Student visas are available for a wide range of educational institutions in Australia including primary, secondary (high school), English language schools (called ELICOS schools), vocational and technical schools (including TAFE institutes in Australia), universities and other higher learning institutions.
Generally, student visas require that the student meet all requirements for English language and previous education as set by the institution you will attend. Additional requirements may include demonstrating your financial ability (or that of your parents, etc) to provide for yourself and your studies while in Australia, and Student visa holders are required to pay for and provide evidence of health insurance for themselves and any accompanying family members for the duration of their stay in Australia. Student visas require full-time study, and depending on the type of school you will attend and your country of citizenship, additional language or financial requirements may exist.
Currently, most student visa holders may work 20 hours per week while their course is in session, and may qualify for a Post Study Work (PSW) right upon graduation that can provide 24 months of work rights in Australia after graduation.
In addition to providing abroad study services, our Qualified Education Agents can help you choose and complete enrollment in an Australian educational institution that meets your needs and budget.
Partner Visa – Spouse
These visas allow an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is married to sponsor his or her spouse for permanent residency in Australia. For married couples, one of the key issues with obtaining this type of visa is establishing to the satisfaction of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that the marriage is genuine. We can work with you to create a submission package to accompany your visa application that will provide the strongest support for your spouse visa.
Prospective Marriage (Fiance) Visa
The Prospective Marriage (Fiance) visa is a temporary visa that allows an applicant who is outside Australia to travel to Australia to marry their partner. The visa has a strictly limited duration of 9 months, and must be issued to the applicant outside Australia. Once the applicant comes to Australia and marries, the couple can then apply for a Partner (Spouse) visa in Australia, and the applicant will be granted a Bridging Visa to allow him or her to remain in Australia until the Partner visa process is complete.
If a visa applicant comes to Australia on a Prospective Marriage visa and for whatever reason no longer remains in a relationship with the Australian sponsor, there are provisions by which the visa applicant may change sponsors to a different sponsor should the applicant choose to do so.
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and eVisitor Visas
Visitors from selected countries may apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or eVisitor Australian visitor visa.
These visas are generally valid for a maximum length of any trip of 3 months, and multiple trips may be taken within the 12 month period from the date of issue. They have requirements for health and character issues, and are intended for people who wish to visit Australia for tourism or to visit family and friends.
Note: Nepal doesn’t comes under ETA.
Business Short Stay Visa
The Australian Business Short Stay Visa (456) is intended for short-term business visitors to Australia who cannot qualify for an ETA or eVisitor visa.
Like the Business ETA, this visa is designed for business people who wish to visit Australia for short-term business purposes including seminars, conferences, conventions, short-term training, and meetings. Short-term work under this visa is only permitted in extremely limited circumstances.
The Business Short Stay Visa allows holders to visit Australia for one or more trips of up to 3 months in duration for each trip during the 12 month period from the date the visa is granted, depending on the applicant. This visa cannot be extended.
Applicants may be required to provide evidence of their business activities while in Australia, evidence of educational or professional qualifications, employment, previous contacts with Australian businesses or people, and a letter of invitation or details of the meeting or conference you wish to attend. You may also be asked for your itinerary while in Australia and an employment contract or letter from your employer if applicable. Applicants must meet health and character requirements, and have no outstanding debts to the Australian commonwealth.
The Australia visitor visas (676) is intended for people from countries that are not eligible for an ETA, or people who for some reason are not approved or eligible for an ETA.
Applicants are required to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial ability to cover their costs for the trip, and must meet character and health requirements. Australian Visitor visas are issued for a period of 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the applicant. Visitor visas issued for 3 or 6 months less than 12 months may be extended for a total duration of 12 months depending on the applicant. Generally visitor visas may not be extended past 12 months. Visa holders are not allowed to work under this visa.
Working Holiday Visas
These classes of visas allow a visitor to come to Australia for a trip of up to 1 year in duration and undertake casual work during their stay in Australia.
Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30, and have citizenship from a country on the approved list of countries for this type of visa. Limitations apply to the type and duration of work that can be undertaken on this visa.
Sponsored Family Visitor Visa
The Sponsored Family Visitor (679) visa allows an Australian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor an offshore family member to visit Australia for a period of up to 12 months. As a sponsor, you must be a relative of the applicant, including a partner, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or the “step” or adopted equivalent of any of these.
Applicants are required to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial ability to cover their costs for the trip, and may be asked to post a security bond which is refundable after the visitor has left Australia and complied with all the conditions of the visa.
Applicants must meet character and health requirements, and this visa is issued for a period of 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the applicant. With this visa it is possible to request a specific period of up to 12 months upon application. This visa is valid for a single entry only in Australia; holders cannot leave Australia and re-enter during the period of the visa. Visa holders are not allowed to work under this visa.
Visitor visas issued for 3 or 6 months less than 12 months may be extended for a total duration of 12 months depending on the applicant. Generally visitor visas may not be extended past 12 months.
Visitor visa holders are permitted to study in Australia for a period not exceeding 3 months.
In order to study in Australia, you will need to obtain an Australian student visa. You must be able to prove to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship(DIAC) that you meet the following key Australian student visa requirements: Genuine Student Requirement, Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement, financial requirements, English proficiency requirements, and health and character requirements. You’ll need to complete an Australian student visa application form, pay the visa application fee, and perhaps attend an interview. Read on for more detail on what all of this involves.
What is a ‘genuine student’?
First, what’s meant by the term ‘genuine student’? To meet the criteria to be classed as a genuine student, you must show that you intend to obtain a valid educational outcome and that you are equipped with the language, educational and material background to reasonably be able to do this. When assessing whether the applicant for an Australian student visa is a genuine student, factors considered include:
- English language proficiency
- Sufficient finances
- Prerequisite schooling (such as secondary and post-secondary education)
- Age requirements
- Intention to comply with visa conditions
What is a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)?
Introduced in November 2011, the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement states that the visa applicant must be able to demonstrate a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily for the purpose of study (or to accompany a student as a dependent (i.e. spouse or child), or as a guardian). The decision-makers at DIAC will consider the following factors:
- The circumstances in your home country
- The potential circumstances for you in Australia
- The value of your chosen course to your future
- Your immigration history
- Any other relevant matters
In order to determine whether you are both a genuine student and a GTE, you may be asked to attend an interview at your nearest Australian embassy or consulate. Some applicants will only need to fill in a visa application form.
Completing an Australian student visa application form
You’ll first need to make sure you’re applying for the most relevant visa, using the correct Australian student visa application form. The DIAC website has a Visa Finder feature to help you find the most relevant type of visa for your circumstances. Most international students looking to study an undergraduate (bachelor’s) or postgraduate (master’s) degree will qualify for the Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573). Most students will be eligible to apply online, but if you find you cannot, you must make a paper application to the Australian embassy or consulate in your country. You can only apply online for a student visa a maximum of 124 days before your course starts.
Before applying for a visa, you will need to obtain a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer confirming that you have been accepted into a course registered under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses(CRICOS). The COE will be in the form of an online code that you will need to enter into the appropriate section in the online visa application. You may also need to pay a deposit towards your tuition fees.
You will be able to change course afterwards, if you wished, but it must be to one of the same level, otherwise you will need to apply for a new visa entirely. Students may also package their studies to combine another course with their main course of study, in which case the visa application subclass will correspond to their main course of study (i.e. if your main course of study is an undergraduate degree, your visa subclass will be 573).
All students will need to identify their Assessment Level (AL) before they can proceed with their visa application. The AL is based on the course you intend to take and your country of origin, with AL 1 students regarded as the lowest immigration risk and AL 5 students the highest. The visa process will be slightly different depending on your assessment level, with students with ALs other than 1 having a more complicated visa application process.
The visa process is also different if you qualify for ‘streamlined visa processing’. This is available for international students wishing to study in Australia at a participating university, if their main course is a bachelor’s degree or a master’s by coursework. If you are eligible for streamlined student visa processing you are not assigned an Assessment Level, as students eligible for this service are automatically determined to be low immigration risk. Eligible students will also have reduced evidentiary requirements for their student visa application. Students who intend to package their courses may still be eligible for streamlined visa processing if they meet certain requirements.
Australian student visa requirements
When filling in your online visa application form, you will need to provide evidence of the following Australian student visa requirements:
Financial requirements: Evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs. The Assessment Level of the student determines the level of funds required, who can provide these funds and how long the funds must be held. If you have dependents (such as a spouse and children), you will also need to show evidence of being able to cover living costs for them, regardless of whether they intend to travel to Australia or not.
English proficiency requirement: While all students are required to demonstrate they have the appropriate English language proficiency for their course, AL 1 and 2 applicants need only meet the requirements specified by their higher education provider, while AL 3 and 4 applicants must also provide DIAC with evidence of their English language proficiency. The DIAC website lists eligible tests, with possibilities being the IELTS, TOFEL iBT, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) test. The score you will need will depend on whether you are starting a full degree, doing a foundation course, or enrolling on a preliminary English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
Health requirements: Some students may be advised to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they are in good health (this applies, for example, to those who intend to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse). If told to do so, you must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian immigration department. Except those from Belgium or Norway, all students are obliged to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover(OSHC). You may purchase this cover through your university, or directly from one of the five approved providers: Australian Health Management, BUPA Australia, Medibank Private, Allianz Global Assistance and nib OSHC. The average cost of OSHC is AUS$437 (US$383) for 12 months for a single student. Students from Sweden who have purchased health insurance through CSN International or Kammarkollegiet will not need to purchase OSHC.
Character requirements: All students will also be assessed against the character requirements stipulated by DIAC. This includes a criminal record check, to make sure you don’t have a substantial criminal record. You may also need to acquire a penal clearance certificate (or police certificate) or get a police statement, and may be asked to complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form.
Australian student visa documents
The DIAC website has a document checklist feature that will provide you with a list of documents required for your specific type of student visa. You simply need to select the type of visa you are requesting, and either indicate that you are eligible to apply for streamlined visa processing or select your appropriate Assessment Level. Then select ‘View Checklist’ to open a PDF document with all the necessary documents you need to provide. Typically, students must submit the following:
- Completed Australia student visa application form (157A)
- Paid visa application fee
- Copy of passport biodata page (some students may be asked to physically provide their passport)
- Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of Offer
- Evidence of sufficient funds
- Evidence of health insurance cover
- English proficiency test results
- Criminal record check results
Visa processing times will vary depending on your Assessment Level and the type of visa you are applying for. Allow up to four weeks, with online applications usually being considerably quicker. Your student visa will last for the duration of your studies, including holiday periods, and will also allow you some time to remain in Australia at the end of your course, in order to prepare for departure. Under some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course (consult the DIAC website for more details).
Arrival in Australia
You can arrive in Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts. Within seven days of arrival, you must inform your education provider of your resident address. While on a student visa, you may work up to 40 hours per fortnight during term time, and full time in the holidays. The visa is automatically issued with ‘permission to work’, although you are not allowed to begin working until your course has started. Keep in mind that any work required as part of your course is not included in the limit. If you intend to do unpaid or voluntary work, you must still apply for permission to work, and can still only work up to 40 hours per fortnight as mentioned above.
While in possession of a student visa, you have certain obligations to fulfil: you must remain enrolled in a CRICOS-registered course, attend classes regularly, make satisfactory course progress and maintain OSHC health insurance. There are also certain visa conditions you and your dependents must comply with; breaching a visa condition may result in the cancellation of your visa.