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Student Visa –International Perspective

Most international students require a student visa to study in Australia. If you are offered a program of less than three months, such as a short-term non-award program you may not require a visa.

How to apply for a Student Visa?

International students are required to demonstrate and/or declare that they have genuine access to sufficient funds to be granted a Student visa. There are several classes of student visas for Australia - the one you need depends on the type of study (e.g.: English language course, graduate degree, vocational training, higher education, etc.) you are planning to undertake.

Student visa options

Below is the list of the student visas currently available:

Independent ELICOS (Subclass 570):

This visa is for international students who want to study English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) in Australia. This includes:
  • courses that lead to a certificate I, II, III or IV
  • courses that result in no formal Australian award

Schools (Subclass 571):

This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study a full-time school course.
Vocational Education and Training (Subclass 572): This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study a full-time vocational education and training course.

Higher Education (Subclass 573):

This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study a full-time higher education course.
  • Streamlined Visa Processing: Streamlined visa processing for this visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia at a participating university. Streamlined visa processing means these applicants are treated as though they are lower migration risk regardless of their country of origin. You may be eligible for streamlined visa processing if your main course of study is a Bachelor degree or a Masters by coursework.

Postgraduate Research (Subclass 574):

This visa allows you to stay in Australia to do postgraduate research.
  • Streamlined Visa Processing: Streamlined visa processing for this visa is designed for international students applying to study in Australia at a participating university. You may be eligible for streamlined visa processing if your main course of study is a Masters degree by research or a Doctoral degree.

Non-award (Subclass 575):

This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study a full-time:
  • non-award foundation studies course
  • Course or components of a course (other than ELICOS) that does not lead to an award.Streamlined Visa Processing
Streamlined visa processing for this visa is designed for international students who want to study the following courses at a participating university in Australia: student exchange program (semester or year) or study abroad program (semester or year).

AusAID or Defence (Subclass 576):

This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study full time.

Other visa options

For shorter periods of study, you can apply for a Visitor or Working Holiday Maker Visa. There is also a visa option specifically for student guardians.

Visitor Visa (Subclasses 600, 601, 651)

  • Maximum 3 months study.
  • Intention to visit Australia is genuine.
  • Meet health and character requirements.
  • Sufficient money to support yourself during stay in Australia.

Student Guardian Visa (Subclass 580):

This visa allows you to stay in Australia:
  • As the guardian of an international student younger than 18 years of age studying in Australia on a student visa
  • In exceptional circumstances, as the guardian of an international student over 18 years of age studying in Australia on a student visa.
  • Meet Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement.
  • Sufficient funds for airfares and living costs.
  • Meet health and character requirements and acceptable health insurance.

Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485):

The Temporary Graduate Visa allows eligible international students to live and work in Australia temporarily after completion of university studies. These arrangements allow graduates who have completed a Bachelor degree or Masters by coursework degree in Australia on a student visa for a period of at least two academic years to apply for a two year post-study work visa. Graduates who have completed a Masters degree by research or a Doctoral degree will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa for three or four years respectively.

Essentials to be considered for visa:

  • Select a visa according to your course of study: There are a number of student visa options available. To determine which student visa is best suited to your study program please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website.

  • Determine if your program is eligible for Streamlined Visa Processing. If your program is eligible for Streamlined Visa Processing you will be assessed as if you are lower risk (similar to an Assessment Level 1). If your program is not eligible for Streamlined Visa Processing, your assessment level is determined by your nationality.

  • Understand your visa conditions: Please note that if you are granted a student visa, you must comply with all conditions as outlined by the visa. These conditions include (but are not limited to) the following.
    You must:
    - complete your program within your visa duration
    - make satisfactory academic progress
    - not interrupt your study, except for compelling or compassionate grounds
    - maintain approved Overseas Student Health Cover whilst in Australia

  • Documents required are: Admission Letter, Original passport, photograph and fees, Certified Copies of birth certificates, Proof of funding, Academic transcripts, test scores, Visa application form and any other document showing your financial stability.

Student Visa Interview

Visa Interview is an important step prior to the final confirmation of student visa approval for Australia. Your interview could fasten or hold up your visa processing. Therefore, it is important that you prepare for the interview and address all concerns of the visa offer.

The interview is taken by the visa officer or the ambassador who may ask the mountain chain of questions primarily to ensure that your application is genuine and your intentions align with what is being penned in the application form.

General questions:
  • Why did you choose this University and course and how did you find it?
  • Why Australia for this particular area of study?
  • What are your future plans?
  • Where will you stay and who is your sponsor- proof of the sponsor?
  • What is your family background-source of income?
  • What is the duration of the course?
  • Test results/scores- TOEFL/IELTS scorecard.
Tips:
  • The most important thing that you can carry with you for an interview is your self-confidence. Applicants who are well-prepared and are confident in their answers are almost always successful in getting a student visa.    Know what your reasons to study abroad are and why you have chosen a particular university and what your career goals are.

  • Practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview.

  • Keep your answers to the officer's questions short and to the point i.e. be concise and concrete.
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