Getting an education from Australia is a golden opportunity for students to explore new worlds and ideas. If your student visa is going to expire soon, then without wasting time, read this article to get familiar with the procedure required to extend your Student Visa. Student Visa extensions are the same but different to applying for your original Student Visa. Just follow our simple Four-Step process, and you're on your way to renewing your stay.
Technically speaking, you can't extend a Visa! You can't raise the validity of your current Visa after completing your chosen academic program, but the good thing is that you can continue your education in Australia.
To continue studying in Australia (beyond your current visa expiry), you'll need to apply for a whole new student visa. It means you get to follow the entire student visa process all over again.
That is why we recommend you apply at least three months before your current Visa expires. Then you'll have a bit less stress if there are any issues with your new visa application.
But for conversation's sake, we'll refer to your new visa application as 'renewing' and 'extending'.
Now, as everything is clear, let's start with the basics. You'll need to apply for a student visa extension if:
Your current Visa will expire before you can complete your course (due to failed subjects, leave of absence, or reduced study load)
If your research candidature has been extended
You've submitted your post-graduate thesis for marking, but your current visa will expire before marking is finalized, or
You've commenced a new course of study. Go you!
Now, renewing your student visa is a bit of a long process. So, you'll want to start at least a month before your current Visa expires. At least! We still doggedly stick by our three-month recommendation.
If you're applying inside Australia, you'll (usually) be granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA). A BVA allows you to lawfully stay in Australia while your Visa is processing and will come into effect once your current student visa expires.
If you're applying outside Australia, you'll have to wait till your student Visa's granted before re-entering the country. On the upside, you can travel as much as you please without the Australian Government getting involved.
Now, the first thing you'll need to do (pre-application submission) is getting your hands on a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form. You can't extend your student visa if you're not able to expand your studies! The logic is undeniable.
So, extend, enrol, or re-enrol in a course and get your CoE from your favourite university of choice. The CoE is the #1 document you need to attach to your new student visa application. So, if you are enrolling at a new institution, make 100% sure it's recognised!
Like your previous student visa, you'll need health insurance. The Government wants you to be an example of perfect health during your stay in Australia.
In this case, you'll need to extend your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) policy until the expiry date of your new student visa. Just contact your current health insurance agency and organise to extend your policy dates.
Now it doesn't end at insurance. If your last health checks were over 12 months ago, you'd also need to sit another set of Health Examinations as part of your new student visa application.
So, if your last examinations were a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away you'd better get your health checks underway.
Use the My Health Declarations service to determine which health examinations apply to you. To do this, go onto the 'Health Assessment' tab on your ImmiAccount.
Once you have been given a HAP ID and referral letter, you can visit an approved panel clinic in Australia.
Once you've got all the main things (CoE, Health Examinations, and OSHC) sorted, you're ready to start organising your new student visa application.
It means preparing all your supporting documents!
The easiest way to do this is by using the Department of Home Affairs Document Checklist Tool. This checklist will help you to figure out which documentation you need to attach to your visa application.
Required student visa documents will include:
With personal documents you'll need to include your:
Passport identity page (i.e. every page with visa sample & immigration stamp)
National identity Card
A curriculum vitae
Just attach the documents that prove who you are.
Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) codes
Attach your CoE for your current course or new course/s you plan on studying. It is how the Australian Government knows you're genuinely staying longer in Australia to learn.
If you're extending your student visa due to a waiting period on your post-graduate thesis marking, then you may exempt from providing a CoE code. What you will need to include is a letter from your education provider to support your claims.
OSHC policy number
Make sure you attach the policy number of your new or extended health insurance. And ensure the policy dates match those of your new student visa.
HAP ID number
Sure, the Department of Home Affairs has access to your medical details. But you need to ensure they can find it! You must include your HAP ID number for reference, so the assessors know you're okay and well.
Personal statement to satisfy the GTE requirement
Once again, you need to prove to the Government you want to extend your student visa for STUDY, not for the sake of hanging around in Australia a bit longer. It's a lovely country we know. But still, there are limits.
Make sure your statement is written as earnestly and detailed as possible so you don't get caught up in any epic visa fails.
Evidence of financial capacity
Just because you want to keep studying in Australia doesn't mean you can afford it!
Money is everything when it comes to student exchange and extending your Visa. Your visa application assessors will be making sure you've got the right digits to continue your studies. Extending your Visa comes with extended student visa fees.
You'll need to provide evidence of your financial capacity to continue studying in Australia. Options come in the form of:
12 Months Fund: This option works if you're planning on doing an extra year or more of study. You'll need evidence of funds to cover 12 months of living and course fees.
Genuine Access To Funds: With this option, you'll need evidence that you'll genuinely have access to funds while studying in Australia. It includes:
Evidence of financial support, relationship, and any history of financial support from another person or business.
If relying on a financial deposit, explain any recent large deposits or ongoing deposits like wages.
If you have an education loan, disbursement should be provided, i.e. the terms and the total amount to be disbursed.
If you're relying on another type of loan, show evidence of collateral used to get the loan, terms of the agreement, and capacity to cover ongoing costs.
To submit your Visa Application, you can apply online with you guessed it: the Department of Home Affairs. So once your student visa application seems appropriate and ready for the (official) human eye, submit the application on your ImmiAccount.
Once you've lodged your visa application, the Home Office will send you a letter of acknowledgment, along with a copy of a Bridging Visa (BVA).
That's a lot of information to process. So in case you're suffering from goldfish brain, the bridging Visa is what keeps you legally in Australia while your application for visa renewal is being processed.
Make sure you check your nominated email regularly for any correspondence from the Department of Home Affairs, like visa status updates. In addition to this, if you are not confident about lodging student visa application, we recommend you to book your appointment with our experienced migration team. All visa applications are processed by our registered migrations agents.