The process of studying in countries like the United States is fairly well known. Choose your university from the safety of your home in India, complete the application procedure and follow the streamlined visa process once you are accepted. You can even opt for online education to find out what your fellow students think about your university of choice.
However, getting a student visa to study at Australia
is a different ball game. These are a few visa tips and FAQ’s that will help you get the process right the very first time.
According to a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management- Bangalore, the number of Indian students in foreign countries has grown by over three-and-a-half times since 2000! Other than the US and UK, Indian students are now choosing to study in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and even, China. If you are one of the many students hoping to go to Australia to study, these are a few important Australian visa FAQ’s for Indians.
How to apply for student visa to Australia?
There are two ways to apply for an Australian student visa. Students can choose from:
- Applying for a visa online by coordinating with an e-visa agent
- Visiting the nearest VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) office in their state, filling the appropriate forms, documents and paying the fee. There are some education agents who offer to do the legwork for you.
Whichever method you choose, you will have to have the fee and documents at the ready. It is generally seen that e-visa applications are processed faster than their paper-pushing counterparts.
How much is the visa application fee?
Students who choose to fill the e-visa application form will have to pay an application fee of AUD 535, which converts to approximately INR 29, 416 as on June 20th 2013. This amount will have to be remitted online using a credit card.
For students who opt to visit the VFS offices in the country, paper based applications are charged a similar amount but there is an additional service charge of INR 600 that needs to be paid in cash at the VFS counter.
Are there any requirements/eligibility for student visas?
Yes, in order to get a student visa, you will have to meet a set of requirements as put forward by the Immi.Gov.Au website. The eligibility criteria changes depending on the visa sub-class that you are applying for like Independent ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students), Schools, Vocational Education and Training, Higher Education, Masters and Doctorate, and others). These are a few of the basic requirements:
- You should be able to cover the expenses of airfares to Australia, accommodation charges, tuition fee and other living expenses.
- You should have passed an English language proficiency test like IELTS, TOEFL, CAE or PTE.
- You should be able to provide complete documentation of your academic record, relevant to the course you are applying for.
- Has your visa application to Australia or another country been declined in the past? You should have all the required documentation about past immigration history.
- You should pass all the health and character requirements. A declaration will need to be attached to the application form.
- You should have obtained OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) before applying for a visa.
How important is the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) to the visa application process?
It is important to receive a COE from your chosen Australian university’s Bachelor, Masters or higher level programs. In April 2012, the Streamlining Visa Processing (SVP) was introduced. Under this, the Department of Immigration and Australian Citizenship (DIAC) will consider a student application with COE as a lower migration risk or Assessment Level 1.
The visa application process will most likely be quicker and more streamlined with a COE. However, keep in mind that the final decision to approve a visa rests with the DIAC, and a COE does not guarantee a decision in the students favor.
What do you do after reaching Australia?
Once your visa is approved, you will be starting a new journey into a beautiful country! Upon arrival in Australia, ensure that you contact the High Commission or Consulate with relevant information like your contact details, name and details of the university
and course you will be studying as well as how long you intend to stay in the country.
Go through every application form yourself and do not rely blindly on agents. Best of luck!
According to a current data of the Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBF), the number of Australian student visa applicants has shown a steady growth since 2011, and every year approximately 7.8% of growth is noticed. Read more
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