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An Expat Student Guide to Australian Visas

In 2017 the number of international student enrolments was up 15% on the previous year’s figure, coming in at just over 800,000 students.  Australia is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations for overseas studies and the number of teens and twenty-somethings flocking to the land Down Under for educational purposes increases annually.

Once you have decided what you wish to study, where you wish to study, and the course you would like to enrol on it is best to make sure you meet the course’s initial requirements. The majority require you to provide proof that your English skills meet a specific level. This comes in the form of an IELTS, TOEFL, OET, or Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) test certificate. You will also need this certificate during your visa application process.

What Australian student visa will I need to apply for?

Originally, student visas were a complicated affair and there were countless options depending on th course you were to study. As of 1st July 2016 all students apply for one visa, the Student Visa (Subclass 500), which you can fill out online and costs a minimum of AUD 560 (£317).

Before applying for your visa need to get a Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) or offer letter confirming you have been accepted onto a course under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions of Courses (CRICOS). This paperwork will contain a code that you simply enter into the online visa application when prompted.

Students who wish to change their course at a later date to a lower level on the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF), or a non-AQF course, will need to apply for a new visa. This does not count for PhD students switching to a master’s.

How can I best prepare for my student visa?

As previously mentioned, you will need your English language proficiency certificate when apply for your student visa. You will also need your passport and COE code issued by your educational facility. This will be issues once you have completed all necessary enrolment paperwork for the course and paid a course deposit.

You will also need to submit proof of the following:

  • You are in good health
  • You have comprehensive health insurance
  • Previous educational results and qualifications
  • Proof of enough funds to cover air fare, living costs, and unpaid course fees

How do I submit my Australian student visa application?

Wherever you live, there will be an Australian Embassy somewhere in the country. Your visa application will pass by the embassy and they will assess whether you meet all the entry clearance criteria. Your student visa application will then undergo a final screening process and if you are successful you will be granted your visa.

It is imperative that all students provide the necessary documents and fill in their visa application truthfully. This is the best way for your student visa to be approved. Visa applications take 14 to 21 days to process so do not leave it until the last minute.

What happens once my Australian student visa application has been approved?

Once the Australian Embassy has approved your visa you can start preparing for your new life Down Under. You can finalise student accommodation, arrange your finances and pack for the big move. Don’t forget to book that all important flight!

Most students like to arrive in Australia a couple of weeks before they start their course. Many educational facilities have a dedicated team for international students and they will help you settle in and familiarise yourself with your surroundings and new home.

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