What visa do I need?

Student Visas

Most international students wanting to study in Australia need a student visa.  There are also some other visa holders who can study as international students in Australia.  Many students apply for a visa themselves on-line or via the Australian Diplomatic Mission in their own country.  The visa application process can be complicated and for students from some countries it may be better to submit an application with the assistance of an accredited agent because these agents will be familiar with the process and have experience in the field. You should only use an accredited education agent, that is, one who has a licence to give advice and help people who want to get a student visa to visit Australia.

There are a number of different kinds (sub-classes) of student visas. The kind of visa you need will depend on what your Australian study plan. For example, if you only wanted to come to Australia to study English, this is called a Student Visa Subclass 570. Let’s say that you want to do a Diploma in a VET (Vocational Education & Training) college, but you need to study English first so that your English skills are good enough to enter the diploma course, then this Student Visa Subclass 572.

There are actually seven subclasses within the Student Visa Category. Each subclass is based on the education sector of your principal or major course of study.

Subclass 570 – Independent ELICOS Sector:  For international students undertaking ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) as a stand-alone course, and not as a prerequisite to commencing another course (for example, a degree course).

Subclass 571 – Schools Sector:  For international students undertaking a course of study at a primary school or a secondary school including both junior and senior secondary school.

Subclass 573 – Higher Education Sector:  For international students undertaking a course of study at University resulting in the award of a Bachelor Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master by course work.

Subclass 574 – Master and Doctorate Sector: For international students undertaking a course of study at University resulting in the award of either a Masters Degree by Research, or a Doctoral degree.

Subclass 575 – Non-award Foundation Studies/Other Sector: For international students undertaking a foundation, bridging or other course which does not result in the award of a Degree, Diploma or other formal qualification

Subclass 576 – Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector visa: For Foreign Affairs or Defence-sponsored students undertaking full-time study for the whole or part of an education or training course offered by an Australian education provider.

It is very important that you are clear about the kind of visa you need to study in Australia. The Australian Department of Immigration & Border Protection (DIBP) provides comprehensive information about student visa requirements and the application process, as well as application document checklists to help you with your application.  Visit www.immi.gov.au/students/index.htm for the latest information.

In order to apply for a student visa, you will need a valid passport, an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and any other documentation required by the Australian diplomatic post with which you lodge your application.  For example, if you are under 18 you must have a completed CAAW (Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation & Welfare) letter to ensure your accommodation and welfare is approved by your education provider.

You must ensure that you allow enough time for processing between lodging your application and the start of your academic course, as it can be a lengthy process depending on your country of origin.

The Australian Government’s website, Study in Australia  has very useful visa information for international students considering travelling to Australia to study. Check their link here: Student visas.

Student visa holders have a number of conditions that they must follow to comply with their visa. These conditions are related to;

  • Working hours
  • Remaining in full-time study
  • Health Insurance
  • Attendance
  • Course progress
  • Contact details

For more information, about your student visa obligations, click here; My Visa Obligations

Can I study at Australian Centre of English if I don’t have a student visa?

You can be granted a student visa only if you intend to study a registered course on a full-time basis and comply with a number of visa conditions after you have entered Australia (see ‘Your Student Visa Obligations’ link’ above).

Working holiday visa holders

Many students come to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417). This visa allows you to supplement the cost of your holiday through short-term employment for up to six months with the same employer. This type of visa is available to people aged between 18 and 30 years (inclusive) and is only available to passport holders from some countries listed below;

Cyprus, Republic of
Ireland, Republic of
Korea, Republic of
United Kingdom

Usually you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa once only; however, people who do a minimum three months of specified work in regional Australia, on their first Working Holiday visa, may apply for a second Working Holiday visa. This encourages more people on Working Holiday visas to work in regional Australia and will also help make the Australian tourism industry more competitive in attracting these valuable tourists.

You can study in Australia for up to 17 weeks if you are on a Working Holiday visa.

For more information on working holiday visas, visit the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Working Holiday visa link.

Working Holiday Visa holders are welcome to enrol for English studies at Australian Centre of English.

Tourist Visa Holders

Tourist Visas are for people who want to visit Australia for a holiday, sightseeing, social or recreational reasons, to visit relatives, friends or for other short-term non-work purposes. Tourist visa are usually for 3 months although some visitor visas allow for a stay for a number of three month stays over a 12 month period. Other tourist visas may allow a stay for a shorter period than 3 months. There are a number of different ways of applying for a tourist visa, for example, it can be done electronically at no charge or, in some countries, a paper application must be lodged along with supporting documentation.

Generally, tourist visa holders can study for up to three months without the need to get a student visa.

For more information on tourist visas, visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Tourist Visa link.

Tourist Visa holders are welcome to enrol for English studies at Australian Centre of English…