The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

Applying for a student visa in Australia

Check out our guide to getting an Australian student visa for international students...

Australia student visa

One of the most sought-after study destinations, Australia has some of the strictest immigration laws. Getting the student visa required to study abroad in Australia can seem daunting, but the process is quite straightforward provided you follow the steps correctly – plus, it’s all worth it in the end!


Let our step-by-step guide ease you through the process of applying for an Australian student visa.


Which student visa do I need?

Before 2016, applying for an Australian student visa was a complicated process. Known as streamlined visa processing, students would have to choose a visa ‘subclass’ depending on their course and individual situation. Fortunately, the process has been simplified to make applying for an Australian student visa far easier for international students!


So, all prospective university students must now apply for one student visa (subclass 500) regardless of their chosen course. If you are a graduate and wish to stay in Australia after your studies, then you must apply for the Temporary Graduate visa (sub-class 485). For anyone thinking of undertaking shorter periods of study, then you can apply for a Visitor or Working Holiday Visa.


Learn more about the new simplified student visa framework

Learn more about a visiting visa

Learn more about the Working Holiday Visa


Student visa (subclass 500)

This student visa allows you to study full-time in a recognised institution for up to 5 years.


How much does a student visa cost?

The price of an Australian student visa is AUD 575. However, there could be additional costs for certificates and health checks, depending on the evidence you are asked to supply. To check exactly how much you’ll need to pay, you can use the visa pricing table. Payments can be made by either debit or credit card.


Temporary Graduate visa (sub-class 485)

If you plan to stay in Australia after your studies, then you can apply for a temporary graduate visa. When applying for this visa you will need to decide between a graduate work stream or post-study work stream, which differ in the length of time you are allowed to stay in Australia temporarily after your course.


Want to find out more about a Temporary Graduate Visa?



To be eligible for a student visa (subclass 500) in Australia you will need to:

  • Be at least 6 years old
  • Have been accepted to study at an Australian educational institution
  • Have health insurance


How do I apply for an Australian student visa?

Students must first be accepted for full-time study before they begin the application process, and be able to prove their status via electronic confirmation or enrolment letter from their institution. Your institution must be listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) to offer you a place.


After you’ve been offered a place at an Australian university and paid your deposit, you will receive an ‘Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment’ (eCoE) via e-mail, detailing your total course fee, duration and start date.  You will need the details of this form to lodge your visa application.


To officially begin your student visa application, you’ll need to create your own immiaccount where you can upload the required evidence.



What evidence do I need to provide?

To qualify for an Australian student visa, you will need to provide specific evidence. Although what you are asked to provide may vary depending on the individual. However, outlined below are the main requirements for an Australian student visa (subclass 500):


Genuine temporary entrant (GTE)

Every candidate who applies for a student visa will need to prove that they only wish to live in Australia on a temporary basis. Each student will be assigned to a personal immigration officer, who will assess their visa and individual circumstances, determining their intended length of stay. More specific information on GTE requirements can be found here.


English language

You might need to prove your proficiency in the English language (IELTS scores) and your academic qualifications. Any translations of materials must be done so by a translator who has been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). However, there are exceptions which may mean that you do not need to provide evidence of your English language abilities.


Financial capacity

You may also need to provide evidence of your finances in order to be approved for a student visa. More specific information on the necessary funds for a student visa can be found here.



You could be asked to complete a health examination when you apply for a student visa, which can take up to several weeks. It is a good idea to organise a health check with your doctor before applying, to avoid any delays. While studying abroad, it’s also vital to have health insurance, not only for your safety and wellbeing – but also because you could be asked to provide evidence of this within your visa application.



As Australia is renowned for its strict immigration laws, your application will be assessed on several grounds. One potentially surprising consideration is your ‘strength of character’. For example, this assessment could consider your criminal record as a measure of ‘good character’.




To find out exactly what evidence you will need to provide for a student visa, you can use the Australian Government document checklist tool. Or, find more information on student visas and eligibility requirements on the visa section of the Australian government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.





Maintaining your visa

Australian student visas are conditional, so even once you’ve successfully obtained one you’ll have to comply with a set number of conditions to keep it, as outlined below:

  • Your class attendance and academic progress must be of a satisfactory level
  • You must remain enrolled in a registered course
  • You must maintain adequate health insurance
  • You must continue to satisfy the initial requirements of your visa: i.e. sufficient funds, same study programme
  • You must inform your institution of your current address within 7 days of arriving in Australia


What happens if my study situation changes?

If your study situation has changed, you need to make sure that you are still meeting the visa requirements, otherwise your visa could be cancelled.


Course changes

Are you thinking of changing your course? This may affect the type of visa that you need to study in Australia. If you have been studying your course for six months or more and have a student (subclass 500) visa, your education provider will inform the Australian Government and you do not need to anything. However, if you are enrolling onto a lower level course such as a non-AQF, your visa may be cancelled.


Find out more information about changing courses via the Australian Government Department of home affairs.


No longer attending lectures

If you have stopped attending classes, you could be breaching your visa conditions. If this is the case, you may need to apply for a new visa.


Finishing a course early

In this situation, you may be required to apply for a new visa or prepare to leave Australia within 28 days of finishing your main course.


Deferring a course

Depending on your personal situation and the university, you may be allowed to take time off from your course, known as a leave of absence.   


Amending welfare arrangements

You are required to find alternative welfare arrangements if your guardian leaves Australia while you are there. You may also need to submit specific documents to prove that you have nominated another guardian.


Can I work on a student visa?

As soon as your course starts, you can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during term time (and unlimited hours outside of term time). This does not include unpaid, voluntary work, or that which is part of your course. In order to work and (most importantly!) get paid, you must have a tax file number, which you can apply for via the Australian tax office.


How long will it take to process my visa?

According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, 75% of student visa applications are processed within one month of applying. Submitting all of the necessary paper work on time may also help to reduce delays to your application.


Now that you know more about applying for an Australian student visa, start searching for a course in Australia.


Read more:


‘Post-study options in Australia’

‘Applying to study in Australia’

Study in Australia


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