In order to be able to stay and study in Australia, every international student must obtain their Australian student visa. You need to prove to the Australian Department of Home Affairs that you meet particular visa requirements. For international students in particular, what you need to take into consideration is the so-called Subclass 500 Student Visa.
The Subclass 500 Student Visa allows you to stay in Australia for up to 5 years for full time studies at a university. You can also include a member of your family in your application in addition to being permitted to work as a student. For more information, visit the official website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs or pay a visit to your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate.
Australian Student Visa: What steps you need to follow
First of all, take into account the eligibility criteria and requirements for the Australian student visa, as depending on the qualification level you want to study, different rules might apply. The eligibility criteria include:
- The Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE) which proves that you are accepted from a university and registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). The CoE is in the form of an online code which you will need to use during your online application process.
- Sufficient English language proficiency through a language test like TOEFL.
- A personal statement (Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement) declaring the reason you want to study in Australia and your plans for the future after the completion of your studies.
- Healthcare insurance for you and your family members (in case they accompany you) with the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), from an approved Australian health provider that will be valid for the length of your stay in Australia. All students are obliged to obtain the Overseas Student Health Cover, unless you are a citizen of Norway or Belgium. You can buy the cover straight from your university or from official providers such as the Australian Health Management, BUPA Australia, Medibank Private, Allianz Global Assistance and nib OSHC. The cost varies depending on the provider and the length of your stay.
- Sufficient financial funds to support you throughout your studies and cover your tuition and living costs. In any case you need to provide bank or income statements with an annual amount around AU$20,290 (approximately US$13,750). Remember that if you have dependents (like for instance children), you need to provide evidence that you are able to support their living costs as well.
- Character Requirements: By that the Australian government highlights that the prospective student must be a good character to enter the country. That means a person with a clean criminal record, being able to provide a penal clearance certificate or complete a Character Statutory Declaration Form.
So what comes next? After you meet the aforementioned criteria, it is time to start gathering the necessary documents for your application. Contact the Australian Embassy in your home country in order to be informed about the number of copies that might be needed or in case you need to submit original documents. In addition, if your documents are not in English, the translation services of the Australian Embassy will assist you with that matter.
Australian Student Visa (Subclass 500) Documents:
The following list includes the common documents that need to be submitted for a successful visa application. However, visit the official website of the Department of Home Affairs and check their Document Checklist Tool in order to be sure not to forget any document based on your study status or country of origin.
- A completed Australian student visa application form (157A).
- Proof that you have paid the visa application fee of around 620 AUD. You can discover the exact cost of your application fee here.
- Copies of your valid passport along with recent passport-sized photographs.
- Evidence of sufficient funds (for example bank statements).
- Letter of offer or Certificate of Enrollment (CoE) from the university.
- Evidence of health insurance cover, the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
- Results of the English language tests you took proving your linguistic proficiency.
- Clean criminal record documents.
After you have gathered, translated and scanned all the documents, then you need to create an account and apply for a student visa through the ImmiAccount application system. It is quite easy! Just keep in mind to apply on time, at least 6 weeks before your semester starts. The average processing time for an Australian student visa to be issued is a month, depending on the visa type though.
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