Processing an Australian student visa

The Australian student visa is a permit that allows foreign residents to temporarily reside in the country to pursue their education. It’s an essential requirement for international students, and it must be obtained even before they commence their studies. In this guide, we’ll go through everything an applicant needs to know about processing an Australian student visa, from eligibility to requirements to the whole application process.


The Subclass 500 Student visa

The Australian student visa, officially known as the Subclass 500 Student visa, permits international students to participate in an eligible course of study in Australia. It allows them to travel in and out of the country and work up to 48 hours per fortnight during their course of study, for a duration of up to five years (aligned with the applicant’s enrolment).

To be eligible for a Subclass 500 Student visa, the applicant must:

  • apply online in or outside of Australia
  • be six years old or older (or pass the age requirement of their course)
  • be enrolled in a course of study in Australia
  • meet English language requirements
  • hold Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) or fall in one of the exemption categories
  • have enough money for their stay
  • be a genuine temporary entrant (i.e. pass the GTE requirement)
  • meet character and health requirements
  • sign the Australian values statement
  • prove they have a welfare arrangement (if under the age of 18)
  • have no debt to the Australian government (if any, they must have paid it back)
  • hold an eligible substantive visa (if in Australia; note that any substantive visa ceases to be in effect if another is granted)
  • have not had a visa cancelled or an application refused.


Australian student visa requirements

The Australian Department of Home Affairs provides a list of Australian student visa requirements. Typically, students must submit the following:

  • completed Australian student visa application form
  • payment of the student visa application fee
  • copy of passport biodata page (some applicants may be required to provide their physical passport)
  • certificate of enrolment or letter of offer from an Australian institution
  • evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition, travel and living costs (minimum AUD 24,505 in savings)
  • English proficiency test results
  • evidence of good health, along with health insurance coverage
  • criminal record check results (and, if necessary, a penal clearance certificate or police statement and a character statutory declaration)
  • passport-sized photos.


How to get an Australian student visa

Here’s a step-by-step guide to the Australian student visa application process:

1. Get accepted into an Australian study program

Before a student applies for a Subclass 500 Student visa, they must already be accepted into an Australian educational institution. After receiving a letter of acceptance, the individual must pay the tuition fee. They will receive a Certificate of Enrollment (CoE), which is required for the student visa application.

If the student is doing multiple programs, they must obtain a CoE for each one.

2. Create an ImmiAccount

Australian student visas are typically processed online through the Australian Department of Home Affairs immigration platform. The ImmiAccount is where applicants must submit all their requirements and where they can track their visa application status.

3. Gather all requirements

Gather all the requirements needed for the student visa application. When applying online, all documents must be digitised (i.e. scanned and uploaded in a digital format). Everything must also be in English. If the documents are in another language, they must be translated by a certified translator.

If the student is missing some documents, they can save their application and then continue later on.

4. Complete the visa application

Applicants must complete their Subclass 500 Student visa application at least eight weeks before their program starts (as stated on their CoE).

5. Pay the visa application fee

After completing their application, the student must pay a fee of AUD 710.00. This won’t be refunded whether or not the student visa is accepted. After paying, the applicant will receive a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) that they can use to rack their application online.

6. Prepare for a possible health checkup and interview

Depending on the details of the student’s application (e.g. where they’ll live), they may have to undergo a health checkup and/or interview. The student will know if they need to do this after they submit their application and pay the fee. It’s important not to proceed with the health checkup prior to completing these two steps. Health checkups must also be done by doctors approved by Australian immigration.

7. Wait for the visa decision

Processing an Australian student visa typically take a few weeks, but the Australian government has recently announced faster processing times for visa applications, including an improved turnaround time of as quick as 16 days (previously it took up to 49 days) for student visa applications. This may be longer or shorter depending on the quality of the application and how busy the Australian immigration authorities are.

After an Australian student visa is processed, the applicant will get an email notification of the result. The visa is electronic, but students may print the visa grant letter and show this with their passport when they travel to the country for their studies.


Stay updated on the Australian student visa process

It’s important to keep international students updated about the Australian student visa process, especially since the country’s immigration authorities may impose changes from time to time (e.g. an increase in fees, shorter processing times, etc.). Connect with Global Study Partners (GSP) to stay up to date with important requirements and processes to enable foreign students to pursue education in Australia!

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