Australia Study Visa Process and Requirements a Complete Guide

Australia Study Visa

Australia has built a reputation as one of the top study destinations for international students. With a robust education system, diverse culture and vibrant lifestyle, Australia attracts hundreds of thousands of students every year from all over the world. However, to pursue higher education in Australia, students must obtain a valid student visa.

In this article, we will discuss the complete Australia study visa application process along with eligibility requirements and document checklist. This comprehensive guide will help students understand each step of applying for an Australia student visa to pursue their education dreams down under.

Study Visa


There are different types of student visas available depending on the course level and duration. Here are the main Australia study visa options:

  • Higher Education Sector Visa (Subclass 500): For those enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree, masters or PhD program. Valid for the duration of the course plus up to 2 months additional stay.
  • Vocational Education and Training Sector visa (Subclass 572): For vocational/semi-professional courses like TAFE programs. Valid for the course duration plus 2 additional months.
  • Non-Award Sector visa (Subclass 574): For English language courses or short recreational courses of less than 3 months. Valid for the course duration.
  • Schools sector visa (Subclass 571): For those enrolled at primary or secondary school in Australia. Valid for the length of the program.


To be eligible for a student visa to Australia, applicants must meet certain academic and English proficiency criteria:

  • Hold a valid offer letter from a CRICOS registered institution in Australia.
  • Meet the minimum academic entry requirements for the intended course.
  • Qualify in an English language test like IELTS/TOEFL with the required band score.
  • Meet the minimum age requirement (usually 18 years or above).
  • Have sufficient funds to support studies and living expenses as per DHA regulations.
  • Meet good character requirements with no criminal records.


The complete document checklist for Australia student visa application includes:

  • Valid passport with at least 6 months validity beyond intended stay duration.
  • Completed online visa application form along with application fee payment.
  • Offer letter from chosen Australian institution.
  • Academic transcripts and certificates.
  • Evidence of English language ability (IELTS/TOEFL score report).
  • Financial documents like bank statements, tax slips, payslips to prove sufficient funds.
  • Resume/CV
  • Photographs as per specifications.
  • Letter of introduction/intent to study.
  • Medical insurance for the entire stay period.
  • Tuberculosis clearance certificate (if required).

Visa Processing Time

Once all required documents are submitted, the standard processing time for most Australian student visa applications is about 12-16 weeks. Express priority visa processing is available for an additional fee of ~AUD$4000 which can reduce this to just 8-10 weeks.

To apply for Australian student visa online and follow up on visa processing, use your immiAccount. All communication from DHA regarding your visa will happen through this account via email or SMS.

The fastest visa grant timeline of under 3 months can be achieved if:

  • You have complete documentation as per checklist.
  • You submit your application at least 3-4 months before the course commencement date.
  • There is no big backlog of pending visa applications.
  • Your institution is a high profile one with good track record.
  • You have high IELTS/equivalent scores with no conditions.
  • Your visa history is clean with no refusal overstay records.
  • There are no medical/character concerns found after assessments.


An Australian study visa allows multiple entries in and out of the country. However, students are expected to strictly adhere to the following conditions:

  • Must enroll in the approved education program within 3 months of arrival.
  • Continue and complete the enrolled course within the expected timeframe.
  • Undertake a minimum of 20-25 hours per study week.
  • Can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester and unlimited in breaks.
  • May undertake internship/practical training up to 6 months if forming part of eligible course.
  • Maximum stay including permitted work periods ranges 2-4 years depending on course level.
  • May leave Australia temporarily and return within 6 months before the allowed visa period expires.

Post-Study Work Stream

Graduates from eligible bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, vocational education courses may be eligible for up to 18 months or 2-4 years post-study work stream visa depending on the qualification level. This lets early career seek relevant paid work experience.

Depending on the course/institution students are advised to thoroughly check program eligibility for different post-study benefits before applying. Meeting English requirements and funds prove crucial along with minimum course GPA rates.

Australia student visa process may seem dull initially, but its advantages certainly outweigh some extra paperwork. With proper planning and compliance, it opens doors to world-class education and life-changing international experiences in a safe environment. Consulting authorized education agents also help navigate the procedures smoothly.

Australia Student Visa Subclass 500

The Student visa subclass 500 is the most common visa granted to international students wishing to study in Australia. It allows visa holders to undertake recognised full-time or part-time studies in a registered institution in Australia.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Student 500 visa, the following criteria must be met:

  • Hold a valid passport with at least 6 months validity beyond intended period of stay
  • Meet the age requirement of no less than 18 years of age
  • Have an offer letter from a CRICOS registered education provider in Australia for an eligible course
  • Meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for the chosen course
  • Have sufficient funds to support studies and living expenses for the duration of the course
  • Meet health and character requirements with no criminal records

Financial Requirements

As per DHA norms, student visa applicants must demonstrate access to a minimum living cost of funds:

  • AU$21,041 per year for students studying in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania
  • AU$20,879 per year for students studying in Queensland, South Australia and Northern Territory
  • AU$19,534 per year for students studying in Western Australia

Students must show funds in their own bank account, parent’s account or through a scholarship for Pakistani students /sponsor. It’s best to show at least 6 months worth of funds upfront.

Students must also show course tuition fees. Part-time students need approved working hours permission as well. Funds can be shown via bank statements, salary slips, tax documents, shareholding proofs, sponsorship letters etc.

Visa Processing Time

Standard processing time for student visa applications is around 12-16 weeks on average. Some options for faster processing include:

  • Applying at least 3-4 months before your course start
  • Having complete documentation set
  • Applying for express priority service that charges ~AU$4,000 extra
  • Having high English language test scores
  • Applying via education agents

To apply online, students must create an ImmiAccount, fill the online application form and pay the visa application charges of ~AUD$760.

After lodging the application online, students need to book their biometrics appointments via VFS. Based on the nationality, they may need to attempt medical examinations as well.

Post-Study Work Rights

Students on Student 500 visa can work limited hours during their studies. Upon successful completion of eligible bachelor’s/masters/PhD degrees from CRICOS registered institutions, they can apply for post-study work stream visas to gain additional years of work experience in Australia:

  • Bachelor’s passport holders get additional 0-2 years of work rights with the Post-Study Work Stream (Temporary) Graduate visa (Subclass 485)
  • Master’s degree holders get up to 3 additional years with this visa
  • PhD graduates can stay for up to 4 additional years

The post-study work visa also allows students to undertake further studies, gain full-time work experience, travel in and out of Australia and change employers during this period without re-applying for a new visa.

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