Are you a traveler, adventurer and thrill seeker at heart who’s trying to prepare for a future career at the same time? These goals may seem to be at odds with each other, but they don’t have to be. By making the decision to study overseas, you can satisfy your wanderlust and get a world-class education at the same time. And as far as overseas study destinations go, Australia is hard to beat.
With globally renowned (and internationally recognised) universities offering everything from short courses to full doctorate programmes, you can pursue your dream course and enjoy the stunning sceneries and adventurous lifestyle of the outback at the same time.
But first, you’ll need to obtain an Australian student visa. A student visa offers you the freedom to explore and travel around Australia in your spare time, and also allows you to work on a limited basis. A student visa therefore provides you with a well-rounded exposure to Australia. It can also be a good starting point in planning your visa pathway if you may be considering a longer-term stay, or potentially settling in Australia permanently. Certain family members can accompany you to Australia on your student visa.
To obtain a student visa to Australia, you must complete a visa application form and lodge it online with the Department of Home Affairs. You must also attach specified supporting documents to your application at the time of lodgement.
We outline blow the key steps involved in applying for a student visa.
Step 1 Check the requirements for visa grant to confirm your eligibility
The main requirements for visa grant are as follows:
- Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) requirement – You must be enrolled to study a registered course and must provide a CoE for each course to evidence your enrolment (exceptions may apply)
- Genuine Temporary Entry (GTE) requirement – You must demonstrate your intention to temporarily reside in Australia and to comply with Student Visa conditions
- English language competency requirement – You may need to sit a prescribed English test (one option is the IELTS) and achieve a prescribed minimum test score. Certain passport holders are exempt from this requirement
- Financial capacity requirement – You must demonstrate that you have genuine access to a prescribed minimum level of funds to cover your living expenses and course fees for your initial 12 months in Australia and for your travel costs to Australia. Your accompanying family members are also subject to this requirement. Your passport country and proposed course of study will determine the amount of evidence that will be required
- Health Insurance requirement – You and your accompanying family members must have adequate health insurance cover for the length of your stay in Australia
- Health and Character requirements – Medical examinations and police checks will be required (also applicable to certain accompanying family members)
Step 2 Check the documentary evidence requirements
You must provide specified documents addressing requirements for visa grant. Documents to be provided include:
- Passport/s for you and your accompanying family members
- Evidence of your relationship with accompanying family members, where applicable (e.g. marriage and/or birth certificates)
- CoE (a Letter of Offer at time of lodgement will be accepted in certain cases but you must still provide a CoE for the visa to be granted)
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for you and your accompanying family members
- Evidence that you meet the GTE requirement, including a written statement and accompanying supporting documents
Step 3 Prepare and lodge a student visa application form online
Once you have confirmed that you are eligible for visa grant and you have gathered all required documents, you can then proceed to prepare and lodge your application form online with the Department. Ensure that you attach all required documents at time of lodgement. Failure to do so can result in processing delays or a potential visa refusal.
You will also be required to pay the visa application lodgement fee before you can submit your application. The cost will depend on whether you have accompanying family members and their ages. The base application fee for a primary student visa applicant is $575 (excluding payment surcharge, etc.). You should also expect to incur other costs such as medical testing and police clearances. Document translation costs may also apply.
Constantine Paxinos is a Registered Migration Agent and Chartered Accountant. He is a director of PAX Migration Australia, a leading, award-winning immigration agency based in Adelaide, South Australia. He has worked closely with international students for the last 5 years and has assisted hundreds of students with graduate and permanent visa pathways and is an active advocate for growing international students.