Study in Australia

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 Home Affairs that you meet the following key Australian student visa requirements:

  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
  • Financial requirements
  • English proficiency requirements
  • Health and character requirements

Introduced in November 2011, 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 decision-makers at 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.

All international students apply for the same visa: the Student Visa (Subclass 500), which you must apply for online.

Before applying for a visa, you’ll need to obtain a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer confirming 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 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.

m 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 requirements

When completing your online 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. From February 2018, the amount you need to prove you have for living costs (separate from tuition and travel) is set at AU$20,290 (~US$13,750) for a 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 (~US$40,660) a 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 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 asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they’re 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 cost of this health insurance cover will vary depending on the provider and how long you purchase cover for.

  • 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.

Australian student visa documents

The Department of Home Affairs website has a document checklist feature that will provide you with a list of documents required for your specific circumstances. Typically, students must submit the following:

  • Completed Australian student visa application form (157A)
  • Paid visa application fee – currently AU$620 (~US$420) 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

After you have assembled and scanned your supporting documents, you’ll need to create an account and apply with the online ImmiAccount application system.

Most visa applications take four weeks to process. 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)

The following are the conditions of all Student visa holders:

About Work Rights: 

You can only work up to 40 hours in a fortnight. A fortnight means the period of 14 days starting on a Monday.If you are a member of the family unit of a primary student visa holder, you must not work in Australia until they have started their course. Family members of students studying a masters or a doctorate degree can work unrestricted hours once the primary student visa holder has started their course.

Note: This applies to family members of students who hold subclass 500 visa.

Unrestricted work rights also applies to family members of subclass 573 (Higher Education Sector) and subclass 574 (Postgraduate Research Sector) visa holders studying a masters by research or doctorate degree.

Important: Employers seeking to hire the family member of a primary student visa holder are advised to request evidence:

    • of the relationship (such as a visa grant letter, marriage or birth certificate) and
    • that the primary student visa holder has commenced their course, such as a Confirmation of Enrolment or a letter from the relevant education provider.
Meet Course Requirements

You must:

  • remain enrolled in a registered course (if you are a Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored student or a secondary exchange student you must maintain full-time enrolment in your course of study or training)
  • maintain enrolment in a registered course that is the same Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level or higher for which we granted your student visa, unless changing from AQF level 10 to level 9. See: Change in study situation.
  • maintain satisfactory attendance in your course and course progress for each study period as required by your education provider.

Note: A registered course is one that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Limited Study Change Option

You must not change your course of study, thesis or research topic without the approval of the Minister.

This approval can only be given after the Minister has obtained an assessment from the competent Australian authorities that you are not likely to be directly or indirectly a risk to Australian national security.

If you are considering changing your thesis, major or research topic you must: complete Form 1221 – Additional personal particulars information (PDF) and email to Adelaide.student.centre@border.gov.au.

Maintain adequate Health Insurance 
Inform provider of address

You must let your education provider know your residential address within 7 days of arriving in Australia if you were outside Australia when your visa was granted. If your residential address changes you must let your education provider know within 7 days of the change.

You must also your current education provider know you have changed your education provider within 7 days of receiving:

  • a confirmation of enrolment from your new education provider, or
  • evidence you have been enrolled by the new education provider
Refrain from engagement in Criminal  & Anti-human Activities

You must not become involved in activities disruptive to, or violence threatening harm to, the Australian community or a group within the Australian community.

For example, engaging or promoting extremist views and interrupting the operation of the Australian community.

Read more conditions 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dependent family members on a student visa

A student visa would usually allow you to bring close family members as dependents on your student visa.  This is defined as:

  • A spouse or partner (including same sex partners) who you have been living with for 12 months.
  • Your, or your partner’s children, under 18 or who are still in continuous education (i.e. studying A-levels).

Please note that the work rights granted for the dependent partner will depend on the course of study of the student:

  • If the student is studying a bachelor degree, the dependent partner can work up to 40 hours per fortnight.
  • If the student is studying a masters degree (coursework or research) or a doctorate degree the partner will have full and unlimited work rights.

Travelling with school age children

If your children are travelling with you as dependants on your student visa, you will have to pay fees for them to go to any Australian school (regardless of whether the school is state or private). School fees vary according to the age of your children and the state or territory that you live in, but expect fees of around A$5,600 to A$18,600 per year, per child.

Approximate state school fees

State/territory Fee range

Bachelor/Grad

Cert/Grad Dip.

Coursework Masters PhD
New South Wales A$5,600 – A$6,400 Full fees Full fees Exempt
South Australia A$6,000 – A$7,200 Full fees Full fees Full fees
Tasmania A$7,500 Full fees Full fees Full fees
Northern Territory A$7,500 – A$10,000 Full fees Full fees Full fees
Victoria A$9,600 – A$14,200 Full fees Full fees Exempt
Queensland A$11,100 – A$14,000 Full fees Full fees Exempt
Australian Capital Territory A$11,100 – A$16,200 Full fees Full fees Exempt
Western Australia A$14,300 – A$18,600 Full fees Exempt Exempt

 

*Please note: these are approximate and can change. There are some exceptions to the above, please contact us for further information

Where can I find help on schools?

Go to the relevant Department of Education website for the state or area that you intend to study and live in. These are as follows:

Travelling with children over the age of 18 or other family members

Children over the age of 18 are no longer classed as dependents in Australia unless they have been in continuous education (i.e. they are over 18, but still studying A-levels or other qualification).  So, if your family member is over 18, and not an eligible dependent, they will need to have their own visa in order to travel to Australia with you.  Please note that at 18, they are eligible to apply for entry into an Australian university or college themselves and travel on their own student visa.

Families travelling with a Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)

If you are travelling to Australia under a sponsored Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482) and are bringing your children they will NOT need to apply for their own individual student visas. They will, however, enter university as an international student and consequently you will need to pay the international fee rate for each child that is studying.  They will not be eligible for any student loan schemes in Australia.

 

 

 

 

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