International students who wish to study in Australia must obtain an Australian student visa.
Students seeking an Australian student visa must first be accepted by an Australian educational institution to study full-time in Australia. A letter of offer or a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is mandatory to lodge a student visa application.
Students applying from outside Australia must submit the Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) with the visa application, as only a letter of offer is not accepted in this case.
Every international student coming to Australia must also meet all the health, character, language and financial requirements to obtain a student visa.
It’s important to note that the visa application process and the required documents can vary depending upon your country of passport, so it’s crucial to prepare an accurate document checklist.
Why Study in Australia?
Australia is one of the most popular destinations in the world to gain a top quality education. It allows students to study in a vibrant, culturally diverse, energetic and friendly environment. Aussies are laid-back, fun-loving, warm and welcoming people, who are always ready for a laugh, which is why international students enjoy studying in Australia and rarely suffer from homesickness.
Australian cities are constantly ranked at the top positions in the world for the best quality of life and highest standards of living. Studying in one of the top Australian cities and educational hubs like Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra is an experience of a lifetime!
The Australian education system is fair and highly focused on preparing students for a good life in the future. Top-ranked Australian universities and colleges are recognized all over the world and have lower tuition fees as compared to other countries like UK and USA. Living expenses in Australia are also quite affordable to suit the budget of most international students.
Australia allows international students to work up to 40 hours per fortnight when their course is in session and full-time during a course break. This comes in quite handy as it allows students to pay their living expenses and gain useful work experience at the same time.
Moreover, International students can also explore the scholarship opportunities for studying in Australia. Australian government and universities offer scholarship programs to high-performing international students to make their life easier in Australia.
Eligibility Criteria for Australian Student Visa
Any international student above 6 years of age, who has been accepted by an Australian educational institution to study full-time in Australia, can apply for an Australian student visa. Students below 18 years of age, have to make appropriate welfare arrangements for their stay in Australia before applying for a student visa.
International students are required to meet certain criteria before applying for a student visa. Students must supply evidential documents proving that they meet all the requirements needed to obtain this visa.
Although these requirements vary depending upon your country of passport, generally following documents are required by the Department of Home Affairs in order to grant an Australian student visa:
1. Confirmation of Enrolment
All international students must submit a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) to obtain an Australian student visa. It’s also mandatory that the student is enrolled in a course that is registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
2. Genuine Temporary Entrant
Students must provide a personal statement in English stating their intention of coming to Australia. This statement should satisfy the visa officer in deciding that the student’s intention of coming to Australia is to stay temporarily in order to gain a top quality education.
3. English Language Proficiency
Students from a non-English speaking country may have to take an English test to prove their English language proficiency. Students must obtain a minimum test score in an acceptable English Language Test to apply for a student visa. Following English Language Tests are accepted:
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language
C1 Advanced: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
PTE: Pearson Test of English
OET: Occupational English Test
4. Financial Capacity
Students must have enough money to pay for their tuition fees and living expenses while studying in Australia. Students may be asked to provide an evidence of their financial capacity along with their visa application. In this evidence, students must show that they have enough money to pay for travel, tuition and cover the living expenses of themselves and of any family members who are accompanying them to Australia.
5. Health Insurance
All international students must meet the health requirements of the student visa. Students may have to undergo medical tests as part of the visa application process. It is suggested that students undergo these tests before applying for the student visa to ensure that their visa is granted on time.
It’s also mandatory for overseas students to obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), which provides medical and hospital insurance to international students in Australia.
Students entering Australia need to be of good character. Their character will be assessed based on the character related answers they provide in their student visa application. The Department of Home Affairs may ask a student to provide further information in case they become doubtful of a student’s character.
7. Welfare Arrangements (Students below 18 years of age)
Students under 18 years of age have to either choose a student guardian in Australia, or a guardian who will accompany them to Australia on a Student Guardian Visa. Students also have the option to ask their education provider to organize these welfare arrangements for them.
The starting cost of Australian student visa (subclass 500) is AUD 575. There can be other costs related to the procurement of documents needed for the student visa application.
Most of the students are able to obtain a student visa within 1 – 2 months. The visa processing time can be different depending upon the country from where the student applies. It can also vary depending upon the student’s individual circumstances and how much time it takes to verify his documents and seek additional information.
Australian Student Visa Process (Simplified)
Seeking an Australian student visa is a 3-step process:
Apply to study at an Australian educational institution and get accepted.
Prepare all the documents required to lodge a student visa application.
Apply for a student visa yourself or through an education agent.
An Australian student visa allows international students to study, stay and work in Australia for up to 5 years. Upon finishing their studies, students can extend their visa for further studies, graduation, work, holiday, or immigrate to Australia.
All international students must abide by the conditions of their student visa; failing to do so results in their visa being cancelled. International students cannot work for more than 40 hours per fortnight unless they are on a course break. Students also cannot start working until the commencement of their course. Only students who are doing a Doctorate or Masters by research are allowed to work full-time on a student visa.
All students must remain enrolled in a course registered with Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). It is also crucial for students to maintain proper attendance as required by their education provider. International students must hold active health insurance i.e. Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of their course.
Students must inform their education provider of their address within 7 days of coming to Australia, and within 7 days of any change in their address later on. It’s needless to mention that international students must not indulge in any unlawful activity while studying in Australia.
If your English language skills are not good, you have the option to study a stand-alone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) in Australia before commencing your formal studies.
International students can invite their family members to join them in Australia. If any family member is accompanying the student to Australia, a combined application needs to be made. In case a family member plans to join the student, later on, the student must declare him/her on the student visa application.
It’s important for the student to show that he has the funds to support any family member who joins him in Australia.
As discussed previously, Australian student visa requirements can vary as per your country of passport. Therefore, it will be wise to check your individual requirements before preparing the documents.
Although international students can apply for a student visa themselves, many choose to go with an education agent to simplify the application process. Students applying through an education agent must ensure that the agent is an authorized representative of the educational institution where they plan to study.
Useful Topics to Explore:
|⇒ What does it cost to study in Australia?|
|⇒ Scholarships for International Students|
|⇒ Australian Universities Scholarship Table|
|⇒ Understanding Qualification Recognition|
|⇒ The Ultimate Guide to Australian Visas|
|⇒ How to Change Your Course or Institution|