Studying English in Australia

and Visa requirements

Type of visa

You can study English in Australia on a Tourist visa, a Working Holiday visa, a Student visa, a Spouse visa (where your spouse has a student visa) and most other visa types.

  • If you have a Tourist visa or a Spouse visa you are limited to 12 weeks study.
  • If you have a Working Holiday visa you are limited to 17 weeks study.
  • On a Student visa, you can study English for up to 50 weeks.
    If you have a Student visa, you must attend College for at least 20 hours per week. Generally, you will also be permitted to work for up to 40 hours per fortnight.

Obtaining a Student visa

Generally you need to apply for a Student visa from outside Australia. However, if you are from a Level 1 country, you can apply from inside Australia.
See this link to find out what level your country is.
Level 1 countries include most of Europe, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Scandinavia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Mexico, Chile.

Students from Level 1 countries can also apply for their Student visas online - go to this link. Students from Level 1 countries can change from a Tourist or Working Holiday visa to a Student visa inside Australia.

Please note, however, if you have had 2 consecutive Tourist visas, you may not be able to apply for a Student visa online. You may even need to leave Australia to apply for your Student visa. Currently, students from Thailand, PR China, India and Indonesia can also apply for their Student visas online (but only from outside Australia). If you are from a Level 3 or 4 country it can sometimes be difficult to obtain a Student visa to just study English in Australia. Generally, your application for a Student visa will be viewed more favourably if you are also applying to study another course (at TAFE College or University) after you finish your English studies.

Extending your Student visa

Once you have your first Student visa it is usually quite simple to extend your visa, provided you remain enrolled in a CRICOS approved course. Sometimes Student visas are issued with a “no further study” condition attached to the visa, but this is not very common.

Visa fees

Currently, if applying from inside Australia, the application fee for a Student visa is A$535. This also applies to each extension of a Student visa.

Work Rights

Generally, if you have a Student visa, you are entitled to work for up to 40 hours every fortnight (every 2 weeks). On a Working Holiday visa you are allowed to work full time. You are not allowed to work on a Tourist visa.

Obligations attached to a Student visa

There are 2 main requirements:

  1. You must attend at least 80% of your course and maintain satisfactory course progress.
  2. You must advise your College if you change your address or contact details.
If you don’t comply with these requirements, your visa may be cancelled.

Spouse / De facto visas

If you have a husband/wife/partner you can apply for them to be included on your Student visa. In other words, you only need one visa, your spouse/partner does not need to get their own Student visa. The spouse/partner is usually allowed to work for 40 hours each fortnight and can study for up to 12 weeks.

Please note the above information is of a general nature only and should not be relied on. See www.immi.gov.au/students/students/chooser/ for more information about visa options.