Australia has a very friendly and welcoming environment for students from all over the world. Although the tuition fees are usually very steep when you compare them with what is obtainable in Nigeria, the opportunities, exposure and experience you would get from studying in Australia makes it a worthwhile venture.
Before you can travel to Australia to study, you need an Australian student visa. This article is a detailed step-by-step guide to show you how to apply for an Australian Student Visa from Nigeria.
- Step 1: Make Sure You Meet The Visa Requirements
It’s better to be sure that you meet the requirements before you begin your visa application process rather than begin and then discover midway that you do not meet some of the important requirements. There are different categories of requirements you would need to meet as seen below:
- Financial Requirements: You would have to show proof that you can afford to pay tuition fees for the period of study and also have sufficient funds to cover for your travel expenses and living costs while in Australia. If you’re going with your dependants such as your spouse or kids, you must also show proof that you can afford their living costs during their period of stay as well.
You would be required to present a copy of your bank statement for this but make sure you have sufficient funds to cover all the required expenses in your account before presenting your bank statement otherwise, you may be denied a visa on grounds of insufficient funds.
- English Language Requirements: You would also be required to show a certain level of proficiency in English Language. You can take and pass any of the following accepted English Language proficiency examinations- IELTS, TOEFL, iBT, CAE and PTE.
The pass scores are usually dependent on your assessment levels and the type of course you plan to study. For instance, if you are going to study a Preliminary English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS), the pass mark for you would be lower.
- Health Requirements: Another set of requirements you need to meet is the health requirements. You would be required to take and pass some medical tests from an authorized Nigerian doctor or medical agency.
You can visit the Migration Health Assessment Centre at No. 1, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA. Lagos for that or call them on +234 (0) 9099991256 or 080222646459 for enquiries. You can also send a mail to them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the center is open for medical examination from 7am to 12pm from Mondays to Thursdays so make sure you get there very early as there are usually dozens of people waiting to register and get tested daily.
They also have a branch in Abuja at No. 4 , Buchannan Close, off Buchannan Crescent, Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja in case you live in the North.
You can also check this link for a list of approved immigration panel physicians in Nigeria to visit for your test.
You would also need to obtain health insurance cover known as the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC]. It costs just $300 for Nigerians and you can get it through your University or any approved Australian Agency such as Allianz Global Assistance, Mediabank Private, Australia Health Management, BUPA Australia and NIB OSHC.
Upon payment, you would receive a certificate that is valid for 12 months.
- Documents Requirements: Apart from visa application forms which you would be required to fill, you would need a number of documents to apply for Australian Student Visa. They include:
- A copy of your passport bio-data page.
- 4 recent passport-sized photographs (white background].
- Letter of offer from the University or a Certificate of Enrolment [we’ll discuss this later].
- Health Insurance Cover
- Certificate of English Language Proficiency Examination
- Bank Statement showing you have sufficient funds to cater for your tuition and living expenses.
- Birth Certificate/ Proof of Age
- Certified Copies of Your Educational Certificates (Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get your documents Certified).
- Character Requirements: You would need to obtain a police character clearance certificate from the Nigerian Police to show that you have no previous or existing criminal records or cases.
- Genuine Student Requirement: The Genuine Student or Genuine Temporary Entrant Requirement is established by the Department of Immigration and Border Patrol to ensure that only genuine students who intend to stay in Australia temporarily and return upon completion of their academic programs are issued visas.
The criteria often considered by the DIBP include:
- The possible circumstances for the applicant in Australia
- The circumstances in the applicant’s home
- What value does the applicant’s chosen course has for his/her future
- The applicant’s immigration history
You may have to attend an interview at the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate for a short interview where it would be determined if you qualify as a genuine student. However, this doesn’t apply to all applicants especially those who qualify for streamlined visa processing.
- Step 2: Get Admission and Certificate of Enrolment: The next step is to look for an Approved Australian institution that offers the course that you are willing to take. Apply to the school through the school’s website and wait for a response from the school.
If you are eligible for the course, you would receive an admission letter from the school along with the tuition fee requirements and guidelines on how to make payments. You would also be told just how much fees you can pay before you can be issued a Certificate of Enrolment.
It is only after making payments that you can be issued the Certificate of Enrolment (COE) and without it, you may be denied a student visa.
- Step 3: Identify Your Assessment Level: There are five visa assessment levels for Australian Student Visa from Level 1 to Level 5. Your assessment level would depend on the type of passport you carry, which in your case is the Nigerian Passport, and a number of other factors. The next article is a step-by-step guide on how to identify your student visa assessment level as a Nigerian.
If you qualify for the streamlined visa processing, you don’t need, and can skip the assessment level stage.
- Step 4: Apply for Your Visa
First, you have to open an immiaccount by visiting this link. After registration, fill the appropriate visa form. For adults aged 18 and over, you would fill Visa application form 157A while students aged 18 and below are required to fill form 157N and provide a letter of consent from their parents or guardian.
After filling the form, you would have to upload certified true copies of all your documents as well and a copy of your biometric information done by Teleperformance. You can find the addresses below to do your biometric testing:
Visa Application Centre Address
Australia Visa Application Centre Lagos
Teleperformance Contact Processing Services Ltd
5th & 6th Floors, Etiebets place,
21 Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way
Australia Visa Application Centre Abuja
Teleperformance Contact Processing Services Ltd
3rd Floor, Yakub Plaza,
Plot 1129, Zakariya Maimalari Street, Opposite War College,
Central Business Area, Abuja
- Step 5 : Pay Visa Application Fees
After filling your form, you would have to pay visa application fees of AUS$550. You can pay online using Paypal, Mastercard or Visa card.
- Step 6: Submit Application and Expect Results
After filling your application form, submit and wait for your Transaction Reference Number (TRN]. You can use this reference number to track your application.
Continue to check your immiaccount after submission to get a response from the DIBP. If you followed all the steps outlined above, filled your visa processing form accurately and used genuine documents, you can expect to get a favourable response in a maximum of 12 weeks processing time depending on your assessment level.