How to apply for an Australia student visa

If you’ve chosen to accept a place at an Australian university, then you must apply for an Australian student visa. If you’re a full time student, you’ll need a Subclass 500 visa, which costs around Aud $575 per application, and you must apply at least six weeks before your course starts.

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Australian student visa (subclass 500) process

  1. Be accepted for a full-time course: this needs to be at a recognised educational institution that can provide you with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) once you have accepted and paid any necessary fees
  2. Register and start the online application: have your documents such as your CoE to hand as you need them for your application
  3. Pay the fee: when you pay the fee for your application you’ll receive a transaction reference number
  4. Attend a visa interview: You may be asked to arrange a visa interview or health check up
  5. Decision: you will receive the outcome of your application in writing along with any reasons for refusal

Student dependent visas for Australia

When submitting your student visa application you should name any partners or children to make them eligible to join you in Australia. Any dependent children must be unmarried and under the age of 18.

There is an additional fee for each family member joining you in Australia.

Australian student visa requirements

Any documents you need to submit for your application should be scanned in color, and saved as PDFs. You may also need certified translations if the original documents aren’t in English.

Throughout the process of getting your Australian student visa, you may be asked to provide the following:

  • Confirmation of enrolment (CoE)
  • A personal statement in English (GTE requirement)
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
  • Biometrics
  • Police certificate
  • Proof of finances
  • English proficiency certification

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement

This is a personal statement declaring your intent to study in Australia, and intent to leave following the completion of your program. It should give the Australian government a good overview of your situation and ties to your home country. If you are able to use documents alongside the statement that could help show this, it will make you application stronger.

Things to try and cover in your GTE:

  • Previous study: where you have studied previously and your results.
  • Gaps in study: reasons why there are any gaps in your education.
  • Employment: current employment and details, with the name and contact details of someone who can verify it. Include any offers of employment on completion of your studies if applicable.
  • Family and social ties: the family and friends you want to return to after your studies.
  • Your financial circumstances: documents showing employment prior to submitting your application, incuding income tax returns, reports or bank statements.

Australian health insurance requirement

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is required for students studying in Australia. The cover can be bought from a range of Australian healthcare providers, and must be purchased to cover you from the first date you arrive in Australia.

OSHC covers you for basic medical care, such as visiting a doctor, and can be arranged through your chosen university. You may wish to take out more comprehensive cover for your time in Australia.

Australian student visa processing time

As a general rule, you should expect to wait between 6 and 11 weeks to get your 500 visa processed.

As it can take several weeks to get a decision, it’s really important you start your visa application as soon as possible.

You should apply at least three months before your departure date to give yourself a good chance of having your visa granted in time.

Working with a subclass 500 student visa

If you’re on a subclass 500 student visa you can work in Australia once the course has started. You can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight and unlimited hours during university holidays.

What to do if your visa is rejected

If your visa is refused don’t panic. The vast majority of applications are successful, but there are some situations where you will get a rejection.

If your application is refused due to something that can be easily fixed, like missing documents, simply reapply, putting any errors right. It’s worth remembering that visa fees are usually non-refundable, so it pays to get it right the first time.

If your application was rejected for a reason you don’t agree with, you can lodge a formal appeal. You should contact the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and ask them to review your application. You will need to outline why your think your application should be accepted, and provide any evidence to support your claim.

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