Student visa extension - step-by-step guide
While the visa application isn’t complex, you must follow it precisely. If you want to extend the Australian student visa, read on as we outline what you need to do to stay in the country and continue your adventure!
There are four scenarios where you might need to extend your visa:
- an extended research application
- a new course of study
- you have already submitted your post-grad thesis, but your visa expires before the marking will be complete
- your course has been extended for some reason and your visa expires before you’ll complete it.
Contact us, if you’re not sure which category you’re in or if you need help processing your application.
Recent Visa Update
Currently, there is no automatic extension of a student visa in Australia. However, if your visa is expiring and can’t return to your home country or your course has been extended, you’ll need a way to legally stay in the country.
You have two options: You can apply for a student visa again, or apply for a visitor visa.
What you do is dependent on your situation and this may not be the same as everyone else. If you are still studying and are intending to continue, then a student visa is the logical choice. If you have suspended your studies and intend to return home when you can, a visitor visa is adequate, however you cannot work on this visa.
During this time, there may be delays and problems in accessing some visa services.
- there have been issues accessing the VEVO system. Instead, you can access information via your ImmiAccount.
- delays in getting appointments for medical checks
- additional information such as biometrics and English testing are delayed
In all instances, the Department of Home Affairs is aware of the problems and has allowed extra time in the process to account for that.
If your visa has already expired, you may be required to apply for a bridging visa E in order to remain lawful. This gives you time to make arrangements to leave, or resolve any immigration issues.
How to apply for a visa extension?
In Australia, to extend your student visa, you have to apply for a new visa before the current one expires. If not, you risk being deported, and it may affect the outcome of your future visa applications.
So, don’t procrastinate. Apply with plenty of time to put your paperwork together and to allow for processing time – up to three months is recommended.
You can apply onshore or from outside Australia, but the processes are slightly different. If you submit the valid visa application onshore, it’s likely you’ll be given a Bridging Visa A, or ‘BVA’. This lets you stay in the country while the new visa is processed.
If you apply from outside of Australia, you’ll have to wait for the outcome of the visa before you enter Australia.
Step 1: Enrol in your course of choice and arrange an Overseas Student Health Cover
- you need a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your educational institution. IDP Education can help you find the right education provider for the course you would like to study. This letter is given after you’ve enrolled, been assured a place, and paid your course fees.
- the Australian government requires you to have health insurance, so you’ll have to continue your existing Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This needs to be pushed out until the end date of the new visa. Get in contact with your health insurance agency and extend your end date.
Step 2: Collect required documents for your student visa application
Now that you’ve got your CoE and secured OSHC, you can put your paperwork together for your application. Use the Document Checklist Tool to see what to will need to provide the Department of Home Affairs. The list of documents required may change depending on your education provider and the reason you’re applying.
You will need:
- a certified copy of your birth certificate
- passport ID page and a copy of every page with an Australian immigration stamp
- national ID car
- CV/ Resume
- your CoE, unless you’re waiting on a post-graduate thesis marking, in which case you need a letter from your institute/ university.
- marriage certificate, if applicable
- migration agent form 956 if required
- parental consent if under 18 years old
- OSHC policy number, making sure the dates of your policy match the visa
- personal statement. This needs to include why you’re extending your studies, your situation back home, your situation in Australia, and why the course is important to your future.
Financial capability evidence and this can be determined by:
- providing evidence you have enough money for a year to cover your expenses and your course fees for you and your accompanying family members and any school costs for any school-aged dependants, or
- evidence that your spouse or parents can support you and have an income of at least AUD$60,000 annually for single students or at least AUD$70,000 for students that are accompanied by family members.
- an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students form for secondary exchange students only
- a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence
You must also provide evidence that you have genuine access to money. You will need:
- a record and history of financial assistance from a business or person
- to explain any recent large deposits in your account or wage payments
- to proof you have an education loan to cover your tuition fees and living expenses
- if you have another loan type, evidence of agreement and ability to cover costs must be provided
Step 3: Submit your Australian student visa application
Pop into your ImmiAccount, attach all the relevant documents and lodge your application. This will cost you AU$ 620.
You’ll receive a letter of acknowledgment from the Home Office, and your Bridging Visa (if submitted onshore). Check your email often for communication from the Home Affairs office and respond to any queries quickly to ensure a fast turnaround time.
If your visa is denied, don’t panic. Sometimes, a case officer needs more information. If this is the case, they’ll email you with an IMMI S56 Request for more information. If they have simply denied the visa, you can appeal the decision using immigration professionals (for onshore visa applications only).
Step 4: Biometrics
Applicants may be asked for biometrics right after lodging an application. You will receive a letter and will also be able to see this request in your ImmiAccount. It’s important to act as soon as you receive the letter and instructions as you will be given 14 days to provide biometrics.
Step 5: Medical examination
You may also need to get health checks done to prove you’re in perfect health. If you had a check-up more than a year ago, you need to undergo another health examination. In your ImmiAccount, click on the ‘health assessment’ tab. You’ll be given a HAP number and a referral letter for a clinic, outlining which assessments you’ll need. Give the clinic your HAP ID and referral letter.
Once you’ve done the checks, the eMedical service will forward the report to the Department of Home Affairs for further assessment.
Step 6: Hold a valid visa
You will be granted a Bridging visa A (BVA) if you applied for this visa when you were in Australia. The BVA allows you stay in Australia while the visa is processed and commences as soon as your current visa expires. Please ensure you don’t travel on your BVA as you lose the right to return as the visa cancels on departure. It’s also important to remember that you don’t cancel your current visa. If you do, you’ll:
- be staying in Australia illegally
- not be eligible for a Bridging visa A
Step 7: Apply before you travel
Ensure that your current visa is valid and allows you to travel. The Bridging visa A will be terminated if you leave Australia. However, if you have a BVA and strong reasons for travel, a Bridging visa B (BVB) would enable you to return to Australia while your application is being processed.
Go to VEVO to check if you can travel on your current visa.
Step 8: Application outcome
Once the case officer is assigned to your visa application, he/she might contact you for further information or make the decision on the application without contacting you. If the visa is granted, you need to inform your Australian education provider and make the necessary arrangement for your further accommodation in Australia.
Just remember to leave plenty of time to apply and provide all the paperwork they ask for. That way you know that you’ll get to stay in Australia and hang out with koala bears and kangaroos for a bit longer (and finish your education).
Contact us to find out how IDP Education can help you with your student visa application or finding your dream course at your preferred university.