Australian student visa information

Obtaining an Australian student visa

Once your Acceptance of Offer and payment have been received (and Guardianship Authorisation if required) your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) will be sent to you or your agent to include with your Australian student visa application.

A range of conditions may affect how you apply for an Australian student visa. Many students will be able to apply for their student visa online, others will be required to submit a paper application. Medical examinations may also be required. Please note that if you do not have an appropriate visa you will not be able to enrol.

All student visas have mandatory and discretionary visa conditions attached to them. For a complete list of these conditions, please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Completion within the expected duration of study

We are required to ensure that students who hold a student visa complete their studies within the duration specified on their eCoE.

Extensions to your course duration can only be allowed in limited circumstances. The allowable circumstances are for compassionate or compelling reasons, where an intervention strategy has been implemented or where there has been an approved leave of absence or suspension.

Online study

If you hold a student visa you are not allowed to do more than 25% of you total course by distance and/or online learning. In addition, you cannot enrol exclusively in distance or online study in any semester. In other words, 75% or more of your studies must be completed in class.

If you are a recipient of the US Federal Direct Loan you must not enrol in any units of study offered by online or distance delivery if you wish to remain eligible for federal student aid. An educational program is not an eligible program for purposes of US Federal student aid if it is provided by correspondence or distance education in whole or in part. For more information please go to the International Loans & US VA Benefits website or contact the University’s Financial Aid Office. Email: .

Satisfactory academic progress

If you are in Australia on a student visa you must maintain satisfactory academic progress at all times. The University is obliged to advise the Department of Immigration when a student visa holder is not maintaining satisfactory academic progress. This may have a serious impact on your student visa. More information about the University's policy to assist students who are not progressing satisfactorily can be found here.

If you experience any difficulties with your studies, you should contact your faculty immediately. The bottom of the International Services website also has comprehensive information on support services available to international students.

If you're not sure where to turn to for help, please contact our International Student Advisers. Email: .

Advising the University of your address

It is a mandatory condition of all student visas that students notify the University of their residential address within 7 days of arriving in Australia. Once you start your course, you must notify the University of any changes to your residential address within 7 days of changing address. You can update your address details through Sydney Student.

Schooling arrangements for school-age dependents

If you have school-age dependents who will be joining you for more than 3 months in Australia on a student dependent visa, you must arrange and maintain adequate schooling arrangements.

Employment in Australia

From 26 March 2012, student visa holders can work 40 hours per fortnight once their course has started and during any period in which their course is in session. They are able to work unrestricted hours during any scheduled course break. A fortnight means a period of 14 days beginning on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.

In addition, from 26 March 2012, Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student visa holders are no longer limited in the number of hours that they can work once their course has commenced.

Important: unlimited work rights only apply once the student has commenced their HDR course. A student studying a preliminary course (such as ELICOS - English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) on a subclass 574 (Postgraduate Research Sector) visa are limited to 40 hours per fortnight of work while the student is undertaking the preliminary course.

Family members are restricted to 40 hours of work per fortnight once the student has started their course of study. The only exception is dependents of students who have started a master's or doctorate degree (PhD). These dependents have unlimited work rights.

Renewing an Australian student visa

If you currently hold an Australian student visa and you need to extend the duration of your stay, you will need to submit a new visa application. More information can be found here.

More information about Australian student visas can be obtained from the Department of Immigration website.

Prospective permanent residents of Australia

Your offer is valid for admission to the University of Sydney as an international student. If you are granted Australian Permanent Resident status, you must advise the University immediately via the Sydney Student portal. Under the tab called ‘My Details’, click on ‘Residency’; you are able to request the change here. Please also upload a copy of your visa as well as the bio page of your passport. You will then need to bring the original documentation into the Student Centre before the change can be processed.

Note that if you are granted Australian Permanent Residence status prior to commencing your offered course, you must be reassessed for admission to a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). For this purpose, you are considered to have commenced your course at the time of enrolment.

Eligibility for admission to a CSP is dependent upon:

  • the standard of results achieved in your previous academic qualifications being equivalent to that required by a domestic student to obtain a CSP in the applied course and semester, and
  • a CSP being available in your requested course.

If you are not eligible for a CSP in your course, your offer may be revoked and you may apply for admission to a course for which you meet the entry requirements for a CSP. If you are granted Australian Permanent Resident status after commencing your offered course, according to the Higher Education Support Act 2003, you may be transferred to a Domestic Full Fee Paying place.

Students who are under 18

If you will be under 18 years of age when you arrive in Australia, you will need to demonstrate that you are being cared for by a parent or a suitable nominated relative before the Department of Immigration will grant you a visa. Information on applying for a Student Guardian Visa is available on the Department of Immigration website.