Visa Application Rejection Reasons: Australian Student & Tourist

The two most common visa types in Australia are the tourist visa and the student visa. By far the greater number of certain visa applications are processed without any problems but an Australian tourist visa is rejected or an Australian student visa is rejected.

Visa Application Rejection

Usually, there are very good reasons why there might be an Australian visa refusal. These reasons are outlined clearly below. Visa applications take time to complete properly and are not cheap. It is important to follow the instructions for completing an Australian visa application carefully and understand why there may be Australian visa refusal reasons.

Australian Tourist Visa Rejection Reasons

Despite the subtitle, there is no such thing in Australia as a tourist visa. There are travel authorisations which are basically visa waivers and a visitor visa. As a tourist, you should apply for one of these categories depending on your citizenship. It is important to know the rules for visiting Australia as a tourist. The visa system has changed considerably in recent times. All citizens of the European Union, as well as non E.U. Schengen countries, have a reciprocal eVisitor arrangement. This is not technically a visa as such, but it does allow the visitor to come to Australia for 3 months in any 12 month period quite easily. A visa or stamp is not issued. The record of a successful eVisitor application, which is done online, is kept by a central database.

Visa Waiver and Visitor Visa Categories

Citizens of a small number of other countries, principally in North America, South East Asia and Japan can apply online for an electronic travel authority (ETA). This is similar to the U.S. visa waiver and allows holders of the ETA to visit Australia for 3 months in any 12, like eVisitors.

All other citizens must apply online for a visitor visa. This can be issued for a period of 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.

It can now be seen what the most common reason for a visa refusal is. It happens when you apply for the wrong type of visa/permission to travel. For example, if you are a Malaysian citizen, you should apply for an ETA. If you are Norwegian, you apply for an eVisitor. If you are from Indonesia or South Africa, you must apply for a Visitor Visa.

Basically, ETA and eVisitor applicants do not need many criteria to successfully be issued with what they are applying for. The success rate is typically around 98%, i.e. only 2% of applicants have these 2 types of travel authority rejected. It is quite different for Visitor Visa applicants. The success rate drops drastically to around 24%, so three-quarters of applicants for this visa category have their application rejected or refused.

Apart from the wrong type of travel authority, you can have your application rejected for many other reasons, such as:


● You have a criminal record involving a prison sentence of 12 months or more
● You have tuberculosis
● You cannot meet the health requirements for a visit to Australia
● You have insufficient proof of funds to keep you going while in Australia
● Your visitor visa was rejected before
● Your stay in Australia previously violated your visa conditions
● It is suspected that you intend studying or working while in Australia
● Lack of requested evidence to support your visa application
● False documents submitted with your visa application
● No clear evidence that you have a good reason to return to your own country, e.g. a job or business to return to or family commitments.

Note that many of these reasons for having your Australian tourist visa rejected also apply to many other visa categories, such as the student visa. Also note that if you are not applying for a Visitor Visa and you only need less than 3 months stay as a visitor to Australia, it is highly unlikely that your application for an eVisitor authorisation or ETA will be refused unless you have criminal convictions that are on the Australian Federal Police database.

Australian Student Visa Rejection Reasons

Many Australian student visa rejection reasons are the same as for the visitor visa (tourist visa), but some are specific to this category of visa. The main concerns of Australian immigration authorities are that you are not a bona fide student and are intending to find work or stay in the country illegally. The other concern is that you get sick or cannot support yourself financially and become a burden on the Australian taxpayer. Most of the reasons for rejection as an intending student can be avoided by carefully planning your application, reading all the small print which is outlined on the immigration website and not completing your visa application until you are sure that everything has been done correctly.

One easy way of making sure that your visa is not rejected is to use a visa agency that specialises in helping students and other people with visa applications. This is not a free service of course, but it can certainly save time in the long run.

Some of the reasons for rejection that have not already been covered above in the visitor visa section include:

● Submitting false copies of qualifications
● Not translating qualifications or other documents that are not in English
● Lack of familiarity with the course and institution applied for at a visa interview
● Lack of funds for the whole course, health insurance and living costs while in Australia
● Not having an English language score of 5.0 or more on the IELTS scale within the last 2 years
● A contradiction between the course applied for and the qualifications you have gained
● Failure to pass good character requirements including proof of lack of a criminal conviction

As with the visitor visa, it pays to prepare well in advance of leaving for Australia. It doesn’t make sense to pay for travel to Australia until your visa has been arranged. It is also worth knowing that some documents you need, such as medical reports and X-ray reports may become invalid if there is a delay. It is a good idea to leave the more expensive parts of the visa application until such time that the application is well underway.