Keen to study in Sydney?

As an international student, studying abroad is an exciting opportunity. But it’s important that you understand what visa requirements there are to study at a university in Australia and how to get the visa that you need.

To make it easy, here’s what you need to know about student visa requirements.

  • Yes, as an Australian university, international students studying at UNSW Sydney require a valid visa. You will need to apply for a student visa (Subclass 500) from the Department of Home Affairs for the length of your program. 

    With a student visa you can:

    • travel in and out of Australia during the visa period
    • participate in an eligible course of study
    • work a limited number of hours during terms and unlimited hours during term breaks

    By holding a valid student visa during your study at UNSW Sydney, you may also be eligible to apply for a temporary post-study work visa (Subclass 485) upon completion if you want to launch your career in Australia. 

  • There are some requirements you need to meet to apply for an Australian student visa. You’ll need to provide evidence to prove that you are eligible for this visa. 

    We’ve prepared a checklist to help you prepare.

    1. Accept your UNSW offer and enrol in your courses: Once you received a UNSW offer, you can accept your offer and pay the deposit via our online portal. After that, you can enrol into your desired courses to start studying at UNSW. Once the deposit has cleared, we will send you a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which is a document that you will need to submit with your visa application. Find out more about CoE
    2. Arrange your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC): It’s essential to have health insurance to cover the whole period of your stay in Australia. There are plenty of insurers in the market that you can choose from. Medibank is the preferred provider for UNSW students. It’s important that you arrange your OSHC policy before you apply for a student visa and you’ll need to submit evidence with your visa application. Find out more about OSHC.
    3. Make welfare arrangements if you are under 18 years: If you will be under 18 when entering Australia to begin a course at UNSW, you must have approved accommodation and welfare arrangements in place before a student visa can be issued. These arrangements are regulated by the Australian government to ensure student safety and wellbeing. UNSW Under 18 Care Program is available to eligible students who need to have welfare arrangements. Know more about UNSW Under 18 Care Program.
    4. Meet the finance, health and character requirements: You’ll need to provide evidence to show that you have enough funds to support your stay in Australia, and meet the health and character requirements set out by the Australian government. You might also need to provide evidence to show that you have met English language requirements. To see what you will need to provide evidence of, use the Document Checklist Tool.
    5. Meet the Genuine Student (GS) Requirement: Student visa applicants from selected regions also need to prove they have met the Genuine Student (GS) requirements set by the Department of Home Affairs. UNSW has developed some additional steps to help international students meet the visa requirement. Make sure that you understand these extra steps if you need to complete a GS check. Find out more about GS requirements.

    From 23 March 2024, the Genuine Student (GS) requirement replaces the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement for Student visas. 

    Student visa applications lodged before 23 March 2024 will be assessed according to the GTE assessment, while applications lodged on or after 23 March 2024 will be assessed according to the new arrangement. Please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website for more information.

  • Once you have all the required documents ready, you can apply for a student visa online through the Department of Home Affairs website. Follow this step-by-step guide and create an immiAccount to start your application online.

  • Processing times for visas can vary anywhere from 3 days to 9 months or more. Make sure you allow enough time in case of any delays and provide all required documentation for your best chance of being processed quickly.

  • We suggest you start applying for your student visa as soon as you receive your CoE.

  • Yes, student visas allow you to work, however there are particular restrictions. You can’t work until you have commenced your course at UNSW. 

    From 1 July 2023, student visa holders can work for up to 48 hours per fortnight during terms, and unlimited hours during term breaks. Work beyond the capped hours may cause your visa to be cancelled. 

    Make sure you understand work restrictions and your work rights as an international student before you start working.


  • Changes to your enrolment, such as taking program leave, completing your studies early or needing more time to complete your studies, will impact your student visa duration.

    It’s important that you obey your visa conditions, which are set out in your visa granting letter. If your situation does change, you should make sure you take any actions that may be required in accordance with your visa.

    Understand what you need to do if your study situation changes here


  • To apply for a student visa and for information about your application, visit the Department of Home Affairs website, which is the official source of truth for visa-related information. You can find details about cost, your eligibility, your rights and initiate your visa application on this website.

    Our Future Student Advisers are here to help if you have any questions about your study at UNSW.

    If you are a current student returning to Australia or you would like to discuss the conditions of your student visa and your studies, please contact the Nucleus Student Hub.

Ready to achieve your goals with UNSW Sydney?

Check entry requirements, fees, and everything you need to know to apply as an international student.

Keen to study in Sydney?

As one of the top universities in Australia, we’re here to help you move toward a better future. If you have any questions about studying at UNSW Sydney or how you can make your studies work for you, contact us below.