Do I need a visa to study in Australia?

Do I need a visa to study in Australia?

Australia is a country with a strong economy, cultural diversity and natural beauty. It is also an attractive destination to study. Australia is home to excellent and innovative schools. If you are considering going to Australia to study, you will need to obtain a student visa.

All non-Australian passport holders who wish to visit Australia for short-term stays are required to get either a visa or an Electronic Travel Authority, ETA, to enter the country. The ETA Australia is an online travel authorization to travel to and within Australia for short periods of time. The online tourist visa for Australia is valid for a consecutive stay of 3 months, and has a total validity of 12 months from the date it is issued. The Australian ETA is a multiple entry visa.

However, even though the ETA for Australia grants its holder a stay of up to 3 months, people interested in studying in Australia will need to obtain a student visa through the embassy or consulate. There are several steps and requirements that applicants must follow to get their student visa for Australia.

How can I study in Australia?

As a foreigner, in order to study in Australia, you are required to obtain an Australian student visa. You will need to demonstrate to the Department of Home Affairs, that you meet all necessary requirements to get the visa:

  • Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
  • Financial requirements
  • English proficiency requirements
  • Health and character requirements

Additionally, you are required to complete and Australian student visa application form and pay the respective visa application fee. In some cases, you may need to attend an interview.

We will explain each requirement for the student visa for Australia below.

How do I get the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement?

The Genuine Temporary Entrant was introduced in November 2011. It means that a student visa applicant must demonstrate a genuine intention to stay in Australia for a temporary period of time for the sole purpose of study, or to accompany a student as a dependent (i.e. spouse or child), or as a guardian.

  • The Department of Home Affairs will take into consideration the following:
  • Circumstances in your home country
  • Potential circumstances for you in Australia
  • Value of your chosen course
  • Your immigration history

It is possible that in order to determine whether you meet the GTE requirements you will be asked to go to an interview at the Australian embassy or consulate.

How do I complete the Australian visa application form?

International students can apply online for their Australian student visa, the form is called Student Visa Subclass 500. It is the same application for all foreign students.

However, all applicants will first need to get a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE), which confirms you have been accepted into a course. However, not any course. It must be registered under the Commonwealth of Institutions of Courses (CRICOS). The COE is an online code which you will need to provide on the online student visa application form.

What are the Australian student visa requirements?

Besides having a COE, and completing the visa application form, you need to meet the following Australian student visa requirements:

You will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds. These should cover the tuition of the school, travel, and living costs. As of February 2018, the minimum amount you need to demonstrate is set at 15,600 USD per year. It is also possible to show evidence that your spouse or parents will be supporting you during your stay, and that they make at least over 46,000 USD a year.

You need to prove that you speak English fluently. To do so, there are a few tests you can take, these are the IELTS, TOEFL iBT, Pearson Test of English (PTE), and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE).

There are some health requirements as well. Some students may be asked to take a medical or radiological check-up to show that they are in good health.

With the exception of Norway and Belgium, all international students must obtain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSCH).

Australia has also put in place character requirements. This means that you will need to get a criminal record check.

How to successfully get the student visa for Australia?


International students who wish to study in Australia can successfully get the student visa if they meet all the requirements and provide all essential documents:

  • A student visa application form (157A) properly and accurately completed
  • Payment of the visa application fee
  • A copy of the applicant’s biodata page
  • Certificate of Enrolment or Letter of offer
  • Proof of sufficient financial funds
  • Health insurance
  • English proficiency tests
  • Criminal record check report
  • Four recent passport-sized photos

The majority of applications will take about four weeks to process. If your student visa is approved, you can enter Australia up to 90 days before your classes start. Once in Australia, you will need to inform your education provider of your resident address.

Be sure to check each step and requirement carefully and consult with the Australian embassy in case you have doubts or questions about the process. If you’re only thinking about being in Australia for a short period of time, check whether you are eligible for the Australian ETA.