Student visa process for Australia

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Australia is a hugely popular study destination for international students looking for an overseas education in the English language. If you are planning to study in Australia, one of the first steps is to apply for your Australian student visa.

In this article, I provide a step-by-step guide on the Australia student visa process including the different types of student visas, documents required, costs involved and tips for a successful visa application.

Types of Australian Student Visas

There are several visa options for international students wanting to study in Australia:

  • Student Visa (Subclass 500)
  • Independent ELICOS Visa (Subclass 570)
  • Vocational Education and Training Sector Visa (Subclass 572)
  • Higher Education Sector Visa (Subclass 573)
  • Postgraduate Research Sector Visa (Subclass 574)
  • Non-Award Sector Visa (Subclass 575)
  • AusAID or Defence Sector Visa (Subclass 576)

The most common visa route for higher education students is the Subclass 500 visa. This allows you to study any recognized course at the bachelor, master or doctoral level at an authorized Australian university.

For studying English language courses, you can apply for the Subclass 570 visa. If you want to pursue vocational training courses (like trade certificates), you need the Subclass 572 visa.

Once you have narrowed down on your preferred Australian institution and course of study, you can check the specific visa you need to apply for on their website or with the institution’s international admissions office.

Age Requirements

To be eligible for a student visa for Australia, you need to meet these age requirements:

  • Student visa applicants must be above the age of 6 years at the time of visa application.
  • For school-level courses, you mustn’t be older than 50 years of age.
  • If you are above 18 years, you can study any recognized course in Australia including higher education.

In the visa application form, you must provide supporting documents as evidence of your age like a copy of your passport, birth certificate or 10th standard mark sheet.

Academic Requirements

To get an Australian student visa, you need to provide proof that you meet the academic requirements for your chosen course of study and have been accepted by your selected education provider.

For undergraduate programs, you typically need to demonstrate completion of 12 years of schooling or equivalent academic qualifications. For graduate courses, you need a recognized bachelor’s degree or higher.

You must get an unconditional offer letter from the Australian institute you are applying to for study. This acts as evidence that you meet the academic and English language proficiency requirements for the course.

English Language Ability

If your previous studies were not in English, you will need to prove a minimum level of English language ability as part of the student visa requirements. This is done through standardized language tests like:

  • IELTS Academic
  • Pearson PTE Academic
  • Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)

The minimum test score required is an IELTS score of 5.5 for most courses. For studying nursing or law, you may need a higher score of 6.5 or 7. Check your chosen Australian university’s language requirements before applying.

Financial Requirements

To get an Australian student visa, you must prove you have enough funds to cover tuition fees as well as living expenses for your first year of study. This is done by providing evidence like:

  • Proof of annual tuition fee payment to your chosen institute
  • Bank statements showing at least AU$20,290 as funds for living costs
  • Proof of scholarship or sponsorship covering your fees and stay
  • Evidence you meet the annual income threshold for international students

You also need to prove you have health insurance through Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This acts as proof you can cover medical costs in Australia.

How To Apply?

To apply for an Australian student visa, you need to follow these steps:

  • Get unconditional offer letter from your chosen Australian university
  • Take language tests like IELTS/PTE and obtain min. required scores
  • Submit online visa application and pay visa fees
  • Attach supporting documents
  • Get medical examination
  • Attend visa interview (if required)
  • Wait for visa processing decision

You start by researching universities and courses in Australia and applying directly to institutes. Once you get an unconditional offer letter, you become eligible to apply for the student visa.

Applications are submitted online via ImmiAccount along with attaching supporting documents. Biometrics collection and medical examination are also required. Processing typically takes 1 to 3 months after which you are informed if your student visa is approved.

Documents Checklist

Some key documents needed for the Australian student visa application are:

  • Valid passport
  • Recent passport-size photographs
  • Offer letters from Australian institute
  • Proof of tuition fee payment
  • English test scores (IELTS/TOEFL/PTE)
  • Academic transcripts and certificates
  • Financial documents
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical examination report
  • Police clearance certificates

Make sure to check the latest checklist on the Australia immigration website as it gets updated frequently. Keep digital and physical copies of all documents ready before submitting your application.

Visa Fees

Visa application fees for an Australian student visa are:

  • Main applicant fee: AU$630
  • Additional applicant fee (for family members): AU$1,715
  • Additional medical examination fees may apply

The fees can be paid via credit card, debit card, PayPal etc. while submitting your application online. Make sure you have sufficient balance available.

Visa Processing Time

Once you have submitted the fully completed Australian student visa application, processing typically takes anywhere between 1 to 4 months currently.

You can track your visa status online via ImmiAccount. Complex cases may take longer, so its advisable to apply 3-4 months in advance of your intended start date for study in Australia.

Having all documents ready, meeting English and financial requirements, and applying well in time can help fast track your student visa approval.

Top Tips for Student Visa Success

  • Apply to multiple Australian universities to maximize chances of admission
  • Book IELTS/PTE dates well in advance to obtain good scores
  • Make unconditional offer letter your first priority
  • Collect all documents diligently as per checklist
  • Check official website for latest visa rules and updates
  • Pay attention to detail and double check forms
  • Apply 4-5 months in advance of course start date
  • Opt for priority visa processing if offered by university
  • Join pre-departure briefing sessions by your institute

I hope this detailed guide helps you understand the Australian student visa process and requirements. The key is to research thoroughly, prepare well in advance, and double check every detail in your application. If you apply systematically with all documentation, you have a very good chance of Australian student visa success.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other queries on getting your study visa for Australia! And don’t forget to keep checking back for more tips on studying, working and living abroad.