Australian Student Visas

Anyone enrolling as an international student on a course lasting four months or more in Australia will need a student visa. Here are the key things to know.

Please note that in order to apply for a student visa for Australia, you must have an unconditional offer of place at a university, have accepted that place in writing and paid the required tuition fee deposit. It is therefore one of the last parts of the process to organise.

What type of visa do I need?

For all undergraduate (bachelor) and postgraduate degrees by coursework, you will be applying for a subclass 573 student visa. For postgraduate programmes by research, a subclass 574 student visa is required.

When should I apply?

You can only make an application for an Australian student visa after you have received a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from your chosen university. In order to get a CoE, you must have been given a formal offer by the university, accepted it in writing and paid a deposit toward your tuition fees. Please also note that if you are applying online you can only apply for your visa a maximum of 124 days before your course starts. If you are not eligible to apply online, you will be making your paper application to the Australia High Commission and will be able to apply for your visa once you have received your CoE.

Is there an age limit?

There is no age limit on a student visa for Australia – unlike the Working Holiday Visa scheme.

Can I still get a student visa if I’ve already had a Working Holiday visa for Australia?

Yes, your Working Holiday visa status has no impact on a student visa application – the two schemes are completely separate.

When can I travel to Australia?

You can arrive in Australia on your student visa up to 90 days before your course starts.

How much does it cost?

The visa application fee is currently A$535 (£320), which needs to be paid when you submit your application. Please note that visa application charges are reviewed on 1st July each year. If you have dependents joining you on your visa there will be additional fees payable, this does not apply for subclass 574 applicants.

How long does the visa last?

Your student visa will last for the duration of your studies (including holiday periods) and will allow you some time to remain in Australia at the end of your course. This can range from one to three months, depending on the length of your course and the month in which it ends. If you are studying a course that is longer than ten months and ends in November or December, for example, the visa will usually end on March 15 the following year.

How long does a visa take to get?

Visa processing times vary but you should allow up to four weeks. Online applications, however, are usually considerably quicker.

Can I work on this visa?

On a student visa you will be able to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during term, and full time in the holidays. The visa will automatically be issued with ‘permission to work’, although you are not allowed to begin working until your course has started. Work that is a formal, registered part of your course is not included in the limit.

If you are doing voluntary, unpaid work, it is not included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:

  • is of benefit to the community
  • is for a non-profit organisation
  • would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it is a designated volunteer position), and
  • is genuinely voluntary (that is, no remuneration, either in cash or kind is received—board and lodging acceptable).

Can I take my partner with me on my student visa?

Yes, it is possible for your partner to accompany you as a dependent on your student visa. You will need to prove you have been in a genuine and exclusive relationship with them for at least 12 months. This usually requires you to have been living together for at least 12 months.

What will I need to apply?

You will need to complete a student visa application at www.immi.gov.au, your Confirmation of Enrolment, the visa application charge, your passport number, and evidence that you have paid your Overseas Student Health Cover.

Do I need to provide any health documents or checks?

Currently as a citizen of the UK or Ireland you will not be required to have a health assessment unless in certain circumstances – for example if you are going to Australia to train as a doctor, dentist or nurse, or if you are likely to work or train in an Australian childcare centre. You may also be required to do a health assessment if you have spent more than three consecutive months in another country in the last five years.

Can I apply for another visa when the course ends?

In some circumstances it may be possible to apply for a further visa at the end of your course. Please visit the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship at www.immi.gov.au to find out what your options are. Under current rules if you have studied for two years towards a university bachelors, master of research degree you will be entitled to apply for a post study work visa for two to four years (dependent on level of study).

How do I apply?

You can submit your application online via the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website (www.immi.gov.au), or by post using Form 157a – Application For A Student Visa. The completed application should then be sent to Migration Branch, Australian High Commission, Australia House, Strand, London, WC2B 4LA.

Your obligations

You must remain enrolled in a course registered on CRICOS (cricos.deewr.gov.au). You must maintain satisfactory attendance on your course, as required by your education provider. You must make satisfactory course progress for each study period. You must advise your education provider of your home address in seven days of arriving in Australia. If you change address during your stay, you must tell your provider within seven days. You must maintain health insurance while in Australia. This can be done by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover.

All information is correct at the time of publication but is subject to change. Please check the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (www.immi.gov.au) for the most up-to-date information.