The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

European students applying for an Australian student visa

Practical advice for European students travelling to Australia

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Every year, thousands of Europeans travel to Australia to study. In addition to beautiful beaches and surfing opportunities, the country also has some of the best universities in the world. But before you can embark on your Aussie adventure, you will have to come to grips with student visas. As a European student you will have to apply for an Australian student visa in order to enrol at one of their universities. If you intend to study for more than 3 months, you must apply for a student visa.

 

Requirements

 

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have set a series of entry requirements that you will have to meet before you can be granted an Australian student visa. They include: Genuine Student Requirement, Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement, financial requirements, English proficiency requirements, and health and character requirements.

 

Proving you are a “genuine student” means you will have to show that you intend to obtain a valid outcome of your education in Australia, as well as proving that you have the language, educational and material background that will enable you to complete your studies in the country. Important factors include whether you are of the right age, have valid pre-requisite schooling and sufficient financial means to support yourself.

 

The genuine temporary entrant (GTE) was introduced in 2011 to make sure that the student had a genuine intention to stay in Australia only on a temporarily basis while studying. An interview can be conducted to determine if you are a GTE.

 

The English proficiency requirement varies depending on the university. The DIAC website lists some of the possible tests used, such as IELTS, TOFEL, CAE and so on. Most of these tests are electronic and can include essay questions as well as multiple-choice questions to establish your knowledge of the English language and specific subjects.

 

Additionally, all students (except those from Belgium and Norway) must purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This can be arranged through your university or directly from a provider. You can find more information and lists of the different providers on the Department of Health website.

Lastly, you need to meet the character requirements, which involves making sure you do not have a criminal record. You might also be asked to complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form.

 

Visa application form

Before you can start your application for a student visa, you will need to receive a confirmation of enrolment (COE) or a letter of offer at one of Australia's universities. The COE is usually an online code that you will have to enter into your visa application. You might also be asked to pay a deposit regarding your tuition fees. You can not apply for the  visa form (157A) more than 90 days prior to the commencement of your course. As a European student you will likely be put on Assessment level 1 which means you can apply for the visa online. Read more about assessment levels here

 

Checklist:

Together with your application (157A) you will in most cases be asked to present the following documentation:

  • Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of Offer
  • Paid visa application fee
  • Copy of passport
  • English proficiency test results
  • Evidence of sufficient funds
  • Evidence of health insurance cover
  • Criminal record check results

 

The application process might take anything from a few weeks to three months. The duration of the student visa equals the course duration as well as 28 extra days. The maximum duration of a Student visa is 54 weeks.

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About Author

Anette Lien is a recent journalism graduate and an avid traveller. Hailing from a small town in Norway, she went on to study in India before settling down in London, UK. She has previously worked for a local newspaper, at various music websites and as an Expedia blogger. When she is not travelling, or writing about travelling, she enjoys going to small gigs with quirky, underground bands.

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