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Student Visas

International students studying at the University of Adelaide require a visa for the duration of their program of study. For most international students, this will be a Student Visa, a category of visa that has different subclasses depending on the program of study in which you are enrolled.

As a visa holder, it is your responsibility to be aware of the visa conditions relating to your subclass of visa. These conditions and regulations change regularly and are outlined and monitored by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). International Student Support makes every effort to keep you informed of these changes through the ISC Weekly Student Email, but it is your responsibility to make sure you keep abreast of changes to visa regulations. We recommend that you regularly visit the DIBP website, as they have useful information under the named sections.

You need to be aware that failure to abide by your visa conditions may result in the cancellation of your visa. If this occurs you may be subject to detention and removal from Australia. It is important to take action early if you have any problems that could affect your visa. The staff at International Student Support can assist you, so contact the office if you have any questions.

  • CoE Vs Visa

    There can sometimes be a bit of confusion about the relationship between your CoE and your Student Visa. CoE stands for Confirmation of Enrolment. CoEs are documents produced by the University and used to support student visa applications. They inform the Australian Government of the details of your program of study, including the program duration and its estimated cost. The important thing to remember is that the University of Adelaide handles your CoE, while the Australian Government, through DIBP, handles your student visa. While you are still enrolled you must have an active CoE that accurately reflects your enrolment status.

    End Dates

    So, how long can you remain in Australia? You may remain in Australia as long as you have a valid visa. In most instances, student visas are issued with an end date of 2-3 months AFTER the end date of your CoE for coursework students. For new research students, the visa end date can be 6-8 months after the CoE end date to allow for thesis marking time. If you are a scholarship holder or a sponsored student, your scholarship end date will usually match your CoE end date. Research students also need to remember their candidature end date, which will usually be different from the CoE, visa, and scholarship end dates. As an international student you must be aware of all of your relevant end dates to ensure you remain compliant with your student visa conditions and complete your program within the allotted timeframe. The table below outlines the various end dates you should be aware of throughout your studies.

    End Date Coursework Students Research Students
    Confirmation of Enrolment

    Graduate Certificate - 6 months*
    Graduate Diploma - 1 year*
    Bachelor - 3 years*
    Masters - 1-2 years*

    Masters by Research - 2 years
    PhD - 3 years*

    Student Visa 2-3 months after CoE end date* 6-8 months after CoE end date*
    Scholarship / Sponsorship as per scholarship / sponsorship agreement PhD - 3 years*
    Candidature End Date Not applicable

    Masters by research - 2 years
    PhD - 4 years

    *Usually - please note that your individual circumstances may vary from the information provided above, which is intended as a general guide only.

  • Student Visa Conditions

    You need to be aware that there are serious consequences to breaching your visa conditions. The University is legally required to report changes to enrolment status and failure to meet academic program requirements to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

    If DIBP discovers that you are breaching your visa conditions it will take action, they will investigate the circumstances of the breach and may decide to cancel your visa. If your student visa is cancelled you will usually need to depart Australia soon after, as will any other people granted visas on the basis of their relationship to you (i.e. anyone who has a visa that is dependant on your visa). In some cases you may also be prevented from holding another Australian student visa for a period of three years.

    A student visa has a 'multiple entry' facility, which means for the duration of your student visa you are able to leave and enter Australia as many times as you wish without requiring a new visa each time.

    As the holder of a student visa you should:

    • read your visa label or e-visa carefully and be sure when your visa ceases
    • read your grant letter issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
    • understand your visa conditions, if you are in any doubt please contact DIBP to seek clarification
    • ensure that your enrolment will allow you to complete within the duration of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
    • attend classes and other academic commitments
    • achieve satisfactory course progress.

    You must tell the University if you are:

    • having time off during semester for medical or personal reasons and will not be attending classes
    • cancelling your enrolment
    • changing your address
    • leaving the University to study somewhere else
    • taking a Leave of Absence from your studies

    More information

    Your visa obligations and responsibilities under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000

  • Studying Online, by Distance, or Cross-Institutionally

    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. A 'compulsory enrolment period' is whatever the main period of study is for your program - usually Semester 1 and Semester 2, and/or Trimesters 1, 2, and 3. You may also study a maximum of 25% of your program by online or distance education if your program rules allow this.

    However, every program has different rules; you must check with your relevant faculty or school before you enrol.

    You cannot be exclusively enrolled in online or distance education unless it is during a non-compulsory study period such as summer school.

    Higher Degree by Research Students

    Higher degree by research students may be eligible to apply for remote candidature or study leave in some circumstances. For further information, please refer to the Research Student Handbook or contact the Adelaide Graduate Centre.

  • Change of Address

    It is a condition of your visa that you provide the University with your address and telephone number within seven (7) days of arriving in Adelaide and update your details within seven (7) days of changing address.

    Furthermore, the University may have to contact you urgently on administrative matters. It is very important that we have the most up-to-date contact details for you so that we can get in touch with you immediately.

    You can update these details yourself via Access Adelaide. Please remember that all international students must list:
    • an overseas address in their home country for 'Home Address'
    • a current South Australian address for 'Mailing Address'
    • If you would like your bills sent to an address other than your current mailing address (e.g. to your parents' back home, or directly to your sponsor), please enter this information in 'Billing Address'.

    Some students may be required to register their local contact details with their home country embassy or consulate. If this applies to you, contact details of embassies, consulates or missions based in Australia can be found at:

    Embassies in Australia

    Consulates in Australia

    It is also important to advise your Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) provider of your changed contact details. Most providers allow students to make changes to their contact details online. You can refer to your membership details/card for the web address of your OSHC provider.

    The preferred provider for the University of Adelaide is Allianze Global Assistance—if you have arranged your OSHC with Allianz Global Assistance you can log into their site and make changes to your contact details via the Students tab.

  • Visa conditions for family

    Family members aged 18 years or over who are in Australia as a dependant on a student visa may only study for up to three months. If they wish to undertake a course of study that exceeds three months, they must apply for a student visa in their own right.

    School age children of student visa holders who join their parent(s) in Australia for more than three months must attend school; you must pay any education or tuition costs.

    Holders of an Australian Commonwealth Government Scholarship (e.g. AusAID, Defence, or IPRS Scholarship) or a Home Government Scholarship for Research Degrees are exempt from tuition fees for their dependent children at Government Schools. For information on how to arrange an exemption, please contact the ISC.

  • Work Rights and your visa

    You cannot work in Australia until you have received permission from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). If you are here on a student visa you will most likely have work rights already as part of the standard student visa grant. Please check your visa label or visa confirmation email. If you are unsure of your work rights status, please bring your passport into the ISC.

    Students who do not have work rights

    You can only apply for permission to work after you have commenced your program of study. If you wish to apply for work rights on your student visa, please visit the ISC.

    What is work?

    The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) defines work as ‘an activity that, in Australia, normally attracts remuneration’.

    For example: A student living with a home-stay family helps out in the family business, a fruit and vegetable shop. As shop assistants normally receive pay, this is considered work, even if the student does not get paid. Therefore, the student needs to have work rights on his/her visa.

    Voluntary, unpaid work is not defined as work or included in the maximum hours able to be worked each week if it is:

    • of benefit to the community
    • for a non-profit organisation
    • a designated volunteer position and would not be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident
    • genuinely voluntary (that is, no remuneration, either in cash or kind is received—board and lodging is acceptable).

    If you are unsure, please check with DIBP.

    Your employment

    The following information is a guide. It does not cover everything, but it does point you in the direction of other services and resources that can help.

    The Australian Government has made provision for international students to obtain work rights so that students can supplement their income. It is not intended that working be your sole source of financial support.

    Before you decide to participate in paid or voluntary work, consider the potential impact working may have on your academic performance.

    If you intend to work (paid or voluntary):

    1. Stay legal

    This is a guide only. For further information about work rights and your student visa you can visit the DIBP Office or visit the working while studying section of the DIBP website.

    • Obtain a visa with permission to work. If you do not have work rights please come to the ISC and we will give you the necessary paperwork and inform you of the process.
    • Don't believe anyone who tells you this is not required: you need a visa with work permission to work legally in Australia. Most people do not understand your particular circumstances as an international student.
    • Coursework students can only work a maximum of 40 hours in any given fortnight (i.e. any 2 week period) while your course is in session.
    • In order to ensure you do not exceed the hours of work you are allowed, it is easier to work no more than 20 hours in any given week.
    • 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.
    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

    Research students have different work rights to coursework students. If you are here studying a research program (i.e. Ph D or Masters by Research), you should refer to the DIBP website for information regarding your eligibility to work.

    2. Understand your rights and responsibilities as an employee

    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.

    • You will need to obtain a tax file number and provide this to your employer.
    • There are State and Federal awards to protect workers’ entitlements. Most pay rates and working conditions are set down in these awards.
    • Some workplaces may have a formal agreement, referred to as a Workplace Agreement, which sets down specific conditions for that workplace that may replace some of the award conditions.
    • The South Australian state system has two types of awards:
      − industry awards covering most employees in a particular industry (e.g. the motel industry)
      − awards covering people to do specific types of work, such as particular professions or trades (e.g. teachers)
    • SafeWork SA provides information and advice on wages and conditions of employment in South Australia for both State and Federal systems. They have a website to help you understand your rights and responsibilities, or you can telephone the SafeWork SA Help Centre on 1300 365 255.

    Before you start work it is wise to find out from your employer:

    • which award (if any) and/or agreement you are covered by
    • your job classification and rate of pay
    • your employment status (e.g. casual, permanent, part-time, or contract etc.)
    • your hours of work, including any regular overtime and shift work
    • details of any probationary period
    • what are your/the employer’s superannuation contributions and benefits
    • if initial training is required, the form it will take, when it will be completed and what you are expected to be able to do afterwards

    Remember that work should not interfere with your studies. Always consider your capacity to work before taking a job!

  • Change of Immigration Status

    Permanent Residency (PR)

    All enquiries and applications for Australian Permanent Residency (PR) must be made directly to DIBP.

    If you receive Australian Permanent Residency (or some other immigration status that entitles you to the educational benefits of PR) during your time at the University of Adelaide, you may be eligible to change to an Australian fee-based enrolment (AFBE) or apply for a Commonwealth Supported place. For further information on Commonwealth Supported places please visit the Commonwealth Government website.

    You need to be aware that both AFBE and Commonwealth Supported places are subject to quotas, and as such there may not be a place ready for you should you wish to change your place.

    The Australian resident quotas for Medicine (MBBS program), for example, are strictly controlled and competition for places is extremely high. Automatic transfer from an international to an Australian fee-based enrolment cannot be guaranteed. For further information please contact the Faculty of Health Sciences.

    If you have received Australian Permanent Residency, you should:

    1. Make sure that you have been granted full PR and not Temporary Residency. If you are not sure or have any questions, talk to a Compliance Officer at the International Student Centre staff. Bring your passport.
    2. Talk to your department or school about any restrictions that may affect you changing to an Australian fee-based enrolment or Commonwealth Supported place, such as quotas.
    3. Take evidence of your immigration status to the Ask Adelaide Service Area, Level 3 of Hub Central - staff will arrange for the Student Finance Office to amend your records to reflect your new migration status and can provide you with information on a full fee paying place or how to apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place.
    4. If you are successful in changing to an AFBE place, you need to notify the Student Finance Office (SFO) so that your tuition fees can be adjusted.

    Please note that you must inform the University of your change of migration status before your course census dates in order to qualify for an Australian fee based enrolment. The census dates for semester-based programs are 31 March for Semester 1, and 31 August for Semester 2. Further information about census dates is available at

  • Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act

    The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and its National Code of Practice regulate the delivery of education and training services to protect and enhance Australia's international reputation and provide consumer protection for international students.

    The University takes its ESOS obligations seriously and strives to deliver educational services of the highest academic standard, and to promote them in the most ethical manner possible. It monitors students' compliance with their visa conditions and reports to the Federal government wherever a student breaches their obligations.

    For further information for students who are under 18 and your obligations as a student, visit the International Students section of the University ESOS web. We have also put together a thorough frequently asked questions section that clearly describes your obligations with clear examples.


International Student Support (Kenneth Wills Building)

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