The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

American students applying for an Australian student visa

Practical advice for American students travelling to Australia


Do you have plans to study abroad at an Australian university? You're not alone! Every year, many Americans make the trip down under to sample some great weather, culture, beaches, and above all universities. The style of living in Australia might be easy going, but the academics can be challenging and ultimately very rewarding. We've done the leg-work for you, so check out our step-by-step guide to getting a student visa:


What are the requirements for obtaining an Australian Student Visa?


According to, there are several different classes of Australian student visas. The one you need depends on where and how long you are planning to stay in the country. For example, if you will be studying in Australia for less than three months, you can apply for the Visitor visa. If you plan to stay in the country longer, you can apply for one of the other types of visas, listed in more detail here. If you are planning to study at a university, though, you will most likely qualify for the Higher Education Sector visa (subclass 573).


The first thing you should do when beginning the application process is to take a look at the “Student Visa Assessment” to see what level of risk your immigration status poses. This depends on which country you are coming from. If you are living in America, your Assessment level is one, the lowest, meaning you do not pose a large threat to the country (You will need this information when filling out your application).


Other requirements for your application are proof that you are enrolled on a course, proof that you have an upstanding academic record, and proof that you have achieved the appropriate level of education in your country for the course you are applying for. You must also be able to prove that you are proficient in speaking English, and that you have the means to financially support yourself while you are abroad in Australia.


The Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement instated in 2011 requires that you also prove that you will be able to stay in the country for the entire length of time you will be studying there. This proof can consist of things such as your immigration history, your conditions at home here in America, and your ability to pay your own way while you are in Australia. As in any case when you are traveling, you will need a current and valid passport as well.


Some students may also be asked to have a medical check-up to meet health requirements, and all students will have to pay for overseas student health coverage (usually around $383 per year) and meet the character requirements set by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which includes a criminal background check.


Other necessary documents include the visa application form itself, the paid visa application fee of around $550 USD, and certificate of enrollment.


Where do I apply?


The easiest way to do this is  online. To apply for an Australian student visa, you can go to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection at There, you can find the type of visa you are looking for, as well as the application forms.


When should I file my application?


You cannot apply for a student visa more then ninety days before your course is scheduled to begin. Although some student visas can be processed within 24 hours of submission, allow up to four weeks for the visa to be processed, and a decision to be made about whether or not you qualify for studying in Australia.


Is there anything else I should know?


More information about Australian student visas can be found at Since the requirements for the visa vary based on where you are from, how long you will be studying abroad, and many other factors, make sure to do your own thorough research before submitting your application!


Once you are sure you have all of your documents, applications, and fees in order, you will be all set for your Australian adventure.

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About Author

Jessica Scott is a University of Louisville graduate with a degree in English and Humanities, specialising in literature, linguistics, and classical and modern languages. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she has been writing since the age of three. Her first novel, Chase and Charlie, was published in May 2015. Her interests include reading, writing, cooking, and studying Italian.