The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

Pakistani students applying for an Australian student visa

Practical advice for Pakistani students travelling to Australia


There are so many reasons why it is a good idea to complete your studies in Australia. Apart from the beauty of Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, Shark Bay and Uluru, Australia also has a fantastic education system with thousands of potential courses and degrees for you to choose from.

If you have already decided to study in Australia and you’ve been accepted at a university or college, then you now need to complete your visa application.


What kind of visas can you apply for?

There are a number of different student visas currently available to Pakistani students. The one that you need depends on the type of course that you intend to undertake. The visas available are as follows:

The Independent ELICOS Sector visa (subclass 570): This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study a full-time English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students.

The Vocational Education and Training Sector Visa (subclass 572): This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study a full time vocational education and training course.

The Higher Education Sector Visa (subclass 573): This allows you to stay in Australia to study a full time higher education course. If you are applying to a university or college then this is the visa that you are most likely to apply for.

The Postgraduate Research Sector Visa (subclass 574): This allows you to stay in Australia to undertake postgraduate research.

The Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector Visa (subclass 576): This allows you to study in Australia full time but only if you are sponsored by the Australian government.

If you are unsure which of the above visas you need to apply for you then you should visit Australia’s Department of Immigration website.


Are you eligible for a student visa?

If you want to apply for the Higher Education Visa (subclass 573), you must ensure that you are going to Australia to undertake a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, a graduate certificate or a diploma, a masters by coursework or a form of higher education diploma. If you cannot show evidence that you have been offered an unconditional place on a university of college course, you will be ineligible for this type of visa.


Financial requirements: The fee is A$550 to apply for any of the above visas. If you intend to move to Australia with another family member or a partner the additional visa fee is $410 ($135 if they are under 18).

You will also need to supply evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs. If you have dependents, you will also need to show evidence of being able to cover living costs for them, regardless of whether they intend to travel to Australia or not.


English proficiency requirement: Pakistani student applicants must provide evidence of their English language proficiency. Eligible tests are the IELTS, TOFEL iBT, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic test, and the Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) test. You should be aware that the English language requirements may vary depending on the course you wish to follow and the institution you are applying to so you need to check this carefully. 


Health requirements: Some students may be advised to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they are in good health. If told to do so, you must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian immigration department. Students are obliged to purchase Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). You may purchase this cover through your university, or directly from one of the five approved providers: Australian Health Management, BUPA Australia, Medibank Private, Allianz Global Assistance and nib OSHC. The average cost of OSHC is AUS$437 (US$383) for 12 months for a single student.


Character requirements: All students will also be assessed against the character requirements stipulated by the immigration department. This includes a criminal record check, to make sure you don’t have a substantial criminal record. You may also need to acquire a penal clearance certificate (or police certificate) or get a police statement, and may be asked to complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form.


Additional documents you need to provide include:

  • Completed Australia student visa application form (157A)
  • Paid visa application fee
  • Copy of passport bio data page (some students may be asked to physically provide their passport)
  • Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of Offer


When should I apply?

All applications for Student Visas by citizens of Pakistan (who are applying from Pakistan) must be lodged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Office in Adelaide, South Australia.

Since 2013 it has been possible to submit student visa applications to the Adelaide office directly from Pakistan. However it can take up to seven days for the applications to arrive at their destination and it is impossible to tell how long it will take the immigration office to get around to your application. Therefore, it is generally advised that you apply up to 12 weeks before your course starts.


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About Author

Armani is a final year English Literature and Creative Writing student at Newcastle University with a passion for writing. A few of Armani's main interests include politics, reading, football and Chelsea FC.