You are here

Interested in studying in Australia?

Check out our comprehensive guide!

How to Get an Australian Student Visa

How to Get an Australian Student Visa main image

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.

Want more content like this? Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Summiya I, Laraib B & 119 others saved this
anna@qs.com's profile image
Written by Hasna Haidar

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles


i can help you out you can contact me

I apply for student visa in australia (sydney) i get my offer letter for november intake i also cleared my fund process but i didnt get any mail about fees time period is very short please help me can i get my visa within one month period

i can help you out you can contact me

How do you apply please? ?

i can help you out you can contact me

I have recieved my visa on 24th july 2017 but it was last date of course so my coe was deffered n now i have a new coe for November intake. When can i travel. My course starts from 13 nov.

What are steps to get visa?

Can I get student visa by these steps

Hello, I got my ecoe from australian university and now planning to lodge my visa this month, but some of my documents which is from my sponsor are from the date year of 2016, it is possible to use it? Or i have to ask another updated documents.

Hi. I have got admission in australian university. I have a spouse and 1 year old child. Currently only I will go and will call my family when I get setteld. So in student visa application should i have to attach some differnt docs other than marriage certificate and birth certificate of my child. ? Someone told me to submit proof that back in my home country my family has sufficient funds for one year. Is that necessary for student visa applicstion ?

Hi Hassan, this page on the border.gov.au website should help - included in the list of requirements is the finanical requirement that you need to earn at least AU$70,000 a year or evidence of funds for travel, education and living costs for yourself and family members for 12 months.

Hey! I'm from pakistan and i had just done inter and want to do CA(Charted accountant)
Is it available in aus?? And how much time is required for ca??

I completed my high school studies few years back. And then i worked in finance here to support my family financially but now i want to continue my further study in Australia as i was very bright student but only problem is I had a gap of about 3 years in middle while I was working. So what do I do now? Can I get student visa to continue my further studies in Australia?

Hi, I have a bachelor degree but I want to study a certificate in Marketing. can i get a student visa to Australia if I want to study
a certificate or it is only for Masters and bachelor or phd etc...?

Hello, you can still get a student visa to study a certificate - your course will need to be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and courses for Overseas for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

I have UK degree, what's the requirement for me. Please can you contact me on my email

i did study that course here in nigeria but i wish to further the course in Australia

and the course i want to study is hospitality and tourism please can you help me with the necessary steps to take

Hi Eudes, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Australia can help to get you started, and you might also like to view our latest rankings by subject for hospitality and leisure management, with the results narrowed down to show only Australian universities. 

I am Vipul Jaiswal and studying business level 7 in New Zealand.My this diploma will complete in June 2017 and i am planing to move Australia for further studies.please let me know which types of degree or diploma are available for me at there.I am intrested in MBA. Pleaee let me fees and requirements.I am indian citizen and looking for enhance my study skills in australia.

hi! I want to study at an Australian university. Is it required to prove that I am able to pay for all 3 years of studying or only for the 1st one? (so i can go there, work while im studying and during holidays and save money for the next year)

i can help you out you can contact me

Interesting comments . I am thankful for the details , Does anyone know if my business might be able to grab a blank Nepal Visa Application Form version to fill out ?

HI. I'm going to apply for a student visa. I will also indicate my husband in the application. Will he have the right to work in Australia? And which rights will he have with my student visa? Thanks

Hi. I am trying to apply for a student visa and they are asking you to list every travels you have done the past 10 years with exact dates if I understand it right?! Do they really expect people to do so?

hi my name is tekali i am from Eritrea i graduated in the year 2014 with marine biology and fisheries in degree program i want know if there is a scholarship opportunity and also what are the requirements needed

Hi Tekali, we've listed a range of international scholarships to study in Australia here. 

very usefull information, thanks for sharing

Glad it was helpful. :)

Hi i Want to Study inaustralia Sport

Nd i hav applied at TAFE NSW . Nd made my financial strong too

Hey mam , i am from nepal nd hav passed my +2 level at 2015 wid 56.90% wid pte 56 . I am going Australia for 1.5 years course of diploma in information technology. I hav already logded my visa 5 days ago nd my sister is also living in Australia holding a PR nd sponsoring me . Are there chances of getting me visa ? Nd can high commission will call me for interview? Please tell me the chances for my student visa.

Bro!Let me Know .Have you Got your Student visa with these Academic percentage?
Waiting For your Reply

Hello my name is Chaimaa i m 16 years old and i m from Morocco . I m a senior in high school and i want to know if there is scholarships for students who just accomplished their studies in high school and join universities for the first time , in countries like the US , Korea or Singapore

Hey Hasna Haidar,
I AM JASIA ..I AM FROM Bangladesh. I want to study Bachelor Of Law (Honours) in Australia . BUT I am totally confused between two university . They r UTS (University Of Technology Sydney) which is in sydney and MONASH university which is in Melbourne .. please tell me which one will be better for law?? Please tell me fast as i dont have so much time .

Hi Jasia, on checking our latest rankings by subject for law I can see that Monash University ranks higher for law than UTS (23rd whereas UTS is 41st). However, ultimately you should base your decision on which course and university is the better fit for your interests and preferences. You can read more advice on how to choose a university here. Hope this helps!

Hello There,
Am an adult person. I have completed Undergraduate Foundation Program from UK and now wanted further study and have chosen my destination Australia. I have few queries if someone can help me sort out. Does Australian immigration consider age as student? Is it compulsory IELTS or can get admission with conditional offer letter. Please let me know. Thanks

Dear Madam, am Hellen from Uganda, I would like to apply for a bachelor's in counseling and guidance, but have a child, 10 years old, want to travel with him. So my query is;
Will I be allowed to travel with him and if so, will he also be permitted to study from my student's visa? Or he will need his own visa? Please help me. Thanks.

Hi Namukwaya, your son can accompany you to Australia if you include him in your student visa application. You'll need to prove that you have the funds to support your travel costs, costs of living and tuition fees of both your son's schooling and your university degree for at least 12 months. You can find out more about the requirements here. Hope this helps! :)

Hi.My name is navtej.i have got my COE from Deakin University and have applied for visa on 20 September.How will it take to get the visa.What are the of getting an interview call from the embassy,as i have 6.5 bands in ielts and got 75% marks in the 12 th exams.And if get the interview call what are questions they asked and how should I answer them?What if i got the visa after the date of orientation i.e 31october.
Thank you

hi, i am from Nepal.i have one blockage in pcl(+2) exam,does it make any difficulty for me to get australia visa?

hi,greeting from Nepal. i want to apply for bachelor in Account and finance. so i am interested to join Australian University. please Guide me

Hi Anup, to help you to choose a university, you might like to view our rankings by subject for accounting and finance, with the results narrowed down to show only Australian universities. Our complete guide on how to study abroad in Australia contains useful information on applications, average tuition fees and living expenses, student visas and more. Hope this helps! 

Hello, I want to apply for masters in communication and media in australia.I am 32 yeas old,Ive done my bachelors in 2003 and after that i am doing government job for last five years.Now i have left my job and now i am doing post graduate diploma in mass commiunicatin through distance mode from punjab university.
i have scored 7.5 in ilets.please suggest am i eligible for study in australia, please guide me.

Hi Udey, I think you should be eligible to apply for a masters degree in Australia. To help you to choose a university, you could view our rankings by subject for communication and media studies, with the results narrowed down to show only Australian universities. Our complete guide on how to study abroad in Australia should help to get you started, detailing applications, costs, visas and more. Hope this helps!

hello I want to Join the Graduate Course from Computer Science and Engineering

Hi! I am a Filipino completed 11 yrs of study but I have certificate in food and beverage NC II from Philippines. I wish to study in Australia under vocational education and training sector. I have read some information on how how to apply for specific course, but I have a question about VISA requirements and process and how will I be able to get those requirements. Please give me some information. Thanks!

My dream is to study in australia from my childhood.but my acadamic grade is low.i visited many consultancies here in nepal.they said that my australian student visa chance is low because of my academic grade. Plz tell me if i can get any chances..i want to study bachelors in information management

what should be done to study in australia for further studies???how to apply any suggestion?

Hi Sabin, our complete guide on how to study abroad in Australia includes information on how to apply. :)