Australia Student Visa Explained

By StudyLink

Australia Student Visa

If you want to study in Australia, the chances are that you will need an Australian student visa. If you are familiar with the process of obtaining a student visa, you’ll know how daunting this can be.

In 2010 the Australian government commissioned a report of the student visa system that was in operation. The report was meant to simplify the process, but it can still be confusing trying to piece together the relevant information yourself. This article will help you to navigate the Australian student visa application process.

Applying for an Australian Student Visa

If you are thinking of studying in Australia and applying for a visa, you are in good company. Over 60,000 students applied for visas in the last three months of 2012. It’s worth noting that there is no limit on the amount of visas granted to eligible students, so you don’t need to worry about competition.

With that being said, and even though the process has been simplified, it’s arguably still more confusing than applying for a UK student visa (see our article on UK student visas). Your home country and the course you are planning on studying will actually determine which visa you require. There are eight different student subclasses which the Australian government have put in place to determine which visa is correct for you. The ones that are likely to be most relevant to you are as follows;

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)

This subclass applies to English language courses that either lead to a certificate or do not result in a formal Australian award.

Higher education

This is the Visa to apply for if you plan to study a bachelor degree, associate degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, higher education diploma, higher education advanced diploma or masters by coursework. Think of it as the undergraduate and taught postgraduate option.

Postgraduate research

This student subclass applies to anybody planning on studying a masters by research or a doctoral degree such as a PhD.


This subclass is applicable to those studying a course that doesn’t lead to an Australian award.

Student Guardians

If your parents or relatives wanted to go with you to Australia whilst you study, they could apply for a visa too. We would recommend that you think through this carefully before deciding on whether or not this is right for you. Part of the attraction of studying abroad for many is the opportunity for increased independence, if you’re parents are there, you’d be missing out on that freedom, although it could help if you were prone to feeling homesick whilst studying abroad.

Once you’ve found the right subclass, and as such know which particular visa you will be applying for, you’ll need to make sure you meet all the requirements including the genuine temporary entrant requirement, proving your financial capacity, evidencing your English language proficiency and proving that you’ll comply with the conditions of your visa. You’ll also have to meet any other matters considered relevant to assessing your application. It’s best to browse through the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website for a more detailed look at each of these points. You could also find out if you will have enough money in your bank account for the visa by finding out how much it costs to study in Australia on StudyCostCompare.

Choosing the right student visa for Australia and making sure you meet all the relevant requirements can get confusing. The Australian government have created a clever tool to help find out what is the correct visa for you. We’d recommend taking a look at this before filling out the forms.

Arriving in Australia with a Student Visa

Once you’ve got your Australia student visa, it doesn’t mean you can automatically gain entry to the country when you arrive. The Australian Customs Service can still refuse you entry to the country if you don’t have all the necessary information and paperwork to hand. This wouldn’t be the best start to your study abroad experience, so it’s best to make sure you’ve got all the relevant information and documents to hand. You will go through immigration before collecting your main luggage, so ensure you’ve got all the paperwork from your student visa application to hand. Once you’re in the country, make sure you enjoy your study abroad experience in Australia. We are sure you’ll have the time of your life.

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