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Steps to uni for international Year 12 students

You are an international student if you are not an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of Australia.

Australia is a popular study destination for students from overseas. Australian tertiary institutions feature highly in international rankings for their teaching, research and international outlook and our lifestyle, culture and climate make Australia one of the most liveable countries in the world.

Australian tertiary institutions offer a broad range of study options and areas of specialisation, from arts and humanities, business and economics to communications and media studies, creative arts, education, engineering, health and medical sciences, science and technology, and teaching. Qualifications gained in Australia are recognised around the world. If you apply to study in Australia through UAC, you'll be applying to institutions located in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) or close to these states’ borders. They offer a variety of learning and social environments for students.

Quality assurance

Australia has systems and processes in place to ensure that international students receive a high quality and rewarding education.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is a national, government-approved policy that regulates qualifications and enables comparison of different qualifications at different levels across different institutions. An AQF-registered qualification has undergone a national accreditation process and the provider is government registered. In addition to the AQF national code, institutions that process their applications through UAC operate within the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) framework. This legislative framework establishes a standard of practice which participating institutions must meet. It also offers a number of rights and protections for applicants.

How to apply

International students undertaking one of the following qualifications in 2019 or 2020 can apply for undergraduate courses through UAC:

  • an Australian Year 12 in or outside Australia
  • an International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • a New Zealand National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3.

All other international students apply directly to the institutions, not through UAC. Each institution has its own application procedures and admission requirements.

If you’re granted permanent resident status after applying, you must immediately write to the Senior Operations Officer at UAC, explain your change in citizen status, and provide a verified copy of your passport. You will need to reapply as a domestic undergraduate applicant to be considered for a Commonwealth-supported place (CSP) course, for which permanent residents are eligible to be considered (depending on the institution).

If you’re granted permanent resident status:

  • after you’ve received an unconditional offer and before your course start date, or
  • after your course start date 

contact the relevant institution immediately.

Australian Government requirements for international students

International students need to apply for a student visa to study in Australia, which allows you to study in Australia for a specified period. You must have a Confirmation of Enrolment from an education provider and proof of payment for Overseas Student Health Cover to apply. Read the information below and visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website to ensure you meet the student visa requirements. 

Students under 18 years of age

If you'll be under 18 years of age when you arrive in Australia to study, the Australian Government must be satisfied that you have appropriate accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements in place.

Each institution decides whether they will accept responsibility for welfare arrangements for international students who are under 18 years of age. The following institutions may accept this responsibility:

  • Griffith University
  • International College of Management, Sydney – if student lives on campus
  • Macquarie University
  • SAE Creative Media Institute
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Sydney
  • UNSW Sydney
  • Western Sydney University.

Individual institutions can provide more information on accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements and any restrictions that may apply.

English language proficiency

English language proficiency is a requirement for all tertiary courses. In addition, the Australian Government has specific English language requirements for students applying for student visas from some countries.

Overseas Student Health Cover

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is insurance for international students to help them with the costs of medical and hospital care while they are in Australia. It does not, however, cover dental treatment. As dental services in Australia are expensive, you should have your teeth checked and any necessary dental work completed before you leave home.

The Australian Government requires all international students on a student visa and their dependants to purchase an approved OSHC policy from an Australian registered health fund for the duration of their visas. OSHC is not included in your tuition fees.

Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students are not required to purchase OSHC as part of their visa requirements; they are considered to have met ‘adequate insurance’ requirements due to a reciprocal arrangement between their country and the Australian Government.

Many institutions have arrangements with preferred OSHC providers. Students, however, are free to choose their own health cover provider.

A list of registered OSHC providers, together with general information about OSHC, is available at PrivateHealth.gov.au.


You must organise and pay for OSHC before you arrive in Australia. Once you receive an unconditional offer to study at an Australian educational institution, you'll be required to pay your OSHC charge at the same time that you pay your tuition fee deposit.

You can arrange to pay for your OSHC through your educational institution or you can choose your own OSHC provider from another Australian registered private health insurer. 

Working while studying

As an international student, you have the opportunity to work in paid employment for up to 40 hours per fortnight during teaching periods, and unlimited hours when your course is not in session. Certain categories of voluntary, unpaid work are included in this total. Work undertaken as part of your course is not included.

You should not rely on working to fund your tuition or living expenses while in Australia as work cannot be guaranteed and spending excessive amounts of time working may adversely affect your studies. Applications for work visas can only be submitted after you have arrived in Australia and started your classes. For more information, visit the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website.