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Student Visas – Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a lot of reading and planning involved when applying for a Student Visa to come study in Australia. It’s pretty confusing to be honest and there’s almost always a lot of questions about the complexities of what’s required for a Student Visa and what’s involved.

But don’t worry, we’re here to answer all those aforementioned questions about Student Visas that you may have!

This article is all about answering the most frequently asked questions related to Student Visas so future students coming to Australia can properly understand everything they need to know.

What are the minimum requirements and qualifications required

To qualify for a Student Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in a course of study
  • Meet the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Meet the health and character requirements
  • Have enough money for the duration of your stay
  • Have Overseas Student Health Cover 
  • ​Make welfare arrangements if you are under 18 years

There’s a lot there when it comes to minimum requirements and qualifications, but you’re in luck because we have a guided dedicated to exactly that topic! Check it out here: A Guide To Student Visas.

What is a confirmation of enrolment?

A confirmation of enrolment is official document from an educational institution that says you’re a student in a specified course. This is a very important thing and is required when applying for a Student Visa.

To get this confirmation of enrolment, you must be enrolled in a full-time course of study that’s registered with the Commonwealth Registry of International Courses for Overseas Students. Once you’ve paid your student fees and enrolled in your course, the school will provide you with the aforementioned Confirmation of Enrolment.

How do I know if my program/course is suitable for a student visa?

Simple, your program or course must be registered with the Commonwealth Registry of International Courses for Overseas Students.

If your program or course is listed there, you’re all good!

Can I work in Australia while on a student visa?

Yes, you most certainly can! During a semester when your course is in session, you can work up to 40 hours a fortnight. When you’re at the end of your course or in the middle of a semester break (basically whenever your course isn’t in session), you can work as much as you want.

For those completing a masters or a PhD, you’re free to work as much as you want!

Is an English test required?

Now this is a bit of a tricky one as the answer isn’t as straightforward as “yes” or “no.” So, to apply for a Student Visa, you need to meet the English language requirements and provide evidence of English language proficiency in the form of English language test scores.

There are 5 English language test scores that are accepted in Australia for student visa applications:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
  • Occupational English Test (OET)

However, there are different requirements depending on several factors, such as the type of visa you’re applying for, the passport you hold, or whether you’ve completed your schooling in English.

There are also straight up exceptions to this English requirement for:

  • Students who have completed at least 5 years of study in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa or the Republic of Ireland
  • Citizens and passport holders of the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland
  • Students who have successfully completed the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or study at Certificate IV level or higher in Australia within 2 years of applying for a student visa
  • Students enrolled full time in school studies as a principal course (including secondary exchange programs), postgraduate research or a standalone ELICOS program
  • Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored students.

As we said, not a straightforward answer!

What happens when my visa expires?

It goes without saying that you need a valid Student Visa in order to stay in Australia, otherwise it’s illegal.

The first thing to do is to check when your visa expires. If you want to stay longer, you’ll have to apply for a new Student Visa – which we cover in this Student Visa Guide of ours.

If your Student Visa has expired and you’re still in Australia, you have to immediately apply for a Bridging Visa E, which is a short-term visa that’ll let you remain in Australia legally while you make arrangements to either leave the country or to apply for a new Student Visa. Don’t delay this as the longer you take the less likely you’ll be in the clear!

For more information on what to do if your visa is expiring or expired, head to the Department of Home Affairs website.

What do I do if I want to stay after finishing study?

First off, we don’t blame you for wanting to stay in Australia – it’s absolutely lovely!

Secondly, if you want to stay after finishing your study, then you definitely can! You’ll need to apply for a new type of visa and there are a few paths you can take.

The type of visa you can apply for depends on what you plan on doing after your studies. Do you want to have a working holiday, did you want to work and have your employer sponsor your visa here, or did you just want to be a tourist for a few months?

This will determine what kind of visa you can and can’t apply for.

Can I include my child in my application?

You definitely can! When you apply for a Student Visa, you can include family members, who are defined as:

  • Your partner, or
  • Your or your partner’s dependent child who is unmarried and has not turned 18 years of age.

If your child have turned 18 at the time your Student Visa is finalised, they’ll have to apply for their own visa.

For more in-depth info on this, head over to the Department of Home Affairs website.

Can I go to a local doctor to complete my medical tests?

The short answer is no. Almost all applications who are required to complete a medical examination or test for their Australian visa have to get it done by an Australian government-approved panel physicians. There are very – VERY – few exceptions to this, but in almost all cases you cannot go to your local doctor.

How much does it cost to study in Australia?

As a requirement for your Student Visa, you must have enough money to cover your tuition, travel, and living costs for the duration of your stay. There are a few ways to show that you have enough money for your stay.

  • You can show deposits of money from a financial institution, loans from the government or a financial institution, or scholarships.
  • You can provide evidence that your parents or partner had a personal income of at least AUD$62,222 in the 12 months before applying for your student visa.

As for how much money you would need, you need enough to cover:

  • Your travel
  • 12 months of your course fees (or pro rata fees, if your course is less than 12 months)
  • 12 months of living costs for you and any family members who come with you to Australia (or pro rata fees, if you are staying less than 12 months)
  • school fees for any school-age children who accompany you (or pro rata fees, if the child will be at school for less than 12 months)

The Department of Home Affairs website has a good little guide that goes over how much money you will need.

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