How to get an Australian Student Visa

The Australian government introduced a new simplified framework for student visas. Under this framework, all student visa applications are processed through an account on the Australian Government’s website for immigration and border protection. We had previously posted a summary of Australian visa matters in a previous article, how to apply to study in Australia.

Types of Australian visa for students:

Student visa (subclass 500)

It includes all the following types of study:

  • Intensive English courses for international students (ELICOS).
  • Primary and secondary schools.
  • Secondary exchange student exchange program.
  • Vocational education and training.
  • University education.
  • Higher Education.
  • International students sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Defense.

Requirements for the Australian Student visa (subclass 500) are:

  • Proficiency in English (IELTS overall score of 5.5).
  • Financial support (financial evidence to support yourself and your studies while residing in Australia).
  • High school certificate or previous desirable graduate certificate.
  • Compliance with visa requirements.
  • Health insurance and this insurance can be purchased through the university or directly from one of the accredited companies, namely, the Australian Health Administration, BUPA Australia, Mediabank Private, Allianz Global Assistance, NAP to cover student services Health (nib OSHC).

Visitor visa to Australia (subcategories 600, 601, 651)

The requirements for this type of visas include:

  • The study lasts for a maximum of three months.
  • Visiting Australia in real intention.
  • Satisfying health and morals requirements (disease-free certificate and criminal record without precedent).
  • Financial evidence to support yourself while residing in Australia.

Working Holiday Vacation (subclass 417, 462)


  • The study lasts for a maximum of four months.
  • Holders of a legal passport from the age group between 18-30 years.
  • The main purpose of the visit is to spend a vacation in Australia.
  • Entering or staying in Australia as a real visitor.
  • Satisfying health and morals requirements (disease-free certificate and criminal record without precedent).
  • Financial proof of flight fares and support during your stay in Australia.

Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)

Conditions for this type of visa are:

  • It is granted to people to stay with students in Australia, for whom a parent is required (students under the age of 18 years).
  • The study lasts for a maximum of three months. Or study ELICOS for 20 hours a week.
  • Financial proof of flight fares and support during your stay in Australia.
  • Satisfying health and morals requirements (disease-free certificate and criminal record without precedent).
  • Accredited health insurance.

Temporary graduate studies (subclass 485)

Conditions for this type of visa are:

  • This visa allows qualified international students who have completed Australian education to stay in Australia to gain work experience.
  • Work in Australia for 18 months, up to 4 years, depending on the applicant’s qualifications.
  • Submission of applications for obtaining this visa is from Australia and requires a student visa valid during the previous 6-month period.
  • The applicant must meet the requirements for studying in Australia.
  • Fluency in English.
  • Accredited health insurance.
  • Satisfying health and morals requirements (disease-free certificate and criminal record without precedent).

Note: visa options and requirements are subject to change at times. The best place to get accurate information on Australia student visa is the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, as the site provides comprehensive information on the types of visas available for different levels of study in Australia.

Australia student visa processing time

It’s a general rule when it comes to visa application to start the application process as soon as possible. The sooner you get it done, the quicker the processing time will be for you. In the case of a student visa for Australia, processing time depends on the conditions on which you have applied. It also depends on how quickly you provide the necessary documents and respond to requests for more information. 

On average, a student visa 500 will take between 7 and 85 days to be processed. But to be sure you begin your studies on time, it’s best that you apply at least 12 weeks prior to the visa acceptation.

Student visa cost for Australia

An Australian student visa (subclass 500) costs AU$650 (about US$445). Additional costs may apply for a partner and if you have underage or 18+ children who apply with you for a visa to Australia. 

Moreover, applicants need to organize an OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) insurance valid for the duration of your study stay in Australia, for themselves and any accompanying family members. 

Learn also about the living cost in Australia for international students

2022 Australian student visa new rules

In the past, international students in Australia were allowed to easily change the original course they’ve been studying for the last 6 months or more as long as they get permission from their university. But since 2022, the Australian Government has added a condition for this right. 

Thus, visa holder students cannot change or undertake their course of study, thesis or research topic without the approval of the Minister for Home Affairs. International students with a visa 500 can’t change their program of whatever qualification they’re studying for (certificate, diploma, master’s degree, doctorate). 

They need to get the approval of the Minister, who then has the power not to approve their decision to change courses in the public’s interest. And if the Minister is not satisfied with their request or thinks it includes unreasonable, students might have their visa revoked.

Learn more on the website of the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Meet with you soon in our article on the types of scholarships in Australia and how to apply for them.

About Sam

Sam is an editor in chief at Aljawaz, with a decade-plus experience in improving and advising students travelling progams in Asia, North America and EU. Views are his own.

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