Preparing to study in Australia is incredibly exciting, but you might be wondering what exactly is involved. It may seem a little overwhelming, but with the right information, the path to studying in Australia doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are the basics of the application process and how to obtain an Australian Student Visa (Subclass 500).
Applying to Study in Australia
You’ve done your research, you’ve found the right course at your chosen institution in Australia, and you’re wondering what to do next. There are a few steps involved in the application process, which we’ve outlined below:
English Language Testing
Your institution of choice will have minimum English language scores for entry into their courses. You’ll need to refer directly to the institution for information on these requirements — usually, they’ll be listed with the course information on the institution’s website. If you need to work on your English, check out our tips for improving your English language skills.
Most applications will require your personal details, proof of your English language scores, details of your academic qualifications, and your course preferences. There may also be a small application fee, although some institutions waive the fee for online applications.
Receive and Accept Offer
Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer from the institution as well as an acceptance form. Once you accept an offer, all relevant documents and fees need to be provided to the institution. Make sure you check the Letter of Offer for any conditions that may be included. Once these conditions are met, the institution will then provide you with an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).
You will need to provide this CoE for your student visa to be granted. The Australian Government has recently put in place faster, easier access to student visas. The new procedure gives international students quicker processing times with financial requirements that are easier to meet. You’ll find more information on the visa application later in this article.
Many institutions prefer international students to enrol upon arrival, but some allow online enrolment before they depart their home country. Enrolment assistance and tutorials are generally available before the semester commences.
Applying for a Visa
When applying to study in Australia, you have the option of a short-term or long-term visa. The duration of the visa will depend on the program you choose but can be renewed as long as you are in a CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students) approved course. After graduation, you may be able to apply for a Post Study Work Right Visa to extend your stay in Australia.
The current fee to apply for an Australian Student Visa (Subclass 500) is AUD$575 regardless of the length of your program.
Applicants must meet the following requirements to obtain an Australian Student Visa:
Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
You must provide your CoE from a CRICOS registered provider.
Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement
The Australian Government requires all Student Visa applicants to provide a written statement confirming that they are coming to Australia to study and are not using this visa for ongoing residency in Australia. This statement must be supplied in English but can be written in another language and translated if necessary.
Note: This statement doesn’t stop anyone from seeking skilled migration to Australia after gaining their qualifications. For more information see the Department of Home Affairs website.
English Proficiency Requirement
Unless you’re from a select group of English-speaking countries (such as the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, and New Zealand) you will likely have to provide a certificate from an English language test. The Australian Government sets a minimum requirement for each education level (Diploma, Bachelor, and so on), but institutions can set the levels for individual courses higher than this level.
As an applicant for an Australian Student Visa, you must meet health requirements and may need to have a medical health examination. You will be responsible for the costs of this examination.
Anyone wanting to study in Australia must meet Character Requirements set by the Australian Government. You’ll have to answer questions about your character, and for some people, this may mean obtaining police certificates for countries you’ve previously lived in. See the Department of Home Affairs website for more information on these requirements.
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
Appropriate OSHC must be maintained for the duration of your time as a student in Australia. For more details on OSHC, see our article on arranging OSHC.
Cost of Living Requirements
The minimum requirement set by the Australian Government is AUD$20,290 per year. For a more accurate idea of your living costs, check out our Cost of Living Calculator.
Once you’ve obtained your student visa, you must comply with certain conditions to avoid it being withdrawn:
- Work no more than 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session. You can work fulltime during holiday breaks.
- Maintain an appropriate level of OSHC throughout your time in Australia.
- Maintain sufficient funds/financial capacity to support your time in Australia.
- Maintain satisfactory course progress and attendance levels.
- Have a passport with at least six months’ validity and your visa documentation.