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Student Visas and University Rules

As both a student of The University of Adelaide and an international student, there are a few rules you need to be clear on for your studies.

Although you'll be studying alongside local students, your student visa has certain conditions that are particular to international students. It's a good idea to be clear on these conditions, as well as understanding general University rules.

  • Student Visas

    As a student visa holder, it is your responsibility to be aware of the conditions relating to your visa. These conditions and regulations are subject to change. Student visas are managed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), not the University.

    You need to be aware that failure to comply with your visa conditions could result in the cancellation of your enrolment which may affect your visa . It is important to take action early if you think you have a problem that could affect your student visa.

    Visa Conditions

    You need to make sure that you understand your visa conditions. Common conditions for student visas include:

    • Enrolment in your program in all compulsory study periods
    • Maintaining OSHC for the duration of your visa
    • Updating the University within seven days of changing address
    • Working no more than 40 hours per fortnight during official academic terms

    Please note that these are just some of your possible visa conditions. You should confirm your conditions by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system, and can read more on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection - Student visa conditions website.

    You are able to undertake online, distance, or cross-institutional study, as long as you are enrolled in at least one face-to-face University of Adelaide course per compulsory enrolment period.

    You may also study a maximum of 25% of your program by online or distance education if your program rules allow this.

    Visa Applications

    The University cannot assist with student visa applications, or any other type of visa application. Comprehensive information about how to apply for your student visa can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection - Student visa website.

  • Coursework Students - Extending your CoE

    In order to apply for a new student visa, you will first need to apply for a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from the University. A CoE can only be extended under a limited range of circumstances.

    1. You first need to apply for a new CoE online. Please note that CoE applications are only accepted after you have received your grades for the current study period.
    2. Your new CoE will be emailed to you at your student email address. Please note that this may take up to three weeks.
    3. You should extend your OSHC policy for the length of your new student visa before you lodge your visa application.

    Grounds for Renewing Your CoE

    CoE extensions for coursework students can only be issued for a limited number of reasons. These reasons are:

    • Where there is an implemented intervention strategy
    • Where there is an approved leave of absence
    • Where there are compassionate or compelling grounds:
      • Failed occasional courses throughout the program and was unable to undertake repeat courses in Summer or Winter School or through flexible delivery mode
      • Serious illness or bereavement of you or a close family member
      • Traumatic experience, such as if you were the victim of a serious crime
      • The University was not able to offer a prerequisite unit or a course needed to meet degree requirements
      • Other (Please discuss with International Student Support)
  • Research Students - Extending your CoE

    If you are a research student, you are eligible to apply for a new CoE for the full duration of your scholarship or sponsorship, or up until your candidature end date. If you require an extension beyond your candidature end date, you will first need to apply for a candidature extension through the Adelaide Graduate Centre.

    Scholarship Students

    Adelaide Scholarship International (ASI), Research Training Program Scholarship, and students receiving Faculty or school based scholarships will receive their new CoEs automatically after the Adelaide Graduate Centre (AGC) approves their extensions.

    Home Government Sponsored Students

    Once you have received a new Financial Guarantee from your sponsor, please forward your Financial Guarantee to International Student Support so we can arrange your new CoE in line with your sponsorship.

    Full Fee Paying Students

    If you are intending to extend your studies beyond your existing scholarship or sponsorship OR you are a Full Fee Paying student, please fill in the CoE Extension - Research student form and return it to International Student Support.


    Once you have your new CoE, you must purchase sufficient Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) to cover the full duration of your new visa. It is easier to do this before applying for your new student visa.

      • International research students may be entitled to a visa for up to 6 months after their CoE end date so that they may remain onshore while their thesis is being marked and to give them time to make any corrections, if required.
      • If you are a sponsored student and your OSHC is arranged by the University, your CoE will reflect the total OSHC duration to which you are entitled. If you wish to take advantage of the full visa duration to which you may be entitled, you will need to purchase additional OSHC yourself before lodging your visa application. 

  • Taking Time Off

    As a student visa holder, you are expected to study and maintain enrolment while you are in Australia.

    It is important that you discuss any potential break with both your Faculty and International Student Support. Deferral for one or more study periods will likely have an impact on your CoE and student visa.

    If you require a short break from your coursework program (i.e. 1-2 weeks), you may be able to take a break from your program without it affecting your student visa if the break is for a compelling or compassionate reason (e.g. due to a short term illness), and provided you are still able to meet all of the program requirements, including attendance and assessment requirements.

    It is important that you discuss any potential break with both your Faculty and International Student Support.

    If you need to take a longer break from your studies for any reason and, as a result, you will be unable to complete the courses for a given study period, you will need to defer your studies.

    Research students have different types of leave, some of which affect their student visa and some of which don't. Research students should discuss any periods of leave first with their academic supervisors.

    All leave request for research students are handled through the Adelaide Graduate Centre.

    Leave of Absence

    Research students are allowed to take a Leave of Absence for up to 28 calendar days (i.e. including weekends) in any given calendar year (i.e. from 1 January until 31 December) without it affecting their student visa.

    If you need to take a Leave of Absence for longer than 28 days in a given calendar year, please contact ISS and ask to speak to a Compliance Officer about your leave options.

    Annual (Recreation) Leave

    Research students are entitled to four (4) weeks of annual leave per year. Annual leave is managed by your School or Faculty and does not affect your student visa in any way.

    Study Leave

    Study leave is a special type of leave research students have access to. You can discuss study leave with your academic supervisor. It does not affect your student visa.

  • Changing Your Program

    If you feel that your program isn't right for you, there are two different methods to change your study:

    • an internal transfer (changing to a different program within the University of Adelaide)
    • an external transfer (changing to a program at a different education provider).

    If you are currently studying at the University of Adelaide and wish to change your academic program to another program offered by the University of Adelaide at any stage of your current program, you can apply to the International Admissions Office online.

    This form is also used by students finishing their undergraduate degrees who wish to continue to a postgraduate degree (eg, Masters).

    Please note: this form is only available at certain times of the year.

    The process for internal transfers is as follows:

    1. Lodge your internal transfer request before the deadline for applications.
    2. If you are successful in your transfer, you will receive a Letter of Offer for the new program.
    3. After accepting the Letter of Offer, you will be issued with a new CoE for your new program. Your CoE for your previous program will be cancelled.

      Please note that your Letter of Offer may contain a condition that you wait until you have received your grades for the current study period before you are able to accept the Offer.
    4. If your new program will be longer than your old program, you can use your new CoE to apply for a new student visa.

      Please note that you can only apply for a new student visa from roughly 3 months before the expiry date of your current visa.

    If you have further questions about the internal transfer process, please speak to staff at the International Admissions Office.

    If you are currently studying a Pre Enrolment English (PEP) program and would like to change your degree program at the University, please speak to the English Language Centre.

    The procedure of transferring education providers is different depending on how long you have been at the University.

    If you have been in your principal program for more than 6 months and you are transferring to another provider, you need to complete the Amendment to Enrolment Form and submit it to ISS along with your new Letter of Offer from your new provider.

    If you have been in your principal program for less than 6 months, you will need to obtain a Letter of Release before you can accept your offer from your new provider.

    A Letter of Release is only offered under limited circumstances. To obtain this letter, you will need to submit the application form along with your Letter of Offer from your new provider to ISS. You can also review the University policy on Letters of Release.

  • Working While Studying

    It is important to be aware of how your visa conditions relate to your work rights, as well to know your rights as an employee in Australia.

    Visa Work Restrictions

    Check your visa conditions and read information from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) regarding restrictions on your work.

    Coursework students are generally limited to 40 hours work per fortnight (two week period). This means that:

    • If you work more than 20 hours in a given week, you must make sure you work less than 20 hours in the week before and the week after.
    • You can only work over 40 hours per fortnight during official University breaks. If your dependants intend to work, make sure they understand their visa conditions and stick to them.
    • The following table demonstrates an example of what '40 hours per fortnight' means:
    Managing your work hours - Coursework Students
    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
    Best 20 hours 20 hours 20 hours 20 hours 20 hours 20 hours
    Not OK 30 30 10 10 10 10
    OK 10 hours 30 hours 10 hours 30 hours 10 hours 30 hours
    Not OK 10 30 10 30 30 10

    Your Work Rights

    In addition to your visa conditions, there are also working conditions you need to be aware of if you are going to work in Australia. Before agreeing to work anywhere, it's important to know a few things.

  • Student Related Policies

    The University has several important policies related to assessment, progress, and other academic areas. It is important that you are aware of these rules before you begin your study. For an overview of these policies, see the Student Related Policies website.


    It's a good idea to become familiar with the University's assessment policies, as well as the rules surrounding examinations. 

    Academic Progress

    The University monitoring the academic progress of students to ensure that students who are experiencing difficulties are identified as early as possible and offered advice, assistance and support services that are available at the University.

    As satisfactory academic progress is a student visa condition, if a student’s academic progress is consistently unsatisfactory, conditions may be placed on the student’s enrolment. This may result in exclusion from studies which will have effects on a student's CoE and student visa. It's important therefore to be aware of the Academic Progress policy and procedures.

    Academic Honesty and Copyright

    The University respects intellectual property and copyright laws. Consequently, plagiarism is taken very seriously and if you plagiarise you risk facing serious consequences.

    It is important that you understand what constitutes plagiarism and cheating and how to appropriately cite and reference work in your assignments. Ignorance of the rules is not often accepted, as all departments make every effort to bring the policies and their requirements to your attention.

    If you have trouble understanding the referencing system in your area, you can speak to your Faculty office or to the Writing Centre for more information.


International Student Support (Hughes Building)

Call us +61 8 8313 4828
Opening Hours: Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Friday 9am-5pm
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