The financial capacity requirement is an important criterion when the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) is assessing a Student visa (subclass 500) application. The applicant must have genuine access to sufficient funds to cover the expenses that they and any accompanying family members may incur during their intended stay in Australia. All applicants are required to declare that they meet this criteria. Depending on a combination of your citizenship as well as your education provider, you may be required to provide further evidence to support this.
Read: Student 500 Visa
Amount of funds to demonstrate
In demonstrating that one meets the requirements, the following may be provided:
Money deposit(s) with a financial institution: Bank statements. Term or fixed deposits may be used if the money will be released and the applicant will have genuine access to the funds
Loan with a financial institution: May include credit cards and line of credit
Financial support from a government, education provider or international organisation: Supporting documentation from the relevant organisation confirming and describing the scholarship or financial support needs to be provided. Note that additional funds may need to be demonstrated if there is are family members to cover
The specific amounts based on the applicant’s situation may be found in this legislative instrument.
Sufficient funds for travel, living, tuition and school costs
The total amount of funds that needs to be shown is the sum of:
- The living cost amount defined this legislative instrument for the first 12 months or pro rata amount
- Tuition fees for the first 12 months
- Travel costs for the applicant (flights)
First 12 months
The first 12 months, if the application is made outside Australia, starts from the applicant’s expected arrival in Australia. If the application is made in Australia, the first 12 months starts on the day the student visa is expected to be granted.
If the intended stay is less than 12 months, the evidence of funds that needs to be provided will be on a pro rata amount.
Using annual income
If the applicant is unable to provide the specified evidence of income, funds for travel costs and the first 12 months of living costs, tuition and school costs, they may use annual income as a means of demonstrating financial capacity. It is important that the income is of the spouse, de facto partner or parents. In the case of using income from parents, income may come from both parents and only the applicant’s parents are eligible. Income from parents-in-law is not accepted.
The applicant must also show that they have genuine access to the funds. For example, if the income stream were the spouse’s and the spouse is to accompany the applicant to Australia, that income would no longer be accessible. Alternative methods of proving that there is financial capability must be provided.
Genuine access to funds
It is important not only to show that you have sufficient funds but also to have genuine access to funds. The DOHA will pull on these factors when considering if the applicant actually has genuine access to funds:
- The source of the income used to meet the financial requirements (for example, if the applicant is relying upon funds from a third party, and the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the person providing the funds)
- The employment history of the applicant or person providing the funds
- The income and assets of the applicant or person providing the funds
- If the person providing the source of income has provided financial support for another student visa applicant (see sibling student visa applicants or visa holders and student guardians)
- Any information which the DOHA has in relation to their financial status from the applicant having previously applied for or been granted a visa
- The immigration activities in Australia of other nationals from the applicant’s home country that may provoke further investigation into the genuine intentions of the applicant
- If the money accounts are held in the applicant’s name
- Whether the money is a lump sum amount or has been accumulated over time (such as in savings), or if there have been recent huge deposits
- Where the money is held
- The applicant’s age
- Family circumstances
- If the loan is for a considerable amount more than required
- If the loan was taken out a significant period before the visa application was made
- If the loan was provided as support for another student
- Business loans are not eligible
Government loans, scholarships or financial support
- If the support is from student’s education provider in Australia
- If the support is from Australian Commonwealth Government
- If the support is from government of a State or Territory in Australia
- If the support is from the national government of a foreign country
- If the support is from a provincial or state government of a foreign country that has the written support of the national government of that foreign country
- If the support is from an international organisation that operates across several countries (for example an agency of the United Nations)
Sibling students and student guardians
If the applicant has a sibling is a student visa applicant or student visa holder, or if the applicant has a student guardian who will be accompanying them to Australia, the DOHA will assess if the evidence provided for the applicant is the same as has been provided for their sibling or guardian. The evidence will also need to present sufficient funds to cover the costs of both students.
Combined application (secondary applicants)
- The living cost amount defined this legislative instrument for the applicant and the accompanying family members for the first 12 months or pro rata amount
- The student’s tuition fees for the first 12 months
- The school costs for all school-age dependents for the first 12 months or pro rata amount and
- Travel costs for the applicant and all family members.
Subsequent entrants, if required to provide documentation on their financial capacity, will need to show:
- Evidence that the primary applicant’s spouse/de facto partner or parents have a specified annual income or
- Evidence of sufficient funds to cover travel costs, and the first 12 months’ living costs and tuition costs for themselves and each family applicant, including those family members who already hold an associated student visa
The amount that is required to be shown is the same as that required in making a combined application. The 12 month period begins from when the subsequent entrant enters Australia, and not when the student visa applicant or holder entered Australia (a student visa holder may already have been in Australia for some time).
Situations in which DOHA may request more evidence
The DOHA may request for more or specific evidence if there are concerns about the application. Here are some circumstances in which DOHA may request further documentation:
- If the student has changed course since their visa was granted and is now studying at an education provider that would have resulted in the student having to demonstrate funds as part of their visa application. Requesting funds from family members in this situation would generally be appropriate only if the student has been studying for less than 12 months on their current visa
- Specific intelligence exists that raises concerns about the family members, the student’s or the entire family unit’s financial capacity
- If the applicant has been granted a visa previously, any information that the DOHA has in relation to their ability to meet their financial requirements while they were in Australia
- If the applicant has previously applied for a visa, any information that the DOHA has in relation to their ability to provide for their living costs while in Australia
- If the applicant has declared in their application that they do not have sufficient funds for the entire period of stay in Australia
Are you confused about how to evidence your financial capacity, especially if you are coming in with family members? Speak to a qualified agent to be sure how best to set the DOHA’s mind at ease on your ability to satisfy the financial capacity requirement.
Read: Student Visa (Subclass 500): Partner and Child Dependents