This article originally appeared on The Student Housing Company blog.

If you’re planning on studying in Australia for four or more months, you’ll need to organise a student visa. When it comes to student visas, there are a few different options you can apply for:

1. Student Visa (subclass 500)
2. Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590)
3. Training Visa (subclass 407)
4. Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485)
5. Visiting and Studying (subclass 600, 601, 651)

So, how do you decide which student visa is right for you? Here’s our guide to the various student visas so you can figure out the best option.

1. STUDENT VISA (SUBCLASS 500)

What is this visa?

This is the student visa you’ll most likely be applying for. This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study full-time at a recognised educational institution.

The subclass 500 visa comes with an unnegotiable time limit of five years. After this, you’ll need to reevaluate your studies, reapply, and liaise with the Government to gain an extension.

If you’re wondering what types of study this visa entails, the Student Visa (subclass 500) covers the following:

  • Independent ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)
  • Schools (Primary and Secondary)
  • Secondary School Exchange Programs
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)
  • Higher Education
  • Postgraduate Research
  • Non-Award Courses
  • International Students Sponsored by The Department of Foreign Affairs or Defence

Visa Eligibility

Before you start applying, you’ll want to make sure you’re actually eligible for this type of student visa. When it comes to eligibility for the subclass 500 you must:

a) Be at least six years of age
b) Have been accepted into a CRICOS-registered educational institution
c) Have health insurance

Visa Application Process

Next comes the part of applying for your student visa. The subclass 500 has a fairly involved student visa application process. You’re going to need to:

  • Be enrolled to study a Government-approved course
  • Prove you’re a Genuine Temporary Entrant
  • Have adequate health insurance
  • Pass the English Language Requirements, and,
  • Have the Financial Capacity to pay for your student exchange.

With your student visa application, you’ll need to attach plenty of required documents. You have to collect, tick off and attach these documents. In basics, making sure that you attach all required documents is how you can safeguard your visa application from rejection.

Student Visa Costs

Now, like all things in life, your student visa (subclass 500) will come at a cost. This type of student visa is accompanied by a AUD$575 application fee.

Be warned and be prepared: The visa application and will include additional student visa costs including, but not limited to: health examinations, health insurance, English language test fees, police certificates, and financial capacity assessment.

2. STUDENT GUARDIAN VISA (SUBCLASS 590)

What is this visa?

The Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590) allows certain people to reside with a student in Australia. This is the case for under-18 students who have opted for protection from a guardian rather than a certified under-18 student accommodation provider.

Considering you’ll be the guardian of a student on the subclass 500, the longevity of this visa is the same: up to five years. Your visa mimics their visa.

Whether the student chooses to continue studies and reapply or go back to their home country, the guardian’s visa follows. If they stay you stay, if they go you go.

Other Conditions

The Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590) does allow guardians to work. However, there are some strict limitations on how much.

While the subclass 590 visa generally doesn’t allow you to work full-time, there is the exception of working up 20 hours a fortnight. Anything beyond this limit and you (and the student in your care) will be asked (forcefully) to leave the country.

The Student Guardian visa also allows you some study time. But, again, this is limited choice only.

The subclass 590 allows you to improve your English while you’re in Australia. So, you can study an ELICOS course for less than 20 hours per week.

The 590 visa also lets you spend a bit of time polishing up your general knowledge. You can study another course for up to three months. However, three months is the maximum limit for study. Otherwise, you’d have to apply for a student visa too.

Visa Eligibility

In terms of eligibility for the subclass 590 visa, you must:

a) Be the student’s parent, legal guardian or relative
b) Have enough money to support yourself and the student during your stay
c) Be able to provide accommodation and other support
d) Be at least 21 years of age

Visa Application Process

To make life easier, you can combine your Student Guardian Visa application with the Student Visa application. This just simplifies the submission process.

Like the Student Visa, you’ll have to go through plenty of your own visa requirements like proof of Guardianship, Genuine Temporary Entrant requirements, Health Examinations, Health Insurance, Police Certificates, and proof of Financial Capacity for yourself and the student you will be caring for.

And like the subclass 500, the subclass 590 visa requirements come with lots of required documents to attach.

Visa Costs

The Student Guardian Visa is AUD$575 and comes with plenty of other costs in the application process. Fees include standard items like health examinations, health insurance, police certificates, and proof of Financial Capacity.

3. TRAINING VISA (SUBCLASS 407)

What is this visa?

This one isn’t quite a student visa, but it does involve learning in some capacity. The Training Visa (subclass 407) is for people who want to come to Australia temporarily for occupational training and/or professional development.

Basically, the subclass 407 allows you to build your skills in your current occupation, area of tertiary study, or field of expertise. The intention of this visa is that you are learning. In this case, the Training Visa isn’t appropriate for anyone with the sole intention to work.

The subclass 407 visa allows you to take part in a structured workplace-based training course required for registration or to enhance skills in an eligible occupation. It also allows you to take part in a professional development training program in Australia.

Your work-place based occupational training (i.e. not professional development) must be for at least 30 hours per week, and no more than 30% of this can be classroom-based.

Length of stay on the training visa is up to two years only, because it’s not an intensive university course. You’re just building knowledge in a workplace environment – a bit like an internship.

Visa Eligibility

In terms of eligibility for the subclass 407 visa, you must:

a) Be nominated (unless your sponsor is a Commonwealth Government Agency)
b) Be invited (if your sponsor is a Commonwealth Government Agency)
c) Be at least 18 years of age (with some exceptions!)

Visa Application Process

The training visa comes with its own array of visa application requirements.

  • Functional English Language Skills:

This means being a holder of a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or Ireland, or you’ve successfully completed five years in a secondary institution or two years of higher education in an English-speaking institution.

If neither of these options apply, you’ll need to pass an English Language Test. Options include passing the IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, Cambridge English, or an assessment of functional English from a service provider.

  • Financial Support:

You’ll need to provide evidence that you can financially support yourself and any accompanying family members for the duration of your stay in Australia. This needs to be hard evidence.

  • Health Examinations & Insurance:

You will have to meet certain health requirements to enter the country, which means passing the health examinations. The examinations you need to take vary depending on your personal circumstances and home country.

With insurance, you are totally responsible for your health costs while you’re in Australia. You won’t be covered by Australia’s national health scheme. So, you’ve got to organise health insurance for you and any accompanying family members. And coverage must start from the moment you set foot in Australia.

  • Character:

You must meet character requirements, so make sure you get a police clearance from every country you have ever lived in for 12 months or more over the past 10 years (or since you turned 16).

Student Visa Costs

The Training Visa (subclass 407) application fee will cost you AUD$285. And as standard procedure, you can expect a lot of other application costs.

Additional costs include: health assessments, health insurance, police certificates, and any other certificates or tests that come with the application requirements.

  • Payment of Salary or Wages:

You must be paid salary or wages in line with Australian laws and practices. If your position is volunteer-based, then you and your sponsor must complete the Acknowledgment of unpaid placement forms. These should be lodged before nomination.

4. TEMPORARY GRADUATE VISA (SUBCLASS 485)

What is this visa?

The Temporary Graduate Visa is for international students who have recently graduated from an Australian educational institution.

On the subclass 485 you can live study and/or work in Australia temporarily after finishing your studies. This visa doesn’t restrict the type of work or the hours you work for a limited time.

The 485 visa comes in two streams:

1. Graduate Work Stream (18 months stay)
2. Post-Study Work Stream (two-to-four years stay)

And your qualification for the 485 visa must either:

  • Relate to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (Graduate Work Stream)
  • Be a higher education degree (Post-Study Work Stream)

Visa Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) you must:

a) Be younger than 50 years
b) Already hold an eligible student visa
c) Have included evidence that you met the English Language requirements
d) Meet the Australian study requirement in the last six months
e) Meet health and character requirements
f) Have insurance in Australia

Visa Application Process

In your 485 visa application, you need to go over the usual student visa requirements – it’s quite similar to the Student Visa (subclass 500) application.

You’ll need to include supporting documentation that you have:

  • English language ability
  • Meet health requirements and have health cover in Australia
  • Meet character requirements
  • Have evidence you have paid all outstanding debts to the Australian Government
  • Have completed the Australian study requirements. This is a given seeing as you’re applying for a Temporary Graduate Visa.

Student Visa Costs

There probably won’t be too many hidden costs in this visa application, seeing as you’ll have already paid for all these documents when you applied for the Student Visa (subclass 500).

A couple of things you will have to pay for is outstanding debts to the government and ongoing health cover.

But, the 485 visa does come at a pretty high cost. You’re looking at a sum of AUD$1,535.

5. VISITING AND STUDYING (SUBCLASS 600, 601, 651)

What is this visa?

If you want to come to Australia for a short period of time and short-term study, you can look into applying for a subclass 600, 601 or 651.

  • Visitor Visa (subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority Visa (subclass 601)
  • eVisitor subclass 651

On these visas, you can study for a maximum of four months in Australia, with a principal purpose to holiday in Australia. But, learning is still on the cards with your travels.

Visa Eligibility

  • You must be 18 to 30 years old and hold an eligible passport

Visa Requirements

For the subclass 600 you must:

  • Demonstrate that your principal purpose is to holiday in Australia
  • Provide evidence that you’re travelling to Australia as a Genuine Temporary Entrant
  • Have passed health examinations and have organised health insurance
  • Declare any criminal convictions and paid any outstanding debts to the Australian Government
  • Provide evidence of sufficient funds for airfares and personal support

For the subclass 601 you must:

  • Be a passport holder from an eligible country

For the subclass 651 visa you must:

  • Be an eVistor passport holder from an eligible country
  • Meet health requirements and have health insurance
  • Declare any criminal convictions and have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government
  • Show genuine intention to visit Australia only for a temporary period (on the basis of tourism of business activities)
  • Be outside Australia when you apply
  • Not have tuberculosis

Visa Costs

Visitor Visa’s (subclass 600) are priced from AUD$140 to AUD$1,020 depending on your circumstances.
Electronic Travel Authority Visa (subclass 601) will cost you a AUD$20 service fee for your online application.

eVisitor subclass 651 will not be charged any fee by the Department.

With all of these visas, you will be subject to differing fees depending on the visa requirements you must tick off.


The Student Housing Company (TSHC) is an award-winning student accommodation company, with purpose-built properties opening around Australia, including in Melbourne and Perth. TSHC’s vision is to change students’ lives by providing a better approach to student accommodation, with quality, support, convenience and value for money.