Renewing your Student Visa: What you need to know
From your original application for your Australian Student Visa, it was made evident that it is vital to have all your ducks in a row and be completely prepared – the renewal process is no different. You must apply before your current student visa expiry. For those careless students who forget their visa expiry and take action after their visa has expired (it does happen!), you will have a one time 28-day grace period to renew your visa once it has expired or depart Australia, departure after the 28 day period will result in a three year ban in any further temporary Australian visa. Given the severe consequences, it is prudent for international students to keep in mind that their time to study in Australia is not a holiday and by staying a few extra days you could permanently damage your international visitor status, causing you to have issues if you want to get another international visa (of any kind) in the future.
While you can’t actually renew your student visa, you can apply for a new one if your old one will expire before you can or before you have completed your course.
Reasons to apply for a new visa may include:
- your current visa will expire before you can complete your course due to failed subjects, a leave of absence or reduced study load
- your graduate research candidature has been extended
- you have submitted a graduate research thesis for marking, but your current visa will expire before the marking can be finalised
- you have started a new course
- your first visa was cancelled administratively by the Department of Home Affairs
If you’re planning on changing your courses or levels of study, you may need to make an immediate new visa application.
You probably remember the process of applying for your visa the first time but here’s a refresher, just in case.
How to apply for a new visa
Step one: Request a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
Before applying for a new visa, you’ll need to request an extended CoE from your institution.
Step two: Extend your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
Extend your OSHC policy to align with your new visa periods. You can continue with your existing insurer or find a new provider.
Step three: Prepare a Genuine Temporary Entrant Submission
You must prepare a personal statement to show that you are coming to Australia to study ‘temporarily’. You will need to include details such as your previous studies, gaps in previous studies, current employment, ties to your country, economic situations in your country, etc. This is a very important piece of document that immigration uses to assess your genuine intentions as a student.
Step four: Check that you satisfy other criteria
You may need to satisfy other criteria such a financial capacity.
Step five: Consider your location
Applying while in Australia
If you hold a current student visa and are eligible to apply for a new student visa onshore, you’ll be able to stay in Australia for as long as it takes to process your visa application.
When you pay for your new visa, you’ll receive an acknowledgement letter and a Bridging visa A (subclass 010) (BVA). Your BVA will only become active when your previous/current student visa has expired, and if your new visa application has not yet been processed.
If you hold a BVA and need to leave the country temporarily, you must apply for Bridging visa B (subclass 020) before leaving Australia.
Ensure you do not have a ‘no further say’ condition attached to your current visa as this prohibits you from applying for any new visas while you are in Australia.
Applying from outside Australia
If you are applying from anywhere outside of Australia, you must wait until your new student visa is granted before returning to Australia. Plan ahead and factor potential processing delays into your intended return date – this will ensure you are late when returning to university
Step six: Submit your application
After you apply, check your email regularly for correspondence from the Department of Home Affairs regarding your application status.
You may need to complete a medical examination but the instructions for the medical questionnaire and organising a health examination can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Step seven: Abide by your visa conditions
Once your student visa is granted, make sure that you read through your visa conditions carefully and ensure full compliance of the conditions as any breach may result in you losing your visa.
Extending your visa for thesis submission
Finishing on time
Graduate researchers must finish their thesis within their expected course duration stipulated when the course began.
If you don’t submit your thesis by the expected date, your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be cancelled and you will have 28 days to depart the country or make other visa arrangements.
If you submit your thesis within 28 days after your expected submission date, you should request a Confirmation of Marking Thesis (CMT) letter immediately. This will confirm your eligibility to remain in Australia during the examination period.
If your visa expires before submission
If you have had multiple extensions – your visa may not be long enough for you to submit your thesis. If this happens, you need to request a new CoE and apply for a new student visa.
If your visa expires during evaluation
If you submit your thesis while still in Australia, but your visa will expire before the evaluation of it has been finalised, you will need to request a Confirmation of Marking Thesis (CMT) letter and apply for a new student visa. Doing so will entitle you to stay in Australia until the evaluation of your thesis is concluded.
Besides the nitty-gritty – don’t forget about why you wanted to study in Australia in the first place. Here are a few reminders;
- Koalas and Kangaroos – enough said
- Most Australians are incredibly laid back and some of the friendliest people in the world
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism – and it’s beautiful
- There are over 10 000 beaches countrywide
- You can easily get close to the local wildlife – sometimes a little too close
- Australia has a multicultural society
- Great opportunities for study – Australia has an impressive number of study opportunities for international students with more than 1 200 institutions and 22 000 courses to choose from. Australia has the third highest number of international students in the world behind the UK and the US even though we have a much smaller population than them
Renewing your student visa in the correct time period is vital and doing so puts you in good standing with your renewal process. We have got you covered though, simply contact us and we can help you with the entire renewal process. We don’t want you to have to leave so don’t worry, we have got you covered.