Non-Australian citizens

The Department of Home Affairs(Opens in a new tab/window) manages all immigration matters, including the approval, status and timing of visas. If you have any questions about your visa or other immigration matters, contact the Department of Home Affairs(Opens in a new tab/window).

You can check your conditions online using VEVO(Opens in a new tab/window) to find out whether your visa is temporary or permanent.

For non-Australian citizens, your eligibility to access a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and/or a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan depends on your visa and residency status:

You must tell your provider if your citizenship and/or residency status changes while you are studying.

New Zealand citizens

New Zealand citizens are eligible to access a CSP, but do not meet the eligibility criteria to access a HELP loan.

However, some New Zealand citizens can get a HELP loan. To be eligible for a HELP loan you must:

  • be a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder or formerly be a Special Category Visa holder and on a pathway to Australian citizenship;
  • meet ALL of the long-term residency requirements; and
  • be living in Australia while you study.

Long-term residency requirements

Your higher education provider will ask you to supply documentation to assess whether you meet all of the long-term residency requirements. The long-term residency requirements for New Zealand SCV holders (and former SCV holders) are that you:

  • first began to be usually resident in Australia at least 10 years ago,
  • were a child under the age of 18 with no spouse or de facto partner when you first began to be usually resident in Australia, and
  • have been in Australia for at least:
  • a total of eight out of the past 10 years (from when you apply for the loan), and 
  • a total of 18 months out of the last two years (from when you apply for the loan).

If you do not meet ALL of the above requirements, you cannot get a HELP loan.

New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holders transitioning through a permanent resident visa to Australian citizenship

From 29 June 2023, New Zealand citizens who formerly held a Special Category Visa and have transitioned to a permanent resident visa on the pathway to citizenship will have continued access to the Higher Education Loan Program.

This amendment will allow these students to return to their course of study, without the burden of upfront payment of tuition fees while they wait for their Australian citizenship to be granted.

Residency requirements during study

As a New Zealand citizen and/or NZ SCV holder, you must be resident in Australia for the duration of your unit(s) to meet the CSP and HELP residency requirements. However, any period of residence outside Australia will be disregarded if:

  • it cannot be reasonably regarded as indicating an intention to reside outside Australia for the duration of the unit, or
  • it is required for the purpose of completing a requirement of that unit.

Permanent residents

As a permanent resident, you are eligible to access a CSP. You are not eligible to access a HELP loan.

If you are a permanent resident who gained your professional qualifications overseas and are seeking to meet Australian standards for professional practice, you may be able to access HELP for a very specific bridging study.

If you are a permanent resident who was formerly a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder, but have transitioned to a permanent resident on the pathway to Australian citizenship, you may be eligible to access HELP if you meet the residency requirements.

Permanent humanitarian visa holders (and eligible former)

Permanent humanitarian visa holders and eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holders can access both a CSP and a HELP loan if they meet the residency requirements.

An eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder means a person who is:

  • not a permanent humanitarian visa holder; and
  • was previously a permanent humanitarian visa holder; and
  • is the holder of a visa of the subclasses 155 and 157 (Resident Return).

Residency requirements during study

As a Permanent humanitarian visa holder (or eligible former), you must be resident in Australia for the duration of your units(s) to meet the CSP and HELP residency requirements. However, any period of residence outside Australia will be disregarded if:

  • it cannot be reasonably regarded as indicating an intention to reside outside Australia for the duration of the unit, or

  • it is required for the purpose of completing a requirement of that unit

Pacific engagement visa holders

Pacific engagement visa holders can access both a CSP and HELP loan, as long as they are resident in Australia for the duration of their unit(s).

A pacific engagement visa holder is a person who holds a Subclass 192 (Pacific Engagement) visa under the Migration Regulations 1994. This is a permanent resident visa for eligible individuals from participating countries across the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

Temporary visa holders

Temporary visa holders are classified as international students. International students cannot get a CSP or a HELP loan, and must pay the international student fees set by their higher education provider.

Contact your higher education provider to ask about any other financial assistance such as scholarships you may be eligible for.

Information for international students who want to study in Australia can be found on the Study Australia(Opens in a new tab/window) website.

Have you thought about