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The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

How to apply for a student visa in Australia

Applying for a student visa in Australia may be easier than you imagine. Our guide will give you a detailed roadmap of what you’ll need and how to make your application.

Australia student visa

Known for its vibrant seafront cities and spectacular outback, Australia is an extremely popular study destination. With its highly regarded education system and wide selection of courses along with the famously relaxed Australian culture, many future international students have the country top of their list of places to study.


Although there are lots of rules involved in obtaining an Australian student visa, the application process itself isn’t difficult, and our guide is here to help you along the way.


Which visa is right for you?

Before you begin your application, use our helpful table to check which type of visa is best for you. You do not need a visa to study in Australia if you are a citizen/resident of New Zealand.


Which visa is right for me?

I want to study in Australia…

Visa type

for a maximum of three months (but not work)

eVisitor visa (subclass 651)

for a maximum of four months (and have the option to work)

Working holiday visa (subclass 417)

as a graduate and stay in the country after my studies

Temporary graduate visa (subclass 485)

on a work-based or professional development training course

Training visa (subclass 407)

full-time for four months or longer

Student visa (subclass 500)


This article will show you the process of applying for an Australian student visa (subclass 500).


What courses can I study on an Australian student visa?

Course type


Additional Requirements

Higher education undergraduate course


You must have an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12) or equivalent.

Higher education postgraduate course


You must have completed at least (minimum) one degree at the undergraduate level.

Vocational education and training (VET) course


No course-specific government requirements.

English language courses


No course-specific government requirements.



Requirements vary by state and territory.


What does an Australian student visa allow?


Typically, a student visa will permit you to study and live in Australia for up to (maximum) 5 years, depending on your course. When you receive your visa, you can arrive in the country up to (a maximum of) 90 days before your course starts.


International students may also apply to bring their partners or children with them to Australia. You can find out more on the Australian government website.



Usually, work done by international students in Australia is limited to 40 hours per fortnight in term time (unlimited during study breaks) and can only begin when you have started your course. However, since February 2022, this restriction has been temporarily lifted to boost the Australian economy.


Other rules

You must be 16 or older to apply for an Australian student visa. When living in Australia on a student visa, you must:


  • maintain satisfactory course attendance
  • make satisfactory academic progress within your course
  • hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
  • appoint a ‘student guardian’ to stay in Australia with you (if you are not yet 18)


An Australian student visa does not allow you to:

  • be self-employed
  • take a gap in your studies lasting more than two months
  • change your course without approval from the Department of Home Affairs


Be aware that every visa is unique. Visas are given on a case-by-case basis. Yours may include other conditions depending on your circumstances.


Get ready

Before you apply for your Australian student visa, you will need:


Your CoE

To get a CoE, you must formally accept an offer of enrolment on the course you wish to study and pay a deposit for your tuition fees.


Your CoE document will contain information about your studies. You will need to attach a copy to your visa application and enter your CoE code (found in the top right corner of the document) on the application form.


Health Insurance

Unless you are exempt, you must obtain and pay for your own Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before you complete your student visa application. International students in Australia need OSHC for the full duration of their studies. Depending on the plan you choose, this will provide you with cover for most:


  • medical and hospital care
  • prescription medicines
  • ambulance journeys.


When you apply for your student visa, you will need to prove that you have bought OSHC for at least your first year. The price will depend on your plan type and personal circumstances.


You can find out more about where to buy OSHC.


When to apply

You can apply for your Australian student visa as soon as you have received your CoE.



An Australian student visa costs AUD 630. You will also need to prove that you have enough money to support yourself (including course fees, rent and travel costs) during your time in Australia.

To prove this, you can either supply:


  • bank statements or evidence of grants/scholarships; or
  • proof of your parent’s or partner’s annual income that must be at least (minimum of) the equivalent of AUD 62,222


We have helpful articles about the cost of living in Australia and Australian tuition fees.


Knowledge of English

If you do not speak English as a first language, you’ll need to prove that you are proficient (skilled) in English. To do this, you’ll need a certificate of results from an approved English language test, obtained in the last three years. You can find out which tests are accepted.


The level of English proficiency varies depending on the institution and the level at which you are studying.


An exemption from this requirement (you will not need this) is if you are applying to study an English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).


Other requirements for a student visa in Australia



You may be required to give fingerprints and a photograph as part of your application.



You must be in good health when you enter Australia. You may be asked to take a health examination or provide a medical certificate before your visa is approved. Read more about the health examination to understand more about this process.



You will be asked some simple questions to make sure you meet the Australian character requirements for visa approval. Occasionally, you may need to provide further details, such as a police background check.


Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement

You will need to write a statement to prove you meet the GTE requirement. This is to prove that you:


  • are only coming to Australia to study and not for any other reason; and
  • will only be living in Australia temporarily


It will help your statement if you include details about your ties to home (e.g. family, a job or property) and the reason for wanting to study your chosen course (e.g. future career or academic prospects).


Completing your application


You must complete your student visa application online. Make sure you have your credit or debit card to hand to pay the fees associated with your application. You can begin your application for an Australian student visa online.


After you apply

A decision will usually be made within 30 days. However, all applications are different, and it may take longer.


Don’t forget!

Check your visa dates and conditions when you receive it – these will tell you what you can and cannot do when you are in Australia. If you think there has been a mistake on your visa, you must inform the Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible for it to be amended.



At present, Australia is only accepting visitors who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. You can find precise details on up-to-date COVID-19 legislation.


There you have it. That’s how to apply for a student visa in Australia. You can continue your research by exploring how to apply to study in Australia and discover universities in the country.


Study in Australia


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