Visa Application Requirements for International Students
The Department of Home Affairs requires that you meet the following key Australian Student visa requirements:
- Evidence of enrolment (Confirmation of Enrolment)
- Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
- Complete an Australian Student Visa Application Form
- Financial requirements
- English proficiency requirements
- Health Requirements
- Character requirements
- Submit the accompanying Australian Student Visa documents
You’ll also need to pay the visa application fee, the Migration Agent fee and perhaps attend an interview.
The process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to be granted a visa, and can rely on how organised you are with completing and supplying the correctly formatted documents. The better quality and more complete your application, usually the faster the process.
Sound complicated? Here are the basics of everything you need to know.
Evidence of enrolment
Students both outside of Australia and those students already located in Australia, must provide a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer (LOO) confirming you have been accepted into a course registered under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses (CRICOS). This is supplied by the training institution as part of your course application process. You may also need to pay a deposit towards your tuition fees.
Students already in Australia can apply with a Letter of Offer (LOO) or an offer of a Confirmation of Enrolment but must have a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) to be granted the visa, or change in current Visa status.
Where a student packages their studies, by studying two or more courses on your Student Visa (Subclass 500), a COE will be required for each course.
Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) Requirement
The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement says 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 Department of Home Affairs will consider the following factors:
- Circumstances in your home country
- Potential circumstances for you in Australia
- Value of your chosen course to your future
- Your immigration history
In order to determine whether you meet the GTE requirement, 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
All international students apply for the same Visa: the Student Visa (Subclass 500), which can be applied for online, through your Education Agent, or via a qualified Migration Agent. At Advanced Technology Education, we use the services of qualified Migration Agents who understand the process and who increase the success of your application being successful.
When completing your Visa Application Form, you’ll need to provide evidence of the following according to the Australian Student Visa requirements:
- Financial requirements
Evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs. You need to prove you have funds for living costs (separate from tuition and travel). The minimum amount is AU$20,290 per year. 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, including school fees. Alternatively, you can show evidence that your spouse or parents are willing to support you and that they earn at least AU$60,000 per year.
- English proficiency requirement
If you’re not from an English-speaking country (and haven’t completed at least five years’ study in an English-speaking country) you’ll need to prove you can speak English to the required level. Eligible tests include the IELTS, TOEFL iBT, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE). The score you will need will depend on the course you are enrolling in, even if you are enroling in an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
- Health requirements
Some students may be asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they’re in good health. If required to do so, you must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian Immigration Department.
All students are obliged to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). You may purchase this cover through your learning institution or directly from one of the five approved providers: Australian Health Management, BUPA Australia, Medibank Private, Allianz Global Assistance and nib OSHC.
** Students from Sweden who have purchased health insurance through Kammarkollegiet will not need to purchase OSHC. Belgian and Norwegian students are also not required to purchase OSHC as part of their visa requirements.
- Character requirements
Australian student visa requirements stipulate you must be of good character to enter Australia. 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.
- Changes to your course
You will be able to change course afterwards to study in Australia at the same or a higher study level, but you’ll need to apply for a new Visa if you’re changing course to a lower level on the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) or a non-AQF level course (unless changing from a PhD to a master’s). You may also package your studies by studying two or more courses on your Student Visa (Subclass 500), where there is clear progression from one course to another.
Australian Student Visa Application Form
Typically, students must submit the following (may vary for each individual application):
- Completed Australian student visa application form (157A)
- Paid visa application fee – currently AU$620 in most cases
- 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
- Four recent passport-sized photographs
Using your student visa
You can enter 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, and also inform them within seven days if you change 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’re not allowed to begin working until your course has started, and should not rely on work in order to support yourself or your family while in Australia.
Voluntary/unpaid work is also not included in the 40-hour limit if it’s genuinely voluntary, for a non-profit organization and for the benefit of the community.
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.
If you study in Australia for a course that is longer than 10 months and finishes at the end of an Australian academic year (usually mid-December) your Visa will usually be valid until 15 March the following year. If your course is longer than 10 months and finishes in January to October, your visa will usually be valid for two months following the completion of your course.
Under some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for a further Visa at the end of your course (consult the Department of Home Affairs website for more details)
This process requires not only the correct preparation and processing of the required application forms, but also the understanding of how best to put the application together and the involvement of a qualified Migration Agent.
Student Visa - Department of Home Affairs - Immigration and citizenship
Document Checklist Tool - Department of Home Affairs - Immigration and citizenship
Document Attachment Guide
Best Practice Document Standards
The following are examples of the quality of document/image uploads that should accompany your Visa application.
Scanning and attaching documents
You will need to correctly scan your documents so you can attach them to your online application:
- Scan each document separately and include both sides.
- If the original document is in colour, scan the document in colour.
- Ensure you save each document using the correct file size and type requirements
Passport - Good Quality - Acceptable
Poor Quality - Not Acceptable
Black and White Photocopy - Not Acceptable.
Black and White Photocopy - Not Acceptable.
Drivers Licence - Acceptable
Drivers Licence - Not acceptable
Student Card (Or similar) Acceptable
Document translation requirements
Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by an English translation. If you are in Australia when applying, use translators accredited by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). For more information, see NAATI. If you are outside Australia when applying, the English translation must be completed by a qualified translator and must be endorsed by the translator with their full name, address, telephone number, and details of their qualifications and experience in the language being translated. Contact the Australian diplomatic mission in the country that issued the documents for advice on acceptable translators and who can certify your original documents.