What visa pathways are available to me?

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Studying abroad is one of the most exciting decisions a student can make. However, in order for the adventure to come to fruition, it is important that all of the relevant steps be taken. Aside from needing to choose the right country, city and university, it is important to know what forms of international paperwork must be completed so that you have the right to enter the country and stay for the duration of your courses. This pertains to studying abroad in Australia.

A basic student visa will allow you to do the following;

  • Stay in the country for up to five (5) years of your enrollment
  • Participate in an eligible course of study of your choice
  • Bring family members with you to Australia during the period of your education

In addition, there are some things you must keep in mind with regard to your eligibility that are separate and distinct from your education choices. You must;

  • Be enrolled in some form of overseas health care coverage
  • You must be six (6) years or older and if you are under that age of eighteen (18) you must be able to show that there is an adult household that you will be residing in and with.

There are also financial and timing considerations which include;

  • A fee for your application from AUD620 or more
  • The proper application (usually form 157A)
  • A waiting period for acceptance of your application

When deciding which visa you will need, there are five (5) choices available to you. These choices include;

  1. Student Visa (subclass 500)
  2. Visitor Visa (subclass 600, 601 and 651)
  3. Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417 and 462)
  4. Student Guardian Visa (subclass 590)
  5. Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)

The most common visa that students apply for is the Student Visa subclass 500. This visa has specific requirements which include the following;

  • English Language Intensive study for foreign students 
  • Attendance at both primary and secondary schools
  • Student exchange program via your home school and an Australian school
  • To participate in a vocational education and training program
  • Higher education; including college
  • Post Graduate courses of study and research
  • Non-award courses of study
  • International students who are being sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs/Defense

The other four (4) available student-oriented visas are for shorter periods of study and for guardians that might need to travel and supervise children who are under age. If you are planning on a shorter stay, you might find that the Visitor Visa or the Working Holiday Visa are more fitting for your needs. Each of these Visas allows for a 3-4 month stay in the country.

All visas require you to show that you meet the following criteria;

  • Proficient in the English language
  • Have a good character
  • Have overseas health care insurance
  • Certificate of enrollment from an Australian school or university
  • Sufficient funds to support yourself beyond the cost of tuition
  • Do not have a criminal background
  • Willing to submit to fingerprinting and background check
  • Proof of a passport

If you are a student from Italy, your requirements will be similar. However, you should allow additional time for your visa application and, as such, you should begin your application immediately upon receiving your acceptance to an Australian educational program. Italian students may have to provide their biometric information, including photographs and fingerprints. Students may also need to participate in an interview prior to receiving their visa and update their visa yearly.

A study abroad, for even a short time, can give a student more than just an educational experience. A student can gain valuable cultural insight and new perspectives by being involved in the day to day life of citizens and peers from a country other than their own. As such, the requirements of the process of being accepted at an Australian school or university or work-study program and the visa process, are worth the time and effort it takes to complete them. Studying abroad can afford a young person a unique learning experience that will enhance their lives and their professional careers long after their education has concluded. 

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.


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