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If there is something that all international students in Australia can agree on, it is that time in Australia flies!
It’s when you start enjoying the country and practicing your English, that you realise you need to extend your visa.
For an International Student, it is really important to know what the process for the visa extension is as it may expire when you are still in the country.
Also, it is useful if you want to extend your stay while looking for other study programs and opportunities.
Moreover, if you get into the country as a tourist and you want to start your studies there, there is no need to go back home.
All this process can be made in Australia, but you have to make sure to be accepted in a CRICOS registered institution for a course no less than 3 months.
How to apply for a student visa extension in Australia
The last 4 months before your visa expires are essential to start thinking about the process of renewal. But the best time to do it is 1 or 2 months before the expiration of the visa.
Once you decide that you want to extend your visa, you need to obtain a confirmation of enrolment from a CRICOS registered institution.
This COE states that you were accepted to study there and the duration of the program.
What are the study programs that will let me extend my student visa?
English Languages Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
ELICOS are intensive English courses for international students. As stated before, they can’t last less than three months if you want to apply for the student visa extension.
There are 4 types of ELICOS courses for you must take into consideration:
- General English
- English for Academic Purposes
- English for Specific Purposes
- Exam Preparation
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
VET are training courses offered by Australian Government accredited establishments. They focus on providing students specific skills with strong practical content for a specific profession.
Before applying you have to consider what VET you are most interested in.
After that, you have to find the place where you want to study, make sure that you comply with all the requirements and also make sure what will be the duration of the training course.
There are 3 types of VET courses for you to take into consideration:
- Diploma (1 to 2 years)
- Advanced Diploma (18 months to 3 years)
- Vocational Graduate Certificate (6 months to 1 year)
Australia has several world top-ranked Universities that offer higher education courses like a Bachelor, Master, or Doctoral Degree.
You can even get involved in a dual degree for Bachelor where you can get two Bachelor Degrees.
There are 43 Universities in Australia that offer a wide range of courses to choose from. It all depends on your own personal taste and what goals you want to achieve in your life.
Other than that, you have to make sure that the institution accepts you and you get all the required paperwork from them in order to apply for the visa extension.
Requirements for a Student Visa Extension in Australia
The required documents vary depending on the institution you get accepted to and the type of Visa that you hold at the moment of the extension, but the majority of students have to have the following documents for applying:
- A new confirmation of enrolment (CoE letter, issued by the educational institution where you will complete your studies).
- The foreign student health policy (OSHC), which will cover you until the expiration date of your new student visa.
- A letter of motivation also known as Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement (GTE) which is basically a statement in which you tell the Department of Home Affairs what your intentions are when studying in Australia.
- The evidence that you have the financial resources to support you in Australia during your stay in the country.
- Your passport.
Remember that the best way to know exactly what documents you need for your specific case is to enter to the Document Checklist Tool, provided by the Australian Government.
Renewing your Student Visa in Australia
Normally a renewal for your student visa is required if your visa expires before you complete your courses.
If you still have to complete your thesis or if you want to start a new program in your school or in another school in Australia, then you need to extend your visa.
The not so exciting news is that you need to start the entire student visa process all over again to get a renewal.
But the great thing is, you don’t have to leave the country if you are already in Australia. You just will be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA) that allows you to stay in the country while the other visa is processing.
Also, you have to know that with this Bridging Visa A you can’t travel outside Australia while you wait for your visa renewal.
If you plan to do it then you will need a Bridging Visa B.
What are the steps to renew my student visa?
- Get a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your University or the new one in which you will study.
- Extend your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and keep in mind that a Health Examinations is important if you haven’t done one in a long time.
- You have to prepare all your supporting documents:
- Personal documents
- Confirmation of enrolment
- OSHC Policy Number
- Department of Home Affairs (HAP) ID Number
- Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement (GTE)
- Evidence of Financial Capacity.
- Submit your Student Visa Application
Renewing your student visa online
For submitting your Student Visa Application, you can do it online through the Department of Home Affairs.
What you need to do is log in to your ImmiAccount and submit everything once you have all the requirements ready.
After doing that they will send you a letter of acknowledgment and a copy of your Bridging Visa (BVA).
Don’t forget to check your email regularly for a response from the Department of Home Affairs.
If you got your new visa that is great news!
But if you didn’t you don’t have to freak out. You just might need to complete some additional requirements that did not satisfy the case officer.
On the other hand, if your petition for renewal got refused you still have options, so don’t worry.
You might want to contact an immigration agent for advice and appeal to this decision.
Student visa extension fee
If it is the first time that you are applying for a Student Visa Extension the fee will be $535.
Take into consideration that the only way of paying for this fee is by credit card and you will have to assume an additional charge of 2%.
Also, take into account that this payment is not refundable whether your Visa application got approved or not.
You will also have to pay the OSHC so try to find the best plan for you. The OSHC starts from around $8 a week.
Finally, as you are enrolling in an educational institution you will be required to pay the tuition fees as well.
Try to find the best option for you, so you don’t get fooled out of money.
Applying for a scholarship or find flexible financing at your institution is the best idea.
Student visa extension processing time in Australia
The Student Visas Processing times may vary depending on the specific situation but generally, it takes between 4 to 6 weeks to process.
If your application is successful you will get an email as well as a mail to your mailbox to go and pick up your visa.
To get the visa once is in the immigration office, will take between 2 to 3 hours.
As you can see, getting a renewal or extension of your international Student Visa is not hard!
Of course, it includes a lot of paperwork but at the end of the day is worth it.
After all, you will have the chance to spend more time and live in beautiful Australia for another long period of time.