Australia, the world’s smallest continent as well as the world’s largest island, the name is derived from the Latin AUSTRALIS, means southern, legends of an “unknown land of the south.
Australia is often referred to as the “lucky country” with pulsating economy, political stability and a quality of life envied by many. Australia is known around the world for its stunning landscapes.
A great country to live in and do business, Australia has an enviable reputation as it offers a premium standard of living.
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Character and police certificate requirements
Everyone who wants to enter Australia must be of good character and will be assessed against the character requirements. As part of your visa application, you might be required to provide a police clearance certificate or other evidence to satisfy the character requirements.
The character requirements are set out under Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958.
How character is assessed
You will not pass the character test if:
- you have a substantial criminal record, meaning you have been sentenced to 12 months or more in prison, or multiple sentences that add up to more than 12 months in prison. A suspended sentence is considered a prison sentence.
- you have been convicted of escaping from immigration detention, or convicted for an offence that you committed:
- while you were in immigration detention
- during an escape from immigration detention
- after an escape, but before you were taken into immigration detention again.
- you are or have been a member of a group or organisation, or had or have an association with a person, group or organisation that the Minister for Immigration reasonably suspects of involvement in criminal conduct
- the Minister for Immigration reasonably suspects that you have been involved in people smuggling, people trafficking, genocide, a war crime, a crime against humanity, a crime involving torture or slavery, or a crime that is of serious international concern, whether or not you have been convicted of such an offence
- your past and present criminal or general conduct shows that you are not of good character
- there is a risk that while you are in Australia you would:
- engage in criminal conduct
- harass, molest, intimidate or stalk another person
- vilify a segment of the Australian community
- incite discord in the Australian community or in a part of it
- be a danger to the Australian community or a part of it.
- you have been convicted of, or found guilty or had a charge proven for one or more sexually based offences involving a child,
- you are subject to an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
- you are subject to an Interpol notice, from which it is reasonable to infer that you are direct or indirect risk to the Australian community, or a segment of the Australian community.
If you are applying for temporary or permanent migration
For the Australian Government to determine whether you are of good character, you might be asked to provide police certificates for each country you have lived in for 12 months or more, over the last 10 years (calculated immediately before the time the visa application is lodged), since turning 16 years of age.
You must declare all recorded offences to us. If you do not declare an offence and we become aware of this it might have a negative affect on your application.
Do not finalise any travel arrangements until after the grant of your visa. This is because visa processing times can vary depending on the visa type and your personal circumstances.
As part of the character assessment, you might be asked to complete a Character Statutory Declaration (34KB PDF file).
In some instances you might also be required to provide personal details to allow more character checks to be undertaken. Your case officer might ask you to complete Form 80—Personal particulars for character assessment (611KB PDF file).
If you are applying for a visa outside Australia, you do not have to provide this information with your application. You will be advised when it is required.
If you are applying in Australia, you should provide this information with your application.
If you are applying for Australian citizenship
If you are applying for Australian citizenship you will be assessed under the good character requirements.
Information about Good character and offences for Australian citizenship is available on the application forms and the citizenship website.
You might be required to provide several documents to prove you are of good character.
Police certificates are also known as a penal clearance certificate in some countries. If you need information regarding penal clearance/police certificates for a citizenship application refer to the information on the Good character and offences page on the citizenship website.
When is a police certificate required?
If in the last 10 years after turning 16 years of age, you spent a total of 12 months or more in any country, including your home country, you may be asked to provide a police certificate from that country.
The certificate must cover the period of time from the issue date back to the age you ceased to be a minor, or must cover the whole time you were in a country.
For immigration purposes a police certificate is deemed to be valid for 12 months from the issue date.
How do I obtain a police certificate?
For instructions on obtaining a certificate from an overseas government or law enforcement authority, refer to the relevant country information.
Who could get this visa
- Before you apply for this visa, you must have:
- been accepted to study full-time at an educational institution in Australia
- organised appropriate welfare arrangements for the duration of your intended stay in Australia if you are under 18 years of age.
With limited exceptions, you must be enrolled in a course of study that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
If you are applying from outside Australia, you must include a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for each intended course of study with your visa application. A letter of offer from your education provider will not be accepted.
If you are applying for more than one course in your student visa application, you must include all Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) codes in the application form or the visa may only be granted for the CoE provided.
- You do not need to provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if you are:
- sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – provide a letter of support
- sponsored by the Australian Department of Defence – provide a letter of support
- a secondary exchange student – provide an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form
- a postgraduate research student required to remain in Australia for marking of your thesis – provide a letter from your education provider.
If you are in Australia, you can apply with one or more letters of offer but you must provide the CoE/s to be granted the visa.
Students under 18 years of age
If you are under 18 years of age, you need to have welfare arrangements in place while you are in Australia. More information is available aboutWelfare arrangements for students under 18.
Genuine temporary entrant
The GTE requirement applies to all student visa applicants. The officer assessing the visa will and consider whether the individual circumstances of the student indicates that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia. You must satisfy us that you have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.
English language requirements
You might need to provide evidence of your English language skills with your visa application.
If you are required to provide evidence of your English language skills with your application and you do not do so, your visa could be refused.
Evidence of English language
If you need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, there is a minimum English language test score we will accept.
Financial capacity requirements
You need to have enough money that is genuinely available to you, to pay for your course fees, and travel and living costs for you and your accompanying family members while you are in Australia.
If the Document Checklist lists evidence of financial capacity as a requirement, it must be attached to the visa application form or your visa could be refused without requests for further information.
If you do not need to provide this evidence with your application, we have discretion to ask you for this during the application process.
If you are a secondary exchange student, provide a completed Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form as evidence of meeting the financial capacity requirement.
If you are sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence, provide a letter of support as evidence of meeting the financial capacity requirement. You must provide evidence of financial capacity for accompanying family members.
Evidence of financial capacity
- If you need to provide evidence of financial capacity, you will be able to demonstrate this by providing one of the following:
- evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and (for school aged dependants) schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members
- evidence that you meet the annual income requirement
- an Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Students (AASES) form (secondary exchange students only)
- a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Department of Defence.
Subsequent entrants – family members who apply after the primary applicant has been granted their visa must also provide documentary evidence of financial capacity. This must be one of the options above.
You must meet the health requirements.
You might need to undergo health examinations as part of the visa application process.
The health assessment process can take several weeks to complete. To help avoid delays, you can choose to undertake your health examination before lodging your visa application.
More information is available about My health declarations.
You must have adequate health insurance while in Australia. Students can show this by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance.
Everyone who wants to enter Australia must be of good character and will be assessed against the character requirements.
You must answer some character related questions on your visa application form and the information you provide will be used to assess your character.
You might be asked for more information.
More information is available about Character and police certificate requirements.
If you are applying in Australia, you must hold a current temporary substantive visa, but not any one of these visas.
Family members applying to join you
You and your family members can make a combined application or they can apply to join you later provided you declared them in your student visa application or they became a family member after the grant of your student visa (such as a newborn baby).
You must have funds to support yourself and all accompanying family members already in Australia as well as those included in the current application.
More information is available about How to apply for family members to join you.
English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
Student visa applicants can apply to study in ELICOS in Australia. If you are intending to study standalone ELICOS for more than 12 months, you should provide lots of information with your application showing how you meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement.
There is flexibility to extend the length of ELICOS where it is needed. This will be determined on a case by case basis.
Students can apply for a student visa to study at primary or secondary school in Australia, regardless of their country of citizenship.
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