Australia, the world's sixth largest country, spanning across the whole continent, is a land of opportunities. Australia's splendour is pretty much evident in the golden sands of never ending beaches, architectural marvels like Sydney Opera house, ruins of historical importance, quality lifestyle and best of them all: the high standards of education offered by Australian schools, colleges and universities. Excellent facilities for learning combined with world class sports training infrastructure makes Australia a hot student destination. Many Indian students throng Australian shores in quest of this high quality education. A student visa to Australia is an important step on this path. In fact, every year there are hundreds of applications for Australian study visa and student visa to Canada in India.
What are different sub-classes of Australian student visa?
Australian student visa is classified according to different types of educational courses on offer as follows:
- Subclass 570 (Independent ELICOS): If you want to study only English in Australia, you can opt for English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and this subclass of visa is a pre-requisite for that.
- Subclass 571 (School Students): This subclass of student visa is issued for students wishing to pursue primary or secondary education at recognized institutes in Australia. This subclass is also applicable for students under exchange programme.
- Subclass 572 (Vocational Education & Training students): If you wish to pursue diploma or advanced diploma certificate from a recognized technical institute in Australia you come under subclass 572.
- Subclass 573 (Higher Education): This category is one of the most popular among Indian students. Students interested in Bachelor's degree, Graduate certificate or associate degree are considered under this category.
- Subclass 574 (Postgraduate research): Top Australian universities provide advanced facilities in research field. Oversees students looking for postgraduate opportunities or masters in research domain are included in subclass 574.
- Subclass 575 (Non-award education): Students studying courses which do not award degree or certification on completion are classified under Subclass 575.
- Subclass 576 (Defence sponsored student visa): If you are a student sponsored by Australian Defence department or 'Australian Aid for oversees student' for a specific course, you can avail student visa under subclass 576.
- Subclass 580 (Guardian visa): This visa is for parent or guardian accompanying a student aged below 18 years. Australia grants this visa to persons whose only purpose of stay in Australia is accompanying a student studying in recognized school/ college.
How to apply for student visa to Australia?
Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship has made it possible for interested students to apply online on their site. The visa processing time for students on assessment levels 3 & 4 is about 90 days and so it's absolutely necessary to start the application process well in advance. The step by step procedure involved in application process is:
- Decide your student visa subclass: As you have seen earlier, there are 7 subclasses of Australian student visa. You must decide under which subclass you intend to apply. Keep in mind your type of institute and course for deciding your subclass.
- Get student visa application form: You can download or fill online Student visa(temporary stay) form no.157A from Australia's DIAC website. The form is designed very carefully considering all the obstacles students can face during application, so it offers helps at all important junctures.
- Submit visa application: You can submit your application form along with required documents in person or through agents at Australia's VFS centres located at New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin and Kolkata on working days from 8:00am to 4:00pm.
- Obtain a medical insurance: Australia is one country in the world where your health has direct bearing over your visa chances. It is mandatory that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which is valid for entire duration for the visa you are applying for. Sometimes, Australian institutes require you to pay a premium towards OHSC through the institute itself. If your visa belongs to subclass 576 i.e. sponsored by Australian Aid then you may be exempted from this expenditure.
- Collect your visa: You can track your student visa application online. When you notice that your application is accepted and visa is successfully granted, you can either opt for receiving your passport through courier service in India or collect it in person from the VFS office if you applied from Delhi centre. In the both cases, you need to show some photo identity proof like driving license, voter id, PAN card, etc. to the courier staff or visa application centre officials. If you send your representative to collect the same, ensure he/she carries an authority letter duly signed by you.
What are the documents required for student visa to Australia?
Strong paperwork can fasten and ease the application process. Various important documents required for student visa are:
- Photographs: You need 4 recent colour passport size photographs of size 35mm by 45mm. Also, you are required to print your name behind your photograph.
- Copy of birth certificate: Visa application requires copies of birth certificates of all your family members in order to establish your relationship with other family members before officials.
- Marriage Certificate.
- Medical documents: (a)Medical documents such as proof of your X-rays and medical reports need to be submitted along with those of any guardian or parent(if any) who plans to accompany you to Australia. (b) Proof that you are insured against Overseas Student Health Cover for the entire period for which you seek visa. You OSHC expiry date determines your visa expiry date.
- Proof of English language proficiency: You must provide evidence of passing specified test of English language (e.g.IELTS) for confirming proficiency in English.
- Academic proof: You may need to submit evidence of your academic qualification. In some cases, you may also require documents to prove that your choice of course in Australian university is relevant to your academic history in India.
- Financial evidence: Financial transcripts and documents have a significant stake in successful visa grant. You must provide proof that you have enough funding (either self or sponsored) covering your living and tuition expenses for at least first 18 months of stay in Australia. The document proof should include at least one of the following: (1) Proof of loan being granted by financial institute or government of India. (2) Bank balance sheet showing deposits at least 3 months prior to the date of departure to Australia. (3) Scholarship from Australian Institute or from any Indian organisation.
- Income proof: You are required to submit any one of the following documents as a proof of your or sponsor's income: (1) Recent salary statements. (2) Bank statement. (3) Tax returns acknowledgement or (4) documents related to loans.
What is the cost of student visa application to Australia?
Australian student visa is an expensive proposition. Each student visa application can set you back by about Rs.28000. This fee is payable at Delhi through demand draft favouring "Australian High Commission". Additional service charges of up to Rs.500 are levied at various application centres. You may also incur additional expenses for medical examination which is mandatory for type of visa application.
Where to apply for student visa to Australia (in India)?
Australia's immigration department has tie up with VFS global services to set up visa application centres in India. Australian student visa application centres are located across 9 metropolitan cities in India. You need to arrange for a prior appointment in order to submit application at these centres.