The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

Sri Lankan students applying for an Australian student visa

Practical advice for Sri Lankan students travelling to Australia


Australian student visas are among the most sought after student visas in the world. Australia holds some of the most elite schools and is the third most common country for students to choose for study abroad with many Sri Lankans flocking there every year. But before starting your own study adventure in Australia, you’ll need to secure a student visa. Here’s our step-by-step guide.


What kind of visas can you apply for?

There are a number of different student visas currently available to Sri Lankan 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 Immigrations 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). Note: Payment for you application fee will need to be provided in the Sri Lankan currency.


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: Sri Lankan 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


Submitting your application

You will also need to schedule an appointment with the visa application centre in Colombo in order to lodge your application and submit your biometric information. Your biometric information includes a digital scan of all ten fingerprints as well as a digital photograph. Fingers should be clean and free of cuts or injuries in order to receive the best results. Additionally, you will not be permitted to wear any clothing or accessories that obstruct your face when you have your digital photograph taken.


Make sure that you submit all of your documentation at the time of application. Any documentation that is not submitted with your application could result in delays.


Once all of your application materials have been submitted, your application will be reviewed. If you are approved for your Australia student visa, you can then begin making your travel arrangements.

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About Author

Aspiring to write Children’s stories and Young Adult novels, Alex Crosbie is a University of South Florida Graduate with a BA in Creative Writing. She also loves blogging and writing informational pieces in addition to her creative work. She’s very active and enjoys spending her free time outside, jogging, hiking, picnicking, biking and walking.