How to Apply For a Student Visa in Australia

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How to Apply For a Student Visa in Australia

You want to study in Australia, but you must obtain an Australia student visa before you go any further. The first in these step is to prove to the Department of Home Affairs that you indeed meet the relevant requirements to gain a Student visa:

  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
  • Financial terms
  • English proficiency necessities
  • Health and character elements

Another requirement is to fill out an Australian student visa application form, pay the application fee, and you also may be required to attend an interview. It’s a lot for you to remember and to go through, but we’ve listed the steps ahead to break it down for you.

Find out more about how to apply for a student visa in Australia, visit this immigration law website.

What’s a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)?

The GTE was introduced in November 2011, and it’s a requirement that the application must demonstrate a genuine interest in staying temporarily in Australia to study. Additionally, this can also be to accompany the student into the country as a dependent – spouse, child or guardian. The Department of Home Affairs decision-makers will consider these factors to decide whether you meet the GTE requirement:

  • Immigration history – if any;
  • The current circumstances in your home country;
  • The potential possibilities available to you in Australia, and
  • What value your chosen course has to your future aspirations.

While not always the case, to determine your eligibility towards meeting the GTW requirement, you may have to attend an interview either at the nearest Australian embassy or consulate. Other applicants will only be required to fill out the application form.

Completion of the Australian student visa application form

All international students, regardless of which country you’re from are required to:

  • Apply for the same visa – Student Visa (Subclass 500).
  • Must apply online.

Before starting the visa application process, a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer confirming your acceptance of registered course must be obtained. These courses must meet the guidelines of the Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses (CRICOS). The COE will be an online code that will be entered into the relevant section on the Visa application form. In some circumstances, there may be a requirement to pay a portion of the tuition fees.

Once you arrive in Australia, if you decide to change your course to a higher study level, you can easily proceed. However, switching to a lower level on the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) or a non-AQF level, you will need to go through the application process for another visa. Studies can be packaged together by doing two or more courses on your Student Visa (Subclass 500) where you can demonstrate a clear progression from one to the other.

Student Visa Requirements in Australia

The following information is required when completing your online visa application form:

  • Evidence of financial requirements – to demonstrate you have sufficient funds for your tuition, travel and living expenses while in Australia. The amount you need to prove you have includes $20,290 for a year for living costs. You also need to show that you can support any dependents you have with you, including their living costs and school fees. Otherwise, you need to demonstrate that you have a spouse or parents who early at least AU$60,000 a year and are willing to support you.
  • Proficient at speaking English – If you live in a country that doesn’t speak English or have never completed study in an English-speaking country, you will need to demonstrate that you can speak English at the required level. The tests typically include:
    • IELTS
    • TOEFL iBT
    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
    • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)

The score you are required to get will depend on the level of degree

you will be partaking in or whether you will be enrolling in English

Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELISOS) course.

  • Health – Before obtaining a visa, you may be required to take a medical or radiological check to see that you are well, particularly those training in the medical field. If this is what you have been advised, you will be required to attend an appointment with an Australian Immigration Department approved doctor.

All students, apart from those from Norway and Belgium, need to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This can be purchased through:

  • The University you are studying with
  • Australian Health Management
  • BUPA Australia
  • Medibank Private
  • Allianz Global Assistance
  • nib OSHC

The associated costs will depend on how long you are purchasing the cover and which provider you go through.

It should be noted that if students from Sweden have purchased their health insurance through Kammarkollegiet do not need to purchase OSHC. As part of their visa requirements, Belgium and Norweigan students do not need to purchase OSHC either.

  • Character requirements: To enter Australia on a student visa, you need to be of good character. This means you will have a criminal record check to ensure your criminal record isn’t too substantial. Additionally, you may be required to get a police certificate or statement and complete a Character Statuary Declaration Form.

Documents for Australian Student Visa 

There is a checklist feature on the Department of Home Affairs that enables you to mark of required documents to submit. For students, this includes:

  • Completed Australian student visa application form (157A)
  • Paid visa application fee – the current price at the time of writing this is AU$620 (~US$420) in most cases
  • Copy of passport biodata page
  • Copy of the Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of Offer
  • Evidence of sufficient funds and health insurance cover
  • Results for English proficiency test and criminal record check
  • Four recent passport-sized photographs

Once the documents have been collated and scanned, the next procedure is to create an account and apply online with the ImmiAccount application system.

It can take anywhere up to 4 weeks to process. You will find that when studying in Australia if your course is for longer than ten months and finishes at the end of an Australian academic year (Mid December) your visa is generally valid until around the 15 March of the following year. However, if your course exceeds ten months and finishes anywhere between January and October, following the completion of the course, your visa is usually valid for two more months.

If you need to apply for a visa beyond this point which is possible under some circumstances, consult with the Department of Home Affairs.

Using a Student Visa

Ninety days before your study starts, you can Enter Australia on your student visa. Within seven days of arrival, you must:

  • Give your education institute your residential address
  • Inform your education institute within seven days if this address changes.

Your visa is already issued with permission to work, however not until your course has started. Additionally, you cannot rely on this income to support yourself or your family while you are here. Once you are settled within Australia:

  • You may work for 40 hours a fortnight during term
  • During school holidays you may work full time

It should be noted that when studying a master’s degree by research or a PhD there are no work restrictions. Also:

  • Any work that is part of a degree is not limited by the 40 hours
  • Unpaid and Voluntary work also isn’t included if it is beneficial for the community and a genuine not for profit.

The obligations you must fulfil when using a student visa include:

  • Be enrolled in a CRICOS-registered course
  • Regularly attend classes
  • Make satisfactory progress
  • Maintain OSHC health insurance cover

You and your dependents must adhere to visa regulations; otherwise, a breach could result in cancellation of your student visa.