly and provide all the necessary documents. 

The visa processing time information below is extracted from The Department of Home Affairs

Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 12 days 

  • 90% of applications in 24 days 

Postgraduate Research Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 63 days 

  • 90% of applications in 5 months 

Non-Award Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 4 days 

  • 90% of applications in 13 days 

Schools Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 61 days 

  • 90% of applications in 4 months 

Independent ELICOS Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 27 days 

  • 90% of applications in 42 days 

Vocational Education and Training Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 45 days 

  • 90% of applications in 73 days 

Higher Education Sector 

  • 75% of applications in 40 days 

  • 90% of applications in 54 days

Student Visa Eligibility Requirements


The minimum age requirement is 6 years old. For secondary school eligibility, you must also be: 

  • less than 17 years old when you begin Year 9. 

  • less than 18 years old when you begin Year 10. 

  • less than 19 years old when you begin Year 11. 

  • less than 20 years old when you begin Year 12. 

Course Enrolment for Tertiary Education 

You must be enrolled in a full-time course of study or training and you must provide evidence of this through documentation accompanied with your application. 

Welfare Arrangements 

If you are under 18 years of age, you must have your welfare arrangements in place before you begin studying in Australia. Your student guardian can be a parent, legal custodian, or relative over 21 years of age. They must have a valid visa to stay with you in Australia for the duration of your student visa, or until you turn 18. 

You will need to complete the Student Guardianship Arrangements form and attach it with your student visa application. 

English Language Requirements 

Depending on your country of residence, you might have to provide evidence of your English language proficiency. All applicants who hold a UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Republic of Ireland passport are exempt from this. 

If you do need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, you can find your nearest IELTS test centre here.

How to Apply for an Australian Student Visa

Before You Apply 

If you reside outside of Australia, make sure to apply for your visa at least 6 weeks before the start date of your enrolled course. If you are currently in Australia, give yourself extra time to apply for your next visa to avoid having your current visa expire before your next visa has been granted. 

Other Considerations: 

  • You might need to conduct health examinations. Keep this in mind and complete your examinations before applying for your visa. 

  • Your passport must be valid before you begin your student visa application. 

  • If you need assistance with your immigration and visa application process, the team of migration experts at IDP Australia will be able to offer free help!

Gather Your Documents

The best way to identify and keep track of what documents you need to provide is to use the Document Checklist Tool. At the very least, you must provide: 

  • Your passport 

  • Education information including course enrolment, acceptance forms, etc. 

  • Overseas Student Health Cover

Apply for the Visa

To apply for a student visa, visit ImmiAccount to lodge your application, attach your documents, and pay the visa application charge.

Visa Application Outcome

The outcome of your student visa application will be sent in writing, regardless of whether you were successful or unsuccessful. 

If you were successfully granted your student visa, you will be provided with your visa grant number, the date your visa expires, and your visa conditions. 

If you were unsuccessful in being granted with your student visa, you will be informed of the reasons why your application was denied and whether you are able to review the decision made. 

Please note that your application charge will not be refunded if you were unsuccessful, so ensure that you fill out your application form accurately and provide all necessary documents. 

View our detailed guide on applying for a student visa