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How to Get an Australian Student Visa

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In order to study in Australia, you will need to obtain an Australian student visa. You must be able to prove to the Department of Home Affairs that you meet the following key Australian student visa requirements:

  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
  • Financial requirements
  • English proficiency requirements
  • Health and character requirements

You’ll also need to complete an Australian student visa application form, pay the visa application fee, and perhaps attend an interview. Sound like a lot to remember? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE)?

Introduced in November 2011, the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement says that the visa applicant must be able to demonstrate a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily for the purpose of study, or to accompany a student as a dependent (i.e. spouse or child) or as a guardian. The decision-makers at the Department of Home Affairs will consider the following factors:

  • Circumstances in your home country
  • Potential circumstances for you in Australia
  • Value of your chosen course to your future
  • Your immigration history

In order to determine whether you meet the GTE requirement, you may be asked to attend an interview at your nearest Australian embassy or consulate. Some applicants will only need to fill in a visa application form.

Completing an Australian student visa application form

All international students apply for the same visa: the Student Visa (Subclass 500), which you must apply for online.

Before applying for a visa, you’ll need to obtain a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or a Letter of Offer confirming you have been accepted into a course registered under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses (CRICOS). The COE will be in the form of an online code that you will need to enter into the appropriate section in the online visa application. You may also need to pay a deposit towards your tuition fees.

You will be able to change course afterwards to study in Australia at the same or a higher study level, but you’ll need to apply for a new visa if you’re changing course to a lower level on the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) or a non-AQF level course (unless changing from a PhD to a master’s). You may also package your studies by studying two or more courses on your Student Visa (Subclass 500), where there is clear progression from one course to another.

m a PhD to a master’s). You may also package your studies by studying two or more courses on your Student Visa (Subclass 500), where there is clear progression from one course to another.

Australian student visa requirements

When completing your online visa application form, you’ll need to provide evidence of the following according to the Australian student visa requirements:

  • Financial requirements: Evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs. From February 2018, the amount you need to prove you have for living costs (separate from tuition and travel) is set at AU$20,290 (~US$13,750) for a year. If you have dependents (such as a spouse and children), you will also need to show evidence of being able to cover living costs for them, including school fees. Alternatively, you can show evidence that your spouse or parents are willing to support you and that they earn at least AU$60,000 (~US$40,660) a year.
  • English proficiency requirement: If you’re not from an English-speaking country (and haven’t completed at least five years’ study in an English-speaking country) you’ll need to prove you can speak English to the required level. Eligible tests include the IELTS, TOEFL iBT, Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE). The score you will need will depend on whether you are starting a full degree, doing a foundation course, or enrolling on a preliminary English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS).
  • Health requirements: Some students may be asked to take a medical and/or a radiological check-up to show they’re in good health (this applies, for example, to those who intend to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse). If told to do so, you must attend an appointment with a doctor who has been approved by the Australian immigration department.

Except those from Belgium or Norway, all 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 cost of this health insurance cover will vary depending on the provider and how long you purchase cover for.

Students from Sweden who have purchased health insurance through Kammarkollegiet will not need to purchase OSHC. Belgian and Norwegian students are also not required to purchase OSHC as part of their visa requirements.

  • Character requirements: Australian student visa requirements stipulate you must be of good character to enter Australia. 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.

Australian student visa documents

The Department of Home Affairs website has a document checklist feature that will provide you with a list of documents required for your specific circumstances. Typically, students must submit the following:

  • Completed Australian student visa application form (157A)
  • Paid visa application fee – currently AU$620 (~US$420) in most cases
  • Copy of passport biodata page (some students may be asked to physically provide their passport)
  • Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of Offer
  • Evidence of sufficient funds
  • Evidence of health insurance cover
  • English proficiency test results
  • Criminal record check results
  • Four recent passport-sized photographs

After you have assembled and scanned your supporting documents, you’ll need to create an account and apply with the online ImmiAccount application system.

Most visa applications take four weeks to process. If you study in Australia for a course that is longer than 10 months and finishes at the end of an Australian academic year (usually mid-December) your visa will usually be valid until 15 March the following year. If your course is longer than 10 months and finishes in January to October, your visa will usually be valid for two months following the completion of your course.

Under some circumstances, it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course (consult the Department of Home Affairs website for more details)

Using your student visa

You can enter Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts. Within seven days of arrival, you must inform your education provider of your resident address, and also inform them within seven days if you change address.

While on a student visa, you may work up to 40 hours per fortnight during term time, and full-time in the holidays. The visa is automatically issued with permission to work, although you’re not allowed to begin working until your course has started, and should not rely on work in order to support yourself or your family while in Australia.

If you’re studying a master’s by research or a PhD you don’t have any work restrictions. Keep in mind that any work required as part of your course is not included in the limit. Voluntary/unpaid work is also not included in the 40-hour limit if it’s genuinely voluntary, for a non-profit organization and for the benefit of the community.

While in possession of a student visa, you have certain obligations to fulfil: you must remain enrolled in a CRICOS-registered course, attend classes regularly, make satisfactory course progress and maintain OSHC health insurance. There are also certain visa conditions you and your dependents must comply with; breaching a visa condition may result in the cancellation of your visa.

This article was originally published in February 2014. It was last updated in August 2019 to reflect changes to Australian student visa policies.

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Hello there!!!
I'm from Sri Lanka and i want to study in Australia.. I'm with pending A/level results.. So let me know what's the requirements and what can i do for get student visa

I Have Onlu 1year Previous Itr And Now 1yr Advance Itr Can I Apply For Australia Study Visa I Got 74%In Class 12Th And 6 Band Each

Hi i was completed my 12th from nios and i want to study in australia . I am able to go to australia for study visa?

Hello, I have a question about Australian visas. For the financial side of the visa, do you have to have proof of sufficient funds to pay for the entire degree (all tuition/living costs for all 4 years) or is it yearly?

I have only 1 Year ITR im from india i want to apply my visa my college approved my funds and all things.. will i get my visa with 1 year ITR? OR they will reject me?

Hello, I am a student who has gotten admission in Masters in Information Technology at Macquarie University. My term starts in February 2019 and I am now applying for a student visa. I want to ask that I have a previous US student visa refusal, will it have an effect on my chances of getting an Australian student visa?

Hello shahrukh

Hello. Shahrukh are planning on applying for Australian visa ? I have the exact scenario as yours...

no it will not effect
no it will not effect

I am planning to study in Australia on February 2019...can I apply for a student visa now?...or how soon can I apply for a student visa?

My name is prabhjot singh from india . I was completed my 12 grade from pseb.with 57%.in 2017. I got overall 5.5 bands in ielts and each module i got R5.5 ,L 5.5, S 6, writing 5 .Am i eligible for Austrslia

Hello, as far as I'm aware you are eligible to study in Australia, but I would recommend checking the official websites of the universities you're interested in, to make sure you meet the requirements for your course.

Hi .i had done bachlor of commorse in 2010 then after i went saudi for job .nwo i want study visa .its possible or not ?becose hear india some travel agent told me morethen 7 yeras above gap not acepted so its true or fake ..please reply me ..

you can study after any gap of years ..but your course should be relevant to your experience.

hello this is sukhwinder, i am post graduate in stream MCA, i want to study in Australia(wireless and networking course) . my Ielts band score is (S-6.5,L-6,w-6, R-5.5). Is i am eligible for study visa . plz give me suggestion

I want to study in Australia Can you tell me what are Requirements I have Scored 7 band in Ilets

Hi Randeep, please take a look at our complete guide on how to study abroad in Australia, which includes the latest information on entry requirements. 

hello i am from Pakistan i wants to study in Australia on scholarship now i am doing BBA my future plan is to do MBA in marketing please tell me about the scholarships

hello haider.... you can definitely go for MBA, however if you want scholarship than emphasize on your percentage in BBA and also the IELTS band score plays a crucial part in getting a scholarship. A band score of 7 or more would be good and a percentage of 70 or more would definitely provide you with a scholarship,
gud luck

hello! do you know how and what are the requirements to apply student visa if I'm already here as a tourist? And how big is my chance to be granted a student visa?

My wife is working in the advertising(Mainline & DIgital) industry with a total of 5+ years of experiece in the same industry. She wants to pursue further studies in Australia. What are the VISA options and their benefits.

I have get 55 percent in 12th,75 in 10tu and 6.5 in ILETS overall . Can ill be able to get Australian study visa

I'm from Bangladesh...now I'm studying in bachelor degree...how I can get scholarship and whatt is the total amount for masters will be!!??

Hey Trisha, you can read about the costs of studying in Australia here (which includes info on tuition fees for master's degrees) and we have a list of scholarships to study in Australia here. Hope this helps! 

Kindly please. Australian universities have been my daily night and day dreams. How can I acquire a scholarship to study in Australia as an international student? Help because I have been always an unfortunate person.

Hi Kaseloki, we've listed a range of scholarships to study in Australia here. :)

For student visa and work visa, which IELTS exam should I take for each? General or Academic?

hi every one

Hi everyone I had took admission in University of Southern Queensland and it’s been a week I lodged my visa application could anyone please guide me how much time would it take to get visa.. any answers would be honoured

How was it? Did you get a visa?

hi. , i am a filipinina and plan to study in australia? i finish nursing here. .what steps do i nid to do?

hi cheradae first u need ielts or PTE score then u need offerletter for australia university.

hello sir there are schools in australia that requires no ielts one example is UNSW or University of New South Wales .and im also a college graduate of computer engineering id like to study too sir..what should i do first sir?thanks have a nice day

hi cheradae if u want study in australia then i can help you . u can message me

You share information is very helpful to getting student visa. Information describe in steps so it is very easy to understand. Australian Visa Hub is one of the best company to getting australian visa in legal firm.

I have done my schooling from cbse. After 12 I started doing ca course. After completing my ipcc group 1 i got to know about cpa Australia,and I am also interested in it. Can someone guide on it.

Hy I have done 12 with NIOS in 2016 now I. Want to continue my study in abroad but I don't know the processor of visa so pls is someone out there who can help me to know more about visa fees nd college fees plzz

hi anmol if u need any information about australia student visa then u can mail me

hi jatinder, i thought i've some questions about australian universities, can you mail me ?

Hi, I'm having trouble knowing which one is my CoE code. Is it the one where it says Provider or is it the one where it says Course on the CoE document? I really hope someone can help me!!!

I think it might be your course documents one

Hi, I've been accepted by Monash Uni, I haven't yet received the CoE and I need to be in Melb before 12th of Feb as the orientation is on that day. On the Australian Government webpage, it's stated that you may be in or outside Australia when a decision is made on my application. How does that work? I'm really worried that I won't receive visa before my flight to Australia. Also, is there any other documents I need to submit as a Polish citizen? I've traveled to Australia before and I've been granted visa the same day as I applied.

hi guys! i am also to be studying at monash and my visa application has been "received" status for 5 days now! others that i've talked to said they got their visas in under 2 days. i'm nervous that i won't get it in time as well, do you guys have any updates on your status?

I'm having a same issue, have also paid my Tuition fees and still no reply from Monash's Admin office.
Need to know, It's been 2 weeks since you dropped a comment, so you got your CoE o not?

Hi, I have already lodged my VISA to Australia High Commission, however I have done few mistakes while providing information. First I mentioned that I have not done medical check up for Australia Visa requirements in last twelve months. However, at last moment I have finished medical check up. Can I use the same medical check up and HAP ID in which I have completed check up rather than new one?
Secondly, I have not been able to pay for the VISA as it shows zero amount in to be paid.I have got full scholarship and stipend for study?
Can you help me

Hi, I have done 12 from cbse in 2017 from Non-medical and my Ielts is 7.0bands Overall and I want to know that can I get my Australian student visa for tafe or there are chances of my visa rejection

Hello sir can I get visa without english test
Or it must be there

Hi there, I'm afraid you do need to provide an English language test result to prove your proficiency if it's not your first language. 


I have passed my +2 level at 2016 wid 55% with IELTS overall 6. I amPlaning to study in Australia for 1.5 years course of diploma in information technology..Is there any Chances of getting Subclass 500 Student visa.And my Sister is also over there Sponsering me.