Applying for a visa (and waiting for the outcome) may be nerve-racking, but trust me when I say that things can’t possibly go wrong so long as you have all the required documentation and are honest in everything you write, do, and turn in to the immigration.
That being said, I would like to share my experience in applying for an Australian student visa. Well, I didn’t get to experience the thrill of communicating or dealing with the embassy directly since I applied for mine through an education agency, but let me share with you my part during the process.
Please keep in mind that I applied as an Indonesian, but most of the steps, if not all, should be the same for students from other countries. The student visa application fee is AUD628.63.
Before applying for a visa, it’s important that you have finalized your admission to the university and have everything settled. This means paying your deposits, completing other required payments, signing enrolment and scholarship agreement forms, and meeting all conditions that the university has set for you. Once these are all done and you are successfully enrolled in a course, you will get your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) that has all your enrolment details. You will need this for the visa application as evidence that you are enrolled in a course in Australia – make sure you don’t lose it.
If you’re applying through an education agency, you’ll most likely be given a list of documentation required in order to successfully apply for a student visa. Listed below are all I had to submit to my agent:
- Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
- Sponsor Letter: signed by the person(s) responsible for your expenses while in Australia.
- Parents’ Financial Statement
- Parent’s Certificate of Employment
- Family Registration Card: scanned in color.
- National ID Card: scanned in color.
- Birth Certificate: scanned in color.
- Photo: white background, sized 4×6.
- Scanned Passport in color: biodata details, signature page, and all pages with visa labels and immigration stamps.
- Scanned Old passport in color: biodata details, signature page, and all pages with visa labels and immigration stamps.
- Scanned Parents’ Passports in color: biodata details and signature pages.
- Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE): a personal statement written in English stating your purpose(s) and reason(s) to study in Australia.
- Travel History
- Student Visa Questionnaire: issued by education agency.
- Form 956A: issued by education agency.
Note: all must be translated to and submitted in English. The last two documents will be issued by your education agency––if you are on your own, I believe there are two or more forms that you must fill out and submit.
Having experienced it myself, I would recommend taking one or two weeks maximum to finish writing the GTE personal statement. This is important because that statement holds all your plans and goals. The Australian government must be informed and convinced that your main purpose in Australia is to study and that you won’t be staying there longer than necessary. Be honest and explain why you’ve decided to study your course in your chosen university, and what your plans are after graduation. Better yet, let it be known that you still have ties to your home country by mentioning your family and job opportunities back at home.
Once you have submitted all the documentation above, it’s time to sit back and keep your mind off of the whole thing so as not to stress yourself while waiting for a decision. Allowing the embassy a couple of days to process our applications means allowing ourselves the same amount of days to let go and hope for the best.
In my case, I received confirmation that my application has been received and reviewed around four days after submission. In this stage, I was asked to do a medical checkup in a hospital chosen and assigned by the embassy. If this happens, then it means you’ve passed the first ‘screening stage’. The medical checkup should be the last stage since my visa was approved just a day after my MCU.
The embassy will issue a referral letter that must be printed and brought to the hospital on the day of MCU. You’d have to schedule an appointment yourself and make sure that you have everything you need ready on the D-day––IDs, referral letter, HAP number, and medical prescriptions.
During the medical checkup, I had to do a urine test, a chest X-ray examination, and a general medical examination. The tests ran fairly quickly, but the interval between each test was pretty long. The MCU took me almost 3 hours to complete.
The results of the MCU are confidential and will only be accessible to the hospital and embassy. Results will be directly sent to the embassy as soon as later in the day. If the MCU results meet Australia’s standard and satisfaction, your visa will be approved. My visa was thankfully approved just a day after I’ve done my MCU. Keep in mind that it’s not the same for every country, but it would probably take 4 days maximum for a decision to be made.
And that concludes the process of a student visa application. It might look troublesome and a bit complicated, but it really just takes organization and good time management. Once you have all the documentation you need, gather them in a folder so you can easily turn them in altogether when applying. Immediately make an appointment for a checkup after a referral letter is issued by the embassy––remember, this is the last step; the longer you wait, the longer you’ll have to wait and be uneasy.
I hope this helps to give you a picture of how it all happens and ease you off of any concerns you have regarding visa application.