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Explaining the Different Study Visas for Australia

Getting a study visa to Australia can seem like a daunting exercise, but with research and preparation you’ll find that the process can be just as exciting as any other part of coming to the country. It all comes down to choosing the right study visa for you.

We’ve made it easy with this rundown of the different student visa subclasses in Australia.

Student visa (subclass 500)

Who is this visa for? 

Most international students coming to Australia apply for the subclass 500 visa. This visa allows you to study in Australia for up to five years in a CRICOS-registered institution and course. The Student visa (subclass 500) is essentially a work and study visa – meaning that you can work up to 40 hours each fortnight while studying (and unlimited hours during semester breaks).

You can also bring family members with you, and you can travel outside Australia and return as many times as you want while the visa is valid. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have adequate welfare arrangements in place.

How much does the Australian Student visa cost?

When registering for any visa to Australia, fees will probably apply. The minimum cost of this visa is $630.

Training visa (subclass 407)

Who is this visa for? 

The Training visa (subclass 407) allows you to take part in workplace-based occupational training activities to boost your skills for your job or area of study, or in a professional development training program. This is a temporary visa valid for up to two years.

To get the Training visa (subclass 407), you must be sponsored by an approved organisation. That sponsor must have nominated you to participate in a program of occupational training, unless your sponsor is a Commonwealth Government agency. Make sure to check the exact conditions online.

How much does the Australian Training visa cost?

Applying for the Training visa (subclass 407) costs from $315 for the main applicant. As with many visas, there is also a charge for each family member who joins your application.

Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)

Who is this visa for? 

The subclass 485 visa, known as the Temporary Graduate visa, allows eligible international students who have completed an Australian tertiary education to stay in Australia to gain work experience.

This visa is available in two main streams: the Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream. You can stay in Australia for up to 18 months with the Graduate Work stream, or usually between two and four years with the Post-Study Work stream. Hong Kong passport holders may stay for five years in both streams. If you graduate from an institution in a regional area, you might be eligible to obtain a second Post-Study Work visa that lasts for another one to two years.

You must have held a Student visa in the past 12 months to apply. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Graduates impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions can apply for this visa outside Australia.

How much does the Australian Temporary Graduate visa cost?

Applying for the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) is a little more expensive. The Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream will cost you from $1,680 each. The second Post-Study Work visa costs from $660.

Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408)

Who is this visa for? 

The Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) isn’t specifically for study, but covers a range of specific short-term activities or types of work, including religious work and sporting activities. Types of Temporary Activity visas include:

  • Australian Government endorsed events (COVID-19 Pandemic event) – Commonly known as the ‘pandemic visa’, this visa can allow you to stay in Australia if you have no other visa options and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. In addition, this temporary visa lets you stay in Australia to work if you are employed in a critical industry sector, such as agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, child care, or tourism and hospitality, for up to 12 months. If you are not working in a critical sector, this visa may allow you to stay up to 3 months.
  • Australian Government endorsed eventsThis temporary visa lets you come to Australia to participate in events which are endorsed by the Australian Government, for example, to take part in the Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery event.
  • Research Activities – This visa lets you observe or take part in a research project at a research or tertiary institution in Australia. You and your family who apply for the visa with you can stay in Australia for up to 2 years.

How much does the Australian Temporary Activity visa cost?

The cost of applying for a Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) starts at $315 for the main applicant, plus fees for any family members travelling with you.

Working Holiday/Work and Holiday visas (subclass 417, 462)

Who is this visa for? 

The Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) and Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) both allow you to visit for an extended holiday for up to 12 months and work in Australia to help fund your trip. The Working Holiday visa (subclass 417) is designed for citizens from certain countries, while the Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) is for citizens from other eligible countries.

On either visa, you can do short-term work to help pay for your holiday, and also study for up to four months. Typically, you must be between 18 and 30-35 years old and not accompanied by dependent children.

How much does the Australian Working Holiday visa cost?

The cost of applying for either the Working Holiday visa or the Work and Holiday visa is $495. If you choose to extend your visa of either type, you must pay another $495 each time.

Visitor visas (subclass 600, 601, 651)

Who is this visa for? 

Australia’s 600 visa, called the Visitor visa, is one of a few visas that provide the chance to visit Australia for a holiday or to visit family. Similar visas include the Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) and the eVisitor (subclass 651). Each visa is designed for citizens from different countries, so make sure to check the eligibility requirements to find out which one applies to you.

On any of these visas, you can study or train for up to three months. Don’t forget to look at the exact conditions on the Department of Home Affairs website.

How much does the Australian Visitor visa cost?

The Visitor visa (subclass 600) costs from $370, the Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) has a $20 service charge, and the eVisitor (subclass 651) is free.

Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)

Who is this visa for? 

If you have a parent, custodian or relative who is 21 years old or over, they can come to Australia to provide care and support for you if you are on a Student visa and are under 18 years of age, or older due to exceptional circumstances.

On the Student Guardian visa (subclass 590), your parent or guardian can care for more than one student, but cannot work.

How much does the Australian Student Guardian visa cost?

The Student Guardian visa will cost from $630. Other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics may also apply.

Choosing the right visa for you

As an international student, certain visas – such as the subclass 771 visa, which is a transit visa – won’t be relevant to you. It’s important to identify the right visa for your situation. This will save you time when preparing your visa application and will minimise processing delays.

If you do your research and make the necessary preparations, before long you could be touching down in Australia for a new study adventure. Good luck!