Differences in Obtaining Student Visa 2017: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand


We all have our dream destinations, be it a place to go for the holidays or simply a country in which you would like to pursue your studies. Different countries have different regulation for Foreign Students and foreigners at large.



In this article, we will make a comparison of the Student Visa application process, in three countries, i.e. Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Whether you need to write sop or not, depends on the regulations of the host country

The Visa Application Process


In Australia, there are various visas’ for students who would like to pursue their studies there. Depending on the student category that you fall in, you will need to apply for that particular visa. They include:


  • Independent ELICOS Sector visa: this applies to those who have enrollment in a course on the English language
  • Non-Award Sector visa: it is for those who are planning on, pursuing a program that doesn’t lead to earning a degree. Say you are participating in a student exchange/ study abroad program that will last a year or just a semester
  • Higher Education Sector visa: it is for those who will be pursuing an Advanced Diploma, Associate, Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree
  • Postgraduate Research Sector visa: For those who will be pursuing a Ph.D. or a Research Master’s Program, this is for you.


Before applying for the Student Visa, you need to have an Acceptance letter from the institution that you will be attending. So, know which course you want to pursue and find the school that suits you, and apply. Also, you will need to have a GTE (Genuine Temporary Entrant) document that shows that you are in Australia for Study purposes.


You will also need to have proof of your competency in English by sitting for an English Test from recognized bodies, e.g. TOEFL iBT, IELTS, TOEFL PTB or PTE Academic.




Every Student Visa Application starts with you knowing where you want to study, applying and getting the acceptance letter. Depending on your college/school of choice, you may need to learn how to write a statement of purpose. When you have your Acceptance letter, then you can jump start the application process.


However, in Canada, some people are exempted from Student Visa Applications though they should have an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization), for their flight to Canada.

They include:

  • If you have a family member or are an official of a foreign representative that is in Canada. The representative has to have accreditation from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development
  • If you have an Indian Status that is registered in Canada
  • Your program will last no more than six months
  • You fall in the Visiting Forces Act as a member of the armed forces of a foreign nation

For students who come from countries that do not speak English, you may need to sit for a Test on your English Proficiency from TOEFL, IELTS or Advanced Cambridge English. Applications are made online on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. However, it is possible to apply using paper in some cases.

You will need to have proof of financial stability at the time of your stay. Sometimes, one may be called for a biometric appointment at a fee, depending on the country. You may also need to go for an interview.


New Zealand

For those whose study programs will take more than three months, you will need to apply for a Student Visa. Otherwise, a Visitor’s Visa will suffice if your study period is less than three months. You also need to have an Acceptance Letter from the institution that you intend to attend.

In addition to that, ensure that the school is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. For students who are below 18 years of age, you will need to have a written guarantee to show that you will have accommodation in New Zealand during your stay.


Depending on the length of your stay, you may undergo screening for TB (Tuberculosis), especially if you are intending on staying for six months or more. You will also need to have proof that you can cater for both your study and living costs while in New Zealand. You also need to have a return air ticket or proof that you can buy one.


The Differences

  • In Australia, there are several types of Visa Application for international students that vary depending on the course that one will be pursuing, e.g. degree exchange, Ph.D., etc.
  • In both New Zealand and Canada, you do not need to have a student visa if your studies will be for a short time, three months for New Zealand and six months in Canada.
  • One needs to have a genuine temporary entrant (GTE) document in Australia. It shows the purpose of your stay in the country, is studies.
  • The Canadian Student Visa Application has exemptions to those who can study in Canada without needing to have a Student Visa, e.g. family members of a foreign representative in Canada.
  • One has to take an English proficiency test from accepted language Tests, in Australia and Canada. The tests in Canada apply to those who belong to Non-English-speaking nations.
  • You need to have an Acceptance letter from an institution registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, for you to be eligible for a New Zealand Student Visa.
  • Part time work for international students varies from country to country and type of visa that one has applied. In both Canada and New Zealand, once can work up to 20 per week. One can, however, work up to 40 hours per fortnight in Australia.

Here is an info graphic to aid your understanding:



As you plan and prepare for any study abroad program, you need to familiarize yourself with the regulations of the said country beforehand. It will give you a better chance of going through with the visa application process and reduce frustration from unpreparedness.  You can also start practising writing a sop for an upper hand in applying to your school of choice.


Millie Bryan is a content writer and an inspired guest post writer. She has experience in studying abroad and she is happy to share it with others. Her life motto is: “Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.”

For more enquiries about admissions into universities abroad, send an email to Jonah@studyabroad365.com or call +2348125835476

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