In this comprehensive guide, we have compiled an extensive list of frequently asked questions by international students all in one place. This article is thoughtfully categorized into sections, covering career and job opportunities, financial considerations, insights into life in Australia, detailed information about universities and courses, guidance on visa and legal matters, and much more.
Student visa application process
Am I considered an international student?
You are an international student, if you do not fall into any of the following categories:
- Australian citizen; or
- New Zealand citizen; or
- Australian permanent residency visa holder; or
- Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder.
How do I apply to study in Australia?
If you are an international student, you can find out more about applying to study at a specific university program by visiting the respective university website. You can also opt to go through an agent who will help you through the application process.
Learn more at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/check-twice-submit-once/student-visa
What are certified copies?
A certified copy is a true copy of an original document that has been sighted and verified by an authorised person.
The authorised person will sight the original document and any photocopies to ensure both are identical, and then:
- write on, or stamp the copy “This is a true copy of the original document.”
- write their name, signature, qualification, date of signing and affix their business stamp
- provide an address and a contact telephone number
Who can certify my documents?
Documents can be certified by by the following people:
- Your current or previous education institution
- A Notary Public. Notaries are senior legal practitioners who authenticate, prepare, attest, witness and certify original and copy legal documents for use overseas.
- A representative who is registered with your respective university
- A Justice of the Peace
- A government official such as:
- an agent of the Australian Postal Corporation in charge of an office supplying postal services to the public
- a bailiff
- a chief executive officer of a Commonwealth court
- a clerk or judge of a court
- the Commissioner for Affidavits
- the Commissioner for Declarations
- a magistrate
- a police officer
- a registrar, or deputy registrar, of a court
- a senior executive service employee of:
- the Commonwealth, or a Commonwealth authority
- a State or Territory, or State or Territory authority.
Should I translate my documents into English?
Yes, you must get your documents translated as only documents written in english will be accepted by universities and institutions in Australia.
Documents in your native language must:
- be translated professionally by an accredited translation service or a language professional
- arrive on the professional letterhead of the translator.
How do I accept my offer?
Your university letter of offer and associated documentation is an agreement between you and the university. To accept your offer and the terms of the agreement, follow the steps outlined in your letter of offer which will be provided to you by your university.
What happens after I have accepted my offer?
Upon accepting your offer and receiving your payment by the university, you have entered into a written agreement with the university. After the university receives your acceptance, you will be emailed confirmation of this written agreement.
If you are applying for a Student visa, you will be issued a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) after you have accepted your offer and paid any requested fees. You will need the CoE for your Student visa application.
I have a conditional offer. What does this mean?
Suppose you have been issued a Conditional Offer. In that case, you do not yet meet the entry requirements for your chosen program and you will need to fulfil the conditions outlined in your Letter of Offer, before the university can offer you an unconditional placement at the university.
Please ensure you understand your offer’s conditions thoroughly and check with the university if you are unsure about their meaning. Once you have successfully met the conditions of your offer, please forward the university proof of this so the application can proceed to the next step.
What visa should I apply to study in Australia?
As an international student, you have several different visa options available to you, depending on the length of your studies. Most international students apply for a Student visa which is called the Subclass 500 visa.
How much will it cost in total to apply for a student visa?
It will cost around AUD 710 to apply for a student visa. However, this does not include additional items needed such as Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) and university tuition fees needed to complete the entire application process. For the most upto date information about costs visit the immigration website.
How to Pay Student Visa Application Fee Australia?
Applicants can pay the student visa fee a with debit or credit card online when the application is being submitted
Is the Australian Student Visa Fee Refundable?
No, Australian student visa application fees is not refundable.
Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
What is a CoE?
A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is an official document issued by your university to international students applying for a Student visa.
The CoE serves as a crucial component of your Student visa application, submitted to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) as proof of your intended enrollment at your university. Throughout your academic journey, the CoE continues to be essential, supplying vital information to government departments, including the Department of Home Affairs, regarding your enrollment status. Any alterations to your enrollment at your university will be reflected in your CoE.
Each CoE will likely have the following information printed on them
- Program of study
- Program duration
- Program start and end dates
- Estimated program costs
It is imperative to adhere to the program duration specified in your CoE, typically representing the full-time study duration for your enrolled program unless credit transfer from previous studies has been granted. This document signifiys your commitment to fulfilling your academic program within the stipulated timeframe.
When do I get my Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)?
You will receive your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) once you have accepted your offer, and the unviersity has received the requested tuition fees and other costs indicated in your Letter of Offer.
Please be aware that payments may take some time to process depending on your payment method, bank and country.
You will need your CoE to apply for a Student visa.
Why do I need a CoE to enrol in a university program?
As an international student who intends to study in Australia on a Student visa, you are required to hold a valid confirmation of enrolment. This CoE tells the immigration department your primary purpose of your visit to Australia is to study as well as confirms that you have been accepted into a university program. It is your responsibility to ensure you hold a valid CoE and meet the conditions of your Student visa.
Can I extend my CoE?
As per the National Code 2018, Student visa holders are expected to complete their program within the duration specified on their CoE.
Most universities can only approve an extension to a Student visa holder’s program of study because of:
- Compassionate or compelling circumstances;
- An implemented intervention strategy for students who are at risk of unsatisfactory academic progress; or
- An approved deferment or Suspension of Studies has been granted.
Examples of compassionate and compelling circumstances include (but are not limited to):
- A medical issue evidenced by a medical certificate
- Receiving fail grades, which meant you were unable to follow your recommended study sequence
You must contact your university contact centre as soon as you become aware of a problem that may impact your ability to finish your studies on time. Be mindful that if you have deliberately under-enrolled without prior approval and you are unable to finish your studies on time as a result, you may not receive an extension to your CoE and may not be able to complete your studies in Australia.
CoE extensions are assessed on a case-by-case basis and you may be asked to provide documentary evidence to support your application for a CoE extension by your university.
What will result in a cancellation of the CoE by the university?
Your university will report changes to your enrolment against your CoE, which will notify the Department of Home Affairs and other applicable government departments.
Some changes may result in your CoE being cancelled. Changes to your enrolment which will cancel your CoE occur when:
- You formally withdraw from your university program
- You fail to enrol in courses in a compulsory study period and have no suspension of studies approved
- You have an approved change of program (in that case a new CoE will be issued for the new program)
- Your enrolment is cancelled by your university due to:
- Non-payment of fees
- Academic or general misconduct resulting in expulsion
- Unsatisfactory academic progress
You will be advised by email once the CoE cancellation has taken place. You will have 28 calendar days from the date of the CoE cancellation to either leave Australia, obtain a new CoE or apply for a new visa.
English language requirements
What level of English does my course require?
Students applying for Foundation or Diploma programs at most universities will need to meet Functional or Vocational English (equivalent to an overall Academic IELTS of 5.5 or 6.0 respectively). Most undergraduate and postgraduate courses require Competent English (equivalent to an overall Academic IELTS of 6.5), Some courses, such as those in Law, Medicine, and Education, require either Proficient or Advanced English (equivalent to an overall Academic IELTS greater than 6.5).
How can I demonstrate my proficiency in English?
Most universities accept a range of evidence to demonstrate your English language proficiency. Some of the most widely accepted English tests are IELTS (International English Language Testing System), TOEFL iBT and PTE (Pearson Test of English). Check your university website to find out what tests will be accepted by your university.
What is the validity period of English tests?
Unless otherwise specified, all English language test scores must be less than two years old at the date of course commencement at the University. Applicants with multiple tests in that period will have their single best test result considered.
Orientation and arrival
Do I have to attend orientation?
While requirements may vary from one university to another, it is strongly recommended that you participate in the orientation period. This invaluable experience will acquaint you with the university’s environment, helping you familiarize yourself with campus facilities, academic resources, and essential information that can significantly enhance your overall university experience.
When should I arrive?
You should aim to arrive in Australia with sufficient time to settle in and acclimatise yourself to Australia before orientation commences. We advice at least 2 weeks before the day of orientation.
If you are planning on staying in short-term accommodation initially and finding suitable long-term accommodation upon arrival, you should give yourself sufficient time to do so. We encourage you to finalise your accommodation arrangements before orientation commences, to leave yourself free to settle into university life without distractions.
How do I get from the airport to my accommodation?
Once you have finalised your flight details, you should consider how you will travel from your arrival airport to your accommodation. The most convenient option is to book an airport transfer or book an Uber straight from the app.
Will I need to pay income tax in Australia?
All residents in Australia need to pay income tax each year. Yes. If you are studying in Australia for six months or more you are typically regarded as an Australian resident for tax purposes. Therefore, be prepared to declare all your worldwide income, regardless of its source. This includes income from employment, investments, business activities, and anything else you might earn. Additionally, you’ll be responsible for paying income tax on your taxable income, with rates increasing progressively as your earnings rise.
What is the cost of living in Australia?
International students in Australia should budget between $1,400 to $2,500 monthly for living expenses, based on the average cost for a student. This figure may vary significantly based on where in Australia you live and your personal expenses.
Can I work to pay off tuition fees and living expenses?
International students are allowed a maximum work limit of 48 hours per fortnight. If you’re earning at the minimum wage rate of $23.23 per hour, your fortnightly income would amount to 48 * $23.23 = $1115.04. It’s important to note that this income might fall short of covering both living expenses and tuition fees in most cases.
While some students resort to cash jobs to surpass the 48-hour work cap, we strongly advise against this practice. Engaging in cash jobs to circumvent regulations can have severe consequences. If the immigration department discovers such activities, it may result in the revocation of your student visa, which could jeopardize your academic journey.