If you’re planning to take that big leap to study abroad in Australia, you’re going to need a student visa. No buts about it. So how do you get one?
The student visa application process definitely isn’t mysterious. To be honest it’s pretty clear-cut and dry. But still, it can be a bit tricky when it comes to navigating all the policy documents, and not missing any of the requirement fine print.
So, we’re going to make life easier and give you a step-by-step, beginning to end, top to bottom, rundown of the student visa process. You’re going to have to follow the Department of Home Affairs (strict) guidelines if you’re wanting to study in Oz.
What kind of visa will you be applying for? If you’re planning on studying in Australia, you’re going to need a Student Visa: Subclass 500. This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study full-time at a recognised education institution. In that case, you’re going to have to tick off the Subclass 500 requirements. Let’s get started.
Before we run through the visa process, there is one fundamental box that you need to make sure you’ve got covered: you need to be at least 6 years of age.
That should be pretty doable, so let’s get stuck into the nitty gritty… Here are the Student Visa (Subclass 500) requirements that you’re going to need to tick off:
STEP 1: ENROLMENT
Once you’ve been accepted and confirmed a place in your university (or other tertiary) course, you’ll want to get your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form and include it in your visa application.
The CoE is basically proof that you’re going to be studying in Australia. If you don’t have it then you can’t apply for a student visa. Simple stuff, right?
Make sure you include your CoE codes in your student visa application. Without it you won’t be granted a visa.
STEP 2: GENUINE TEMPORARY ENTRANT REQUIREMENTS
Now first and foremost, are you genuine? A genuine student that is. Well you better hope so because the officer processing your visa will be assessing whether you have a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.
Want to impress the Australian Government? Time to whip out your CoE for starters. And then you need to pull out the big guns. So, what’s your GTE ammo? Your application letter of course.
You’re going to want a smack-bang-on the money application letter that explains why you’re a Genuine Temporary Entrant. Basically, put as much information into your GTE statement as humanly possible. This is how you’ll give those assessors a holistic view of your circumstances. Specifically, you’ll want to provide plenty information and evidence about:
- Previous Study: academic transcripts which show your qualifications, name of education provider, duration of study, and certificates of attainment.
- Gap in previous study: (if any) give reasons for gaps between your studies.
- Current employment: i.e. employer, company address, period of employment/position held, and include the name and contact details who can verify this. Basically, it is like a resume for your student visa application.
- Ties to home/resident country: i.e. evidence of financial, family and/or social ties. You need to show you have significant incentives to return home once your exchange study is complete.
- Economic circumstances in home/resident country: i.e. documents showing your employment and/or business activities in the 12 months prior to launching your visa application.
STEP 3: HEALTH/HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
If you want that student visa, you’re going to have to prove you’re currently a healthy specimen and plan on continuing that fine health streak that you’ve got going. You will need to undergo a health assessment as part of your visa application process.
The health assessment can take several weeks to complete. So to avoid those annoying delays and the complications they can cause, try doing your health examinations before lodging your student visa application.
To make things easy, My Health Declarations (MHD) is a service for people who have not yet lodged a visa application and want to do health examinations pre-application lodging. So, give MHD a whirl so that you can get your health declarations sorted out.
Now on top of award-winning health declarations, you’re also going to have to show that you’ll continue to be a shining example of health. To get a student visa you’re going to have to organise adequate health insurance for the duration of your stay in Australia.
Time to get your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This will ensure you have medical and hospital insurance in Oz. All student visa holders must have OSHC and you are not to arrive in Australia before your insurance starts! If you’re in Australia without adequate health insurance, you’re in breach of visa condition 8501, do not pass go, do not collect $200, back home you go.
Your education provider might organise OSHC coverage for you, so suss the situation out with your university. If this is the case, you’ll need to know the name of your health insurance provider, and the start and end date of your policy.
If you organise OSHC yourself: choose an approved provider, pay the policy, and make sure you include the policy number in your visa application (name, start and end date, so on).
STEP 4: ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
Now you’ll be wanting to have a few English language skills hiding up your sleeve if you want to live and study in Australia. How else will you study?
You’ll need to pass the English test, with documentary proof that you obtained a satisfactory test score. There’s a minimum English Language Test Score that classifies as proficiency in English.
To get your student visa application up and running smoothly, make sure you ace the IELTS and include documentary evidence. You must also have taken (and passed) the test a maximum of two years before you apply for a student visa.
Some foreign students are exempt from providing evidence if:
- You’re enrolled in a standalone English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
- You’re enrolled in a post-graduate research course.
- You’re a citizen and passport holder from an English-speaking country, or
- You’ve completed at least five years in an English-speaking country.
STEP 5: FINANCIAL CAPACITY REQUIREMENTS
Show me the money. Living and studying in Australia can clock up a few figures in your bank. So, you’d better have enough money (that’s genuinely available) to pay for your course fees, travel and living costs while you’re an exchange student in Australia. You’ll need documentary evidence of your financial capacity attached with your student visa application.
You’ll need to provide either:
- Sufficient funds to cover travel, tuition fees, and 12 months of living expense
- Evidence that a family member is willing to support you and have an annual income of at least $60, 000 AUD
FINAL STEPS OF YOUR STUDENT VISA JOURNEY
Now once you’ve got all your student visa requirement bits and bobs sorted out, you’ll want to apply! So where do you upload your application?
If you jump onto the Department of Home Affairs website, you’ll be able to set up an ImmiAccount. This is the gateway to your visa application process.
Once you’ve set up an ImmiAccount (with a half decent password) you’ll be able to apply for your student visa. This means submitting your application that comes with all trimmings, all of the visa requirements, and all documentary evidence attached.
On your ImmiAccount you’ll be able to:
- Save an online application
- Import an application (paper or pdf form) into your account
- Attach documents
- Check the progress of your application
- Update application details
- Make a payment or pay an invoice for a visa
So, get a move on and submit your application! Try implementing the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Checklist to get things moving fast and double check yourself.
Extra Things To Remember With Student Visas
Now for a few more fun facts.
Application Fee: Your Student Visa (subclass 500) is going to cost you. Your application will be (from) $575 AUD upwards. Keep the good times rolling right folks? So, you’ll have to ring up your cash cow one last time to pay for your visa processing fee.
Length Of Stay: Your visa also comes with a time limit. You’ve got five good years on your visa clock so use them wisely.
Your Student Visa’s Been Approved, What’s Next?
Okay so assuming between the last paragraph and this one you submitted your visa and it’s been approved… you never know, anything’s possible.
Well what’s next is: you’re going to want to get your wriggle on with booking flights and student accommodation.
Airlines can be all kinds of cheap and expensive. It really depends on how much money you have to play with, how far in advance you book, which airline you book with, what dates, which country of origin your flying out of, where you’re flying to, and so on and so forth.
Sure, you can book with a travel agent, but the age of technology means life is just so much easier for D.I.Y projects. So really, in terms of making your money going the mile (high), you’re best off booking online.
There are plenty of travel/flight meta search engines out there on the internet. To name a few: Expedia, Skyscanner, Budget Air, Webjet. Of course, your home country will have plenty of go-to airline websites as well.
Just make sure you don’t book a ticket that has a million stopovers and you’ll be fine.
Now while the flight situation may have sounded like a breeze, student accommodation gets a bit trickier. You’ve got so many decisions to filter through… What type of accommodation do you need? What location? Who with? How do you want to live?
You can choose between on-campus housing, off-campus housing, renting an apartment, staying with a host family, too many options really.
To help clear the real estate waters, read our break-down of student housing options in Perth.
If you’re feeling a bit confused, we can help out. Let’s make things simpler.
The Student Housing Company is an international student accommodation provider, and as luck would have it, we’ve got some home bases in Australia!
At the moment our student housing is based in Melbourne and Perth, but we’re excited to launch our future projects in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide so ‘watch this space’.
Our student accommodation is set up in prime locations, University Square’s student accommodation is opposite Melbourne University while our Perth student apartments are located in the central suburb of Northbridge.
Our student accommodation is always in the heart of the city’s social and cultural districts, easily accessible to public transport and thus your university of choice, balance chic and affordable with all-inclusive rent and great community spaces, and have on-point customer service.
We know where students choose to live is a big deal, so we make sure our accommodation is a Big Deal!
Our apartments cater for the social yet independent student. There’s plenty of room for you to mesh yourself into the housing community, while giving you plenty of freedom to run your own show.
Think all of this sounds great, but you’re not at the ripe old age of 18 yet? No worries, for those under 18 students out there: we’re a certified under 18s accommodation provider, so we’ve got you covered!
You’ll be in accommodation with all the trimmings: All-inclusive rent, fully furnished apartments/rooms, outdoor swimming pool, outdoor cinema, roof terrace, high speed UNLIMITED WiFi, communal study spaces, gym, a Wellbeing Program, onsite parking, onsite service team & 24hr CCTV security, maintenance services, post & parcel service, your wish is our command.
In terms of rooms you can choose between having your very own studio apartment, a twin studio (if you want to BYO a friend), 5-bed and 6-bed apartments (for you social butterflies out there) with ensuite rooms available.
As a price guide it depends on your room, but median price is about $300 with wiggle room upwards or downwards depending on your budget.
So, remember, once you’ve got all your student visa affairs in order, check us out and
Shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Give us a call: Melbourne Tel: +61 (0)3 9918 3910 & Perth Tel: +61 (0)8 6168 2454