Most overseas students who would like to study onshore in Australia will need to obtain a student visa. A student visa allows you to study full-time in Australia, work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester and unlimited hours during semester breaks. You can apply for a student visa once you have accepted your offer, purchased Overseas Student Health Cover and received your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment.
About your student visa
An Australian student visa is a temporary visa that allows you to come to Australia for a specified period to study at an Australian educational institution. Your student visa will allow you to:
- undertake full-time study in Australia (100 credits per semester at Curtin)*
- stay in and re-enter Australia for the duration of your course
- work up to 40 hours per fortnight during semester and unlimited hours during semester breaks.
* Study Abroad/Exchange students are able to enrol into 75 credits as a minimum enrolment and 100 credits as a maximum enrolment.
You can apply for visas to bring your family members as dependants as part of your student visa application. From the 1st July 2016 all new student visa applicants will receive the new subclass 500 student visa.
Hear what our students have to say about student visas.
Applying for a student visa
You can apply for your student visa after you have accepted your offer from Curtin and received your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment. You can lodge your application through a registered Curtin agent or directly to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). If you are applying directly, you will need to create an ImmiAccount and apply online through the DIBP’s website. More information on student visas can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
You will need the following documentation when lodging your application:
- a copy of your Letter of Offer
- a copy of your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
- your passport
- the visa application payment specified on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
Important things you need to know
Student visa conditions
There are strict conditions attached to Australian student visas, which you need to understand and comply with. Some of the conditions student visa holders are expected to comply with include:
- Maintaining a full-time study load. For Curtin University students a full time load is 100 credits per semester.*
- Making satisfactory academic progress
- Completing their studies within the timeframe outlined on their eCoE
- Working no more than 40 hours per fortnight during any study period. The only exception are for Masters by Research and Doctoral Research students who can work unlimited hours once they have commenced their studies.
- Notifying the University of your address within seven days of your arrival, and if you change your address later.
- Holding Overseas Student Health Cover from an Australian Government-approved provider for the duration of your visa
- Maintaining adequate schooling arrangements if you have school-age dependants in Australia
- Notifying the University of any changes to your visa status, for example being granted permanent resident status.
* Study Abroad/Exchange students are able to enrol into 75 credits as a minimum enrolment and 100 credits as a maximum enrolment.
Please note: Failure to comply with your student visa conditions could impact your ability to stay in the country. The conditions applied to your student visa will be listed in your official Visa Grant Notification email or letter. You can find more information on all visa conditions on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Welfare arrangements for student under 18 years of age
If you will be younger than 18 years of age when you arrive in Australia, you need to provide evidence to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) that appropriate welfare arrangements will be in place until you turn 18 or your visa expires. This means that you will be accompanied in Australia by a parent or legal custodian, or that Curtin University has made arrangements for your welfare, accommodation and support. Find out more about these arrangements.
Transferring between Institutions
If you are studying at an institution in Australia (other than Curtin) and already hold a student visa, you will need to either: obtain your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment document to renew your visa, or apply for a new visa under a different subclass to transfer to Curtin. If you want to transfer to Curtin before you have completed six months of study, you will need to obtain a release letter from your current institution.
Frequently asked questions
See if you can find an answer to your question about international student visas in the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.
From 1st July 2016 most people in Australia on tourist or business class visas will be able to convert to a student visa while in Australia. You can use the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system to confirm whether you are eligible for onshore visa applications.
Will the Australian Embassy/High Commission accept an emailed or faxed copy of my electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)?
Yes, the eCoE is issued electronically via the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS). Australian Diplomatic Posts can access this electronic copy.
Condition 8533 of the student visa requires students to notify Curtin of their local residential address within seven days of their arrival. Students are also required to notify Curtin within seven days of any change in their address.
Students are required to logon to OASIS and update their address/personal details within seven days of any change in their residential address.
Any overseas students studying in Australia on a student visa must take out OSHC for themselves and any dependants (for example, spouses and children under 18 years old). The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) requires that student visa holders be covered by an OSHC policy for the entire time they are in Australia. The only student visa holders not required to have OSHC are:
- Norwegian students covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme;
- Swedish students covered by the National Board of Student Aid or by Kammarkollegiet; and
- Belgian students covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
For further information please visit the Department of Home Affair’s website.
Most students should be able to change their program or course of study after they have enrolled at Curtin. The only students who may not be able to change their program or course are those with a Student Visa Condition 8203 on their student visa. These students must not change their course of study, thesis or research topic without approval from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The Student Visa Conditions attached to your student visa are listed in the official visa grant notification you received form the DIBP.
- All program or course changes must be approved by the relevant Head of School or Department. Your faculty student advisors can help arrange this.
- If you are given permission to change to a program or course which has a shorter duration than your initial course, you must leave Australia upon completion of the program or notify DIBP if you plan to continue with further study.
- If you are given permission to change to a new program which is longer, you must apply for a new visa before your existing student visa expires.
International students on student visas are to remain with the education provider with whom they originally enrolled for the first six calendar months of their course, or if the course is less than six months, for the duration of the course. If a student is undertaking a pre-requisite course, they are to remain with the provider of the pre-requisite course for the length of that course, and then with the education provider providing the principal course of study for the first six calendar months.
If a Curtin student intends to change education provider before completing six calendar months of their principal course as described above, they must seek approval by obtaining a Letter of Release. For students who have not commenced their principal course of study at Curtin, this will be from Curtin International and students who have commenced their principal course should contact the Student Service Centre.
If after arrival in Australia a student wishes to study a new principal course, in a different education sector to their current principal course, they must apply for a new student visa. Students planning on changing course and education provider must ensure they continue to meet the conditions of their student visa. Please refer to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website for further information.
International students on a student visa are required to maintain a full time enrolment at all times to ensure their degree is completed in the minimum time. With the exception of a small number of courses, the full time enrolment is 100 credits. Students who fail to maintain a full time enrolment will be in breach of their student visa conditions.
In some circumstances, students may be permitted to enrol in a study load of less than 100 credits in any semester/trimester. A Request to Enrol in less than 100 Credits in the Current Semester form [.pdf – 2.4 MB] must be completed and approved each semester/trimester where an international student does not intend to enrol in full-time study.
Students that reduce their study load may not complete their course within the expected course or visa duration and may need to apply for another student visa. Students that have no formal approval to reduce their study load may have their request for a Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE) document declined. An eCOE is required for further student visa application.
Student visa condition 8202 states students must maintain satisfactory course progress for each study period for the duration of the course. At the end of each study period (or semester), a student’s academic status is determined as either Good Standing, Conditional or Terminated. Students who are Terminated are deemed as not achieving satisfactory course progress and will be reported to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for breach of student visa conditions. This can lead to visa cancellation.
International students are expected to progress through their studies at a pace that will ensure completion within the normal duration of a program for which a student visa is granted. For example, if the program requires three years of full-time study, the student visa will have been granted for three academic years and students will be expected to complete the program within this time period.
If the student requires additional time to complete the course (due to availability of units, failed units or pre-requisites), the student will need to renew their student visa approximately one month before their existing student visa expires. Please contact the Student Advisor – International Student Visas, located in Building 101 for more information.
Terminated students are not allowed to re-enrol into the course. International students are strongly advised to submit a written appeal against their academic status of Terminated. For further information, please visit the Academic status appeal page on the Current Students website. Students can also contact the Student Wellbeing Advisors for further assistance.
While students are currently enrolled in full-time study, they may renew their student visa in Australia as long as their current student visa is not subject to Condition 8534 ‘no further stay’. It is recommended that steps are taken to renew a student visa approximately one month before the existing student visa expires.
Please refer to the student visa renewal website for further information on obtaining a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE).
For accurate visa application charges, please check the Fees and Charges section on the DHA website.
If a student applies for a student visa in Australia and they are refused, they may apply for a review of the decision. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will notify the student of their review rights in writing and time limits for lodging such an appeal.
Please note: There are no review rights for decisions to refuse a student visa where the application is made outside Australia.
What supporting documents do I need to submit to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) when renewing my student visa?
The supporting documents required vary according to visa subclass and country assessment level. Please refer to Visa Information and Document checklists on the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website.
Students are required to bring supportive documentation to their appointment with DHA. If a student is unable to submit the required documentation at the appointment, on approval from DHA, they may be permitted a short duration to produce this documentation for it to be considered for the student visa application.
International students on student visas may be permitted to take a formal Leave of Absence for limited circumstances for one semester (up to 6 months). Students can seek approval where they can demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances have impacted on their course progress or well-being. In these circumstances, international students may be permitted to suspend their studies and avoid visa cancellation.
If a break in study is intended and students do not meet the grounds for formal Leave of Absence, then students are required to withdraw from their course/program and apply for re-admission through Curtin International This will lead to student visa cancellation and students will be required to apply for a new student visa once they are ready to re-commence studies.
The University is obligated to notify the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of any changes in enrolment of all international students on student visas.
If I cancel/withdraw from a semester or my course of study/program at Curtin, am I able to remain in Australia?
Students must contact the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to determine their eligibility to remain in Australia. The University is obligated to notify DIBP of all international students who are not enrolled in the current study period.
Am I permitted to remain in Australia for the duration of my student visa if I complete my program one or more semesters before it expires?
Generally no. If students wish to remain in Australia they must contact the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to seek advice and determine their eligibility for another visa type in order to remain lawfully in Australia.
The University is obligated to notify DIBP of the early course completion of all international students.
Students must contact the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to determine their eligibility for a tourist/visitor visa.
If your student visa was granted after 26th April 2008, you already have permission to work. Any students granted visas before that date had to submit a separate application for permission to work to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
- You are not allowed to start working until after you have commenced your studies in Australia.
You are only permitted to work up to 40 hours per fortnight during academic study periods e.g. semesters or trimesters. You can work unlimited hours during your official study breaks. The only students who have no work limitations are those enrolled in Masters by research (MPhil) or Doctoral (PhD) research courses. They are permitted to work unlimited hours once they have commenced that course.
Any non-school age dependants who have travelled with you to Australia are permitted to work up to 40 hours per fortnight once you have commenced your studies. If you are enrolled in a Masters by coursework, Masters by research or Doctoral degree or are an Australian Award or Australian Defence Department sponsored student, your dependants have no work restrictions and may work unlimited hours.
You may want to extend your stay in Australia for further study, graduation, a holiday, work or migration. You may be able to obtain a new visa to enable you to stay on and even work towards permanent residence and citizenship if you are eligible, provided you do not have a ‘No Further Stay’ condition on your current student visa. Please visit the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to obtain more information on the types of visas available and the application procedure.
How can I obtain more information on Australian Government regulations relating to international students?
The Australian Government’s legal requirements of education providers and international students are contained in two key documents:
- The Education Services for Overseas Student (ESOS) Act 2000
- The National Code of Practice.
More information is also available on the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website.