Is your student visa expiring soon? Are you looking for the best way to extend your visa in Australia?
If you have finished your studies and your student visa is due to expire soon, there are a few options for extending your stay in Australia. Our education and migration team have written the following guide that goes through the different ways of extending your Australian visa. We will detail what your options are, the costs and best strategies to make a successful visa application.
What are the different ways of extending your stay in Australia after a student visa?
There are three primary ways to extend your stay in Australia after studying in Australia:
- Applying for a new study visa and continuing studying
- Applying for a 485 visa after finishing your studies
- Applying for a COVID Visa
In this guide, we will focus on the first pathway, but at the end, we will touch base on the last 2 options.
How to extend your student visa in Australia?
The first and most important consideration is what to study on your new student visa and this is going to largely depend on your final goal in Australia. Some students would like to improve their skills and then go back to their countries whereas other students might be looking for a long-term plan or how to achieve permanent residency in Australia.
If you are part of the first group, the first step you could take is to search on CRICOS the courses available for international students in Australia. CRICOS is a government-owned website and keeps updated records of courses in Australia. However, be aware that most of the time, the tuition fees listed there are indicative only. Most of the schools run special promotions during the year. A registered agent such as EMSA would be able to check for you for scholarships and discounts.
What to study to stay in Australia?
On the other hand, if you are thinking of studying something that leads to permanent residency, the first piece of advice is to talk to a migration agent. Each case is different and it’s important to have the right strategy from the beginning.
As a guide, you could check the Top 10 occupations in demand in Australia for skilled migration in 2022. However, remember that each occupation has different requirements to qualify.
We have created different guides to explain how certain occupations lead to permanent residency in Australia:
- How to get permanent residency as a carpenter in Australia?
- How to get permanent residency studying engineering?
- How studying social work could lead to permanent residency in Australia
- How To Get Permanent Residency As A Chef In Australia?
Also, we have prepared an infographic with the Top 6 Occupations to study to gain residency in Australia. This file will show what you can study that, we believe, have higher chances to help you get PR in Australia.
How much does it cost to extend the student visa in Australia?
The cost of extending or renewing the student visa in Australia is very similar to what you have paid the first time. You need to consider 3 main costs:
- Tuition Fees: The tuition fee is the total price you are going to pay for your course. You need to pay a fraction of this to get the Confirmation of Enrolment or CoE, which is the main document to apply for your student visa.The good news about extending your student visa in Australia is that most of the schools could offer payment plans. Depending on the course and the school, a payment from $500AUD will be able to secure your place and the CoE for your visa.
- Renewing your Overseas Student Health Cover. Remember, as with your first student visa requirements for health insurance, you will need to pay the full duration upfront. Depending on how long your new course will be, will define how much the insurance cost will be, as an approximate amount, it’s about $550 per year for singles (If you are applying with a dependant or children, the prices increase considerably).
- Student Visa application fee is $630 for the main applicant. If you are including your partner you would need to add $470 and for each child $155. Also, you might need to add a $700AUD fee for each applicant if it’s the second or more time you extend your visa in Australia (on-shore)When making the visa fee payment, please bear in mind that the Immigration Department charges around 1.1% for payments done online, which is the only method of payment available. This payment is a non-refundable fee regardless of whether the visa is granted or not.
There are a few more costs associated with extending your visa such as Medical examinations, English exams and materials you need to pay for your school. In this article, we explain a bit more about the Budget you need to extend your visa in Australia.
What documents do I need to extend the student visa?
This is another important question when thinking to extend your student visa. Same as the first time you applied, depending on your country of nationality and the school/university you have decided to study at-your student visa application could be considered streamlined or regular.
Streamlined Vs Regular applications
A streamlined student visa application means that you WON’T have to provide financial or English language requirements to immigration when applying for your visa. However, keep in mind that they might ask for it at any stage of the process.
On the other hand, a regular application means that evidence of English and financial support is mandatory when applying for your visa. Also, you might need to detail a bit more your GTE the reasons for studying in Australia.
|Provider Level 1||Provider Level 2||Provider Level 3|
|Country Level 1||Streamlined||Streamlined||Streamlined|
|Country Level 2||Streamlined||Streamlined||Regular|
|Country Level 3||Streamlined||Regular||Regular|
Overall you will need the following documents to extend your student visa:
- Overseas Student Health Cover
- Proof of studies in Australia and overseas
- English language requirement (there are different ways to prove this)
- Evidence of financial backing (mandatory for regular applications, but suggested if you have it)
- GTE or Statement of genuine temporary entrant
What’s the GTE or the genuine temporary entrant statement?
The GTE is a letter or statement you write to attach to your student visa application. The idea is to explain in detail why you want to study in Australia, and what is the benefit of studying in this country compared your country of residence, what goals or professional benefit you are going to get from the course, and more importantly what are the reasons or ties you have to go back after you have finished your studies.
This is the single most important document you need to have when you apply for a new student visa in Australia and therefore you need to spend some time writing this. The video below has some tips:
What happens after I’ve applied for a new student visa in Australia?
As soon as you apply for a new visa in Australia, you will be granted a Bridging Visa A. This visa will allow you to stay legally in the country after your current student visa expires. Depending on immigration workload, your visa could take 2 to 5 months on average to be processed.
During that time, you have the same conditions and responsibilities as your previous student visa. However, keep in mind this Bridging Visa A doesn’t have travel rights. In other words, you need to wait until your new student visa gets granted to travel outside of Australia or you might need to apply for a Bridging Visa B.
What other options do you have to extend your stay in Australia after a student visa?
This is a tricky question because it really depends on a case by case scenario. So it’s very important that you confirm your eligibility well ahead of time to avoid submitting an invalid application.
Option 1: Apply for a 485 visa
If you have studied a Bachelor, Master or PhD in Australia, you could be eligible to get a post-study work visa for 2 or more years. Also, if you have studied a Diploma or VET qualification such as carpentry or cookery, you could also apply for a 18-months graduate visa.
Due to COVID, the immigration department is giving the option for international students who studied in Australia for at least 92 weeks a Diploma or higher, the chance to apply for 485 visa too. However, it is very important that you understand you can apply for this visa only once, so you need to have a clear goal if you decide to go with this path.
Option 2: Apply for a tourist visa
If you don’t want to study anymore but instead need to wait for your graduation ceremony – or you want to travel around Australia, this visa might be the best option for you. The only downside is that you would lose your work-rights.
Also, you need to prove you are a “genuine” tourist and that you have reasons to leave the country after the visa expires.
Option 3: Apply for a COVID visa
More recently, the government created the 408 COVID Visa for international student who wants to work in Australia for up to a year supporting critical industries OR students who cannot travel back to their countries due to COVID.
This visa is a temporary measure by the government and allows students who only need time and are having issues to travel back to their country. Also, this visa might be useful for students that need work experience to open other visa pathways.
In conclusion, extending your student visa in Australia requires some planning, especially on what you want to achieve with more time in the country. Remember! every time you submit a new student visa application, it will be harder to justify why you want to keep studying in the country (due to the GTE criterion). So if you start with the goal in mind, you could get better results, and save money and time.
At Education and Migration Services Australia, we specialise in finding the best strategies for students who would like to get permanent residency. Contact our Education Team to know more about how we can help you achieve your dreams in Australia.