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Australia Student Visa Process

Australia student visa process – Visa process, fees, processing time, documents required

by Anup chowdhury

Australia student visa process – Australia is fast rising as a choicest study destination for study abroad aspirants. It is only at number 3 after the USA and the UK in attracting international students. Australia has a plethora of benefits to offer to the overseas students which are hard to ignore. For one, the universities of Australia provide world class and state-of-the-art facilities and strive hard to maintain the quality of education. The natives are largely friendly and the beautiful and exotic natural landscapes would offer you peace and relaxation on your off days. However, the cost of living in Australia is quite high, as is the standard of life and therefore, the international students are advised to take up part time jobs with work of up to 20 hours per week (as per the student visa rules) and enjoy a minimum earning of AUD 19.49 per hour. 

Over and above, the most student-friendly feature of Australia is the ease of visa process that it offers. This article offers an in-depth analysis into the Australian visa process and fees. 

Popular reads: Admission in Australia without IELTS & Student life in Australia

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Australia Student Visa Process – Visa Application

To start the Australian visa process, you would be required to fill a visa application form and pay the visa application fees. If all goes well, you might be required to attend an interview. A student visa applicant to Australia has to prove to the Department of Home Affairs that they meet the following requirements:

  • GTE (Genuine Temporary Entrant) – This requirement is a form of an integrity measure and states that the applicant has to prove that he/she is a genuine temporary entrant for the need of study. You could also be a guardian accompanying the student. GTE is a statement written by the applicant but does not prevents the students to later apply for a permanent residency visa in Australia or work here. Once it is proved and accepted, you might be required to attend an interview at the nearest Australian embassy or consulate. During the interview, the deciding authorities at the embassy would consider the following points:
    • your immigration history
    • your chosen course and its value in your future
    • reason for not studying in your home country, if a similar course is available there
    • ties to Australia that present a strong incentive to stay in Australia
    • current economic, political and civil circumstances in your home country
    • planned living arrangements in Australia
    • financial stability
  • English Proficiency – For a non-native English speaker, it is necessary to provide a score card of one or either of the globally accepted English language proficiency tests. Some of these tests are IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, CAE and CPE. You may be exempted in case you have been studying or working in a native English-speaking country for at least 5 years and can get a letter of reference from your previous employer. The required score depends on the course and the level that you are undertaking, that is, a full graduate program, a foundation course, or any other.

The acceptable test scores for student visa in Australia are:

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY TEST

MINIMUM TEST SCORE

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

5.5 to 6

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

46

Pearson Test of English – Academic (PTE)

42

Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

162

Occupational English Test (OET)

B for each test component

  • Adequate Finances – You need to prove to the authorities that you have enough funds to complete your study in Australia and also the cost of living, etc. In case you are accompanied by your spouse or child, you would be required to prove that you will be able to cover their expenses as well including the school fees of your child. Alternatively, as your spouse gets an option to work in Australia, you can prove that they would be able to help you with the expenses. The average funds (separate from tuition and travel costs) that you need to have are AUD$ 20,290/year. You may even show evidence that your spouse or parents are willing to support you and that they earn at least AUD$60,000 a year.
  • Health and Character – Some student visa applicants might be asked to undergo a health test by a doctor registered by the immigration department of Australia to see if they meet the minimum health standards, as set by the government of Australia. The student will have to undergo various health examinations for this. The authorities also need to check that the visa applicant is of good character. For this, they would require you to have a clear criminal record and probably a police statement. You might also be asked to fill a Character Statutory Declaration Form. This declaration must be done before an authorized person. 

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Australia Student Visa Process – Applying For A Student Visa

All the overseas students who want to study in Australia have to apply for the same student visa (Subclass 500). 

A CoE (Confirmation of Enrolment) or a Letter of Offer is required before applying for a visa. The CoE would confirm that you have been invited and accepted in a particular course which is registered under the CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses). You might also be asked to pay a deposit towards the tuition fees for your field of study. 

Though you can change your study course afterwards to a different level, you would be required to apply for a new visa if the change is towards a lower level than your current on the AQF (Australian Qualification Framework). You also get the option to combine your field of study with another if both the courses are in succession to each other, that is, they show a clear progression from one course to another. Also, there should not be a gap of more than 2 months between the courses otherwise the visa would get cancelled. 

Almost all the students are asked to purchase the OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover). This can be purchased through your university or through either of the approved providers. These providers are BUPA Australia, Australian Health Management, Allianz Global Assistance, nib OSHC, and Medibank private. The cost to purchase would differ for every student as it depends on the cover which you are purchasing and also on the provider. 

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Australia Student Visa Process- Documents Required

The following documents must be submitted as per the requirement of the Department of Home Affairs of the Australian Government:

  • Student visa application form (157A)
  • Visa application fees paid – AUD$ 620
  • Proof of enough funds – Most of the Indian students show their financial capacity by providing evidence of funds for the first 12 months of study. You need to have evidence of funds to cover travel to Australia and 12 months’ living, course and (for school-aged dependants) schooling costs for the student and accompanying family members. The living costs are for 12 months are
    • Student: AUD 20,209
    • Partner/Spouse: AUD 7,100
    • Child: AUD 3,040
    • Travel Cost: About 2,000 A$
  • Acceptable evidence to fulfil financial requirements of Australian student visa includes:
    • Money deposited with a financial institution (Bank Balance, FD etc…)
    • A loan with a financial institution
    • If you have money in Post office, PF/PPF, Co-operative Bank etc then transfer funds to a valid bank and keep proof of source of funds (Post office, PF/PPF, Co-operative Bank etc…)
    • Government loans; and
    • Scholarship or financial support

Another way of fulfilling the financial requirements during the visa process is showing the evidence of personal annual income of at least AUD$ 60,000. The income shown must be the personal income of student’s parents or spouse (who is not accompanying the student). Where both of the student’s parents are working, their combined income can be considered for this requirement. Evidence must be in the form of official government documents such as tax assessments (IT Returns). Evidence in the form of bank statements or information directly from an employer is not acceptable. For students accompanied by family members, the requirement is at least AUD 70,000.

  • Copy of passport
  • The Certificate of Enrolment (CoE) or the Letter of Offer from the University where you are going to study. The CoE confirms the course for which you have applied is approved and is registered under CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students). In case you are planning to undertake an English language preparatory course which could lead you to a main field of study, or a foundation course, you would need to provide a CoE for each of these programs separately. 
  • Score card of English proficiency tests – You should be able to provide evidence that:
    • You have obtained the required test scores in a department approved English language test.
    • You have completed eligible studies in English.
    • You fall into an exemption category.
  • Proof of health insurance cover being purchased – You should have adequate health insurance for yourself and your family members for your duration of stay in Australia. Also, you and your family members must be covered by OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) from an authorized health insurance provided from Australia.
  • Police Statement/No criminal record check
  • 4 passport size photographs.

Australia Student Visa Process – Processing Time

Once you have completed these documents, you would need to create and account at immi.homeaffairs.gov.au and apply with the online application system. After submitting the documents and paying the application fees online, you will get a Transaction Reference Number (TRN). This would help you to track your application. On an average, it takes approximately 4 weeks to process the visa application. The processing time invariably depends on your providing all the required documents and the time taken for verifications, etc. 

There is a possibility that your visa processing might take longer if:

  • You have not filled the application correctly.
  • You have not included all the required documents or the authorities need more information from you. 
  • The authorities take time to verify your information. 

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Australia Student Visa Process- Validity

The validity of Australian Student Visa (Subclass 500) depends on the course duration and is up to 5 years.  You need to choose a study program between 12 and 52 weeks to be eligible for a student visa. The visa granted to you will depend on the length of your course. 

Australia Student Visa Process – Usage

You are allowed entry into Australia around 90 days before your course starts. You are supposed to inform your institute/university about your residence address within 7 days of reaching. You are allowed to work for 40 hrs./fortnight while you are studying and full-time when you are on vacation. However, your job should not be the sole source of supporting you and your family in Australia. Also, you cannot start working until your course has started. 

Australia Student Visa Process – Conditions After Getting The Student Visa

When you have a student visa, you are required to fulfill certain obligations:

  1. You should keep yourself enrolled in a CRICOS registered course.
  2. Maintain the OSHC health insurance
  3. You can work only for 40 hrs in a fortnight and also not start working before your course starts. 
  4. You are expected to make satisfactory progress in your field of study and meet the course requirements.
  5. You must obey the law and order rules and conditions in Australia.

Australia Student Visa Process – Cost of Student Visa In Australia

Below are student visa fees charged by the Department of Home Affairs, Australia: 

Visa Type

Main applicant  Base Application Charge

Additional Applicant Charge – 18 and over

Additional Applicant Charge – under 18

STUDENT VISA (SUBCLASS 500)

AUD$ 620

AUD$ 460 (each)

AUD$ 150 (each)

SUBSEQUENT ENTRANT (SUBCLASS 500)

AUD$ 620

AUD$ 460 (each)

AUD$ 150 (each)

STUDENT GUARDIAN (SUBCLASS 500)

AUD$ 620

N/A

N/A

STUDENT VISA (SUBCLASS 500) – POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH SECTOR

AUD$ 620

N/A

N/A

You might also be required to pay for various other costs, for example, health checks, biometrics, and police certificates.

Australia Student Visa Process – FAQ’s

Q. How much is the Australian student visa fee?

The base application charge for an Australian student visa is AUD$ 620. There are additional applicant’s charges in case of family member/s accompanying the student. 

Q. Is an Australian student visa easy to get?

When compared to the US or the UK, Australia makes it very easy for students to get a visa. Until and unless there is something very wrong with your application, getting an Australian student visa should be a comfortable process. 

Q. How long does it take to get a student visa for Australia?

A postgraduate student’s 500 visa could take anywhere between 7 and 11 weeks. The students looking to pursue VET (Vocational Education and Training sector) generally have the longest waiting time to get their Australian student visa, that is from 9 to 12 weeks.

Q. Does Australian student visa get rejected?

Some of the reasons for a rejection of student visa are – The applicant could not produce satisfactory answers for the reasons of stay in Australia during the interview process, was unable to give evidence of sufficient financial funds to study and live in Australia, has a past criminal record, is unable to meet Australian health requirements, has incorrect information on the visa application form, or has stayed illegally in Australia or a country other than Australia. 

Q. Does Australian embassy conduct an interview for student visa?

The Australian Embassy conduct an interview to issue student visas after being satisfied on the following basis:

  • your immigration history
  • your chosen course and its value in your future
  • reason for not studying in your home country, if a similar course is available there
  • ties to Australia that present a strong incentive to stay in Australia
  • current economic, political and civil circumstances in your home country
  • planned living arrangements in Australia
  • financial stability

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