Visa Information

Whilst living in Australia it is crucial that you always have a valid student visa. If you wish to extend your study you will need to be especially careful to make sure you continue to meet visa requirements. You must take responsibility for your own visa.

Know your student visa conditions

As an international student on a student visa, you have a number of visa conditions you must meet:

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your passport and student visa are current, and that you apply for any renewal before it expires.
  • You must ensure that you are enrolled in at least one internal (face to face) course in each compulsory study period unless you are completing your last course in your program and it is only available in an external/online mode.
  • You must ensure that any external (for example, online or distance) courses you undertake do not exceed one third (33%) of your total program externally (includes online). 
  • You cannot have more than a two-calendar-month gap between periods of enrolment, with the exception of the end of year break.
  • You are required to complete your program within the duration specified on you Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). This generally requires you to enrol in a full-time load per semester.
  • Your CoE may ONLY be extended in compassionate or compelling circumstances, for example if you have had an approved leave of absence or if it is part of an academic intervention strategy. You must have the required documentation to support your claims.
  • If you wish to vary your enrolment, you MUST first discuss your situation with your Program Director.

You must also ensure that you:

  • Attend classes
  • Demonstrate satisfactory performance
  • Enrol in accordance with your study plan
  • Do not work more than 40 hours per fortnight during teaching periods
  • Do not work in Australia before your program commences
  • Have current Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the entire length of your student visa
  • Inform the University of any change to your address or telephone contact details (your home country details should also be noted) within seven days.

This list of conditions is not exhaustive. More information about visa requirements can be found at the Department of Home Affairs (HA).

Extending your visa

If you wish to extend your visa, make sure you begin the process well before your visa expires. You should consult with a Student Adviser International (by booking an appointment here or contacting Campus Central) and/or the Department of Home Affairs (HA) to ensure you understand the process of extending your visa.

As part of the visa renewal process, you will need to fill out a form to request a Confirmation of Enrolment. Remember, your CoE may only be extended in compassionate or compelling circumstances. The form will need to be approved/signed by your Program Director and accompanied with a new study plan approved by your program director. It must then be lodged at Campus Central and can take up to a week to process - so make sure you allow enough time before your visa expires. See more detail below in Frequently Asked Questions.

When ready, the CoE will be emailed to your student email account. You can then use it to apply for an extension of your student visa through the Department of Home Affairs (HA).

You must ensure that you are enrolled in at least one internal course in each compulsory study period and you must not undertake more than 33% of your total program externally (includes online).


Frequently Asked Questions

In order to complete your program within the duration of your CoE, you should maintain full-time enrolment (usually 4 courses or 18 units per half year) unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so and this is reflected in your Study Plan.

If you undertake less than a full-time load without University approval, you will not be permitted to extend your CoE (Enrolment policy - Clause 5 and 7). Australian law requires that an extension be granted only where there are compassionate or compelling circumstances. (These are generally circumstances beyond your control and which have an impact on your academic progress or well-being). Documentary evidence (eg. medical certificate) must support any application for an extension CoE.

For further information, contact Campus Central.

Student visa regulations require that you maintain satisfactory attendance and satisfactory academic progress. The University will monitor your academic performance in accordance with the Academic Review Policy. The University's Academic Review Policy can be found in the Assessment Policies and Procedures Manual - refer to sections 10.1 to 10.5.

You can enrol in an external course (ie, online or by distance/correspondence) only if you are enrolled in at least one course in an internal mode (face to face) in a study period unless you are completing your last course in your program and it is only available in an external/online mode.

However you must not enrol in more than one third 33% of your program in an external mode over the duration of your entire program. 

All international students are eligible to work subject to the following conditions:

  • Do not work in Australia before your program commences
  • Do not work for more than 40 hours per fortnight when your program is in session (during program breaks you may work full-time)

See Working in Australia.

Lodge a Change of Address form within 7 days of the change of the address with Campus Central on your campus or change your address via myUniSA. It is very important that you do this as soon as possible as it is a condition of your student visa to keep your residential address and other contact details up to date.

Visa conditions require that International Students under 18 years of age have their accommodation and welfare arrangements approved by the University, unless they are living with an adult family member. The University will also be monitoring your academic progress.

Contact a Student Adviser International on your campus for approval of any changes to your accommodation and welfare arrangements. Email internationalsupport@unisa.edu.au or book an appointment online.

Your student visa may be cancelled due to non-compliance with your student visa conditions. If your student visa is cancelled, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) may impose a three-year exclusion period on future visa applications to Australia such as a tourist visa, or a temporary or permanent residency visa.

If you fail to adhere to the conditions of your current student visa, you may have difficulty returning to Australia at a later date to complete your study.

You may change your program with the approval of the Program Directors concerned, usually after you have completed at least 6 months of your program.

  • If you are changing programs within an Academic Unit, seek approval from your current Program Director and the Program Director of your newly proposed program.
  • If you wish to change to a program in another Academic Unit, you will need to complete a new application and lodge it at Campus Central. It is advisable to first seek advice from the relevant Program Director. You may also wish to speak to Campus Central for further advice.

If you wish to change your program of study, it is your responsibility to check the fees that will be charged for your new program. You will need to pay fees that are applicable to the new program which may be more expensive than your first program.

Australian law requires the University to report all of the changes to your enrolment to the Department of Home Affairs (HA). This will happen once you are accepted into a new program.

If you are changing your program to a lower level (e.g. Masters to Bachelors) you will need to apply for a new Student Visa. Please see the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) website for more details.

If you require further information, please contact Campus Central.

If you wish to transfer to another institution within the first 6 months of your study at UniSA you must apply for a Release from UniSA International using the Request Release form.

Your Request Release does not guarantee that UniSA will release you from your program of study if you have not completed the first 6 months of study at UniSA. If you have completed 6 months of study at UniSA, you are entitled to transfer to another institution but should first withdraw from your UniSA program using the Withdrawal from Program form.

If you wish to change your level of qualification (eg, Masters to Bachelor), you may need to apply for a new student visa. Please see the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) for more details.

If you require further information, please contact Campus Central.

If you do not complete your program within the duration of your current student visa, you will need to apply for a new student visa before your current one expires.

Follow these steps to apply for a new student visa:

  • Apply for a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) document. Please note that a new CoE can only be granted in special circumstances - please refer to the 'How do I extend my Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)' FAQ. Make sure you apply for your new CoE early and before your current visa expires. Your new CoE will be sent to your student email account.
  • Extend your Overseas Student Health cover (OSHC) for the duration of your new visa.
  • Apply for a new Student Visa by applying online with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

It is important that you do not let your visa expire! You can make an appointment with a Student Adviser International through Campus Central for assistance with the Student Visa application process.

 

The Department of Home Affairs may waive the visa application fee of students who held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their program within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19.

To apply for a student visa application fee waiver you will need to apply to the University to complete and sign a 1545 form.

The Department of Home Affairs have set strict eligibility criteria for the 1545 form and will only accept applications from students who: 

  • deferred their study as they were unable to enter Australia due to travel restrictions
  • were forced to reduce to a part-time study load
  • were unable to complete their work-based training and/or placements.

The Department of Home Affairs will NOT accept 1545 forms for a new student visa due to ordinary reasons, including students who:

  • deferred their course or intake for personal reasons
  • voluntarily reduced their study load (even if the University approved this reduced load)
  • have failed a course or a unit of study.

The University must assess applicants strictly against the above eligibility criteria set by the Department of Home Affairs. If you believe you qualify, please complete the questionnaire to apply for a 1545 form. If you do not meet the Department of Home Affairs’ above criteria the University will not be able to complete and sign the 1545 form.

If you are provided with a signed 1545 form you will need to provide this and any supporting evidence with your student visa application.  Please follow the How to apply for a nil VAC Student Visa information sheet when applying for your new student visa.

Further information can be found on the Department of Home Affairs’ webpage.

 

You must complete your program of study within the length of time specified on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). The University will be able to extend your CoE document ONLY in limited circumstances, such as illness or where a student has remained fully enrolled but has not successfully completed all courses.

To apply for a new CoE, complete a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) request form available online or from Campus Central. Any CoE Request form must be supported by documentary evidence (eg. medical certificate from your doctor) and must also be approved by your Program Director. You will also require a new Study Plan which you must organise with your Program Director. The CoE Request form requires your Program Director's approval and signature.

When the form is complete you must lodge it at Campus Central, together with your new Study Plan. 

Your health cover should also be extended for the length of your expected visa (in most cases 15th March or 30th September). See more information about extending your Overseas student Health Cover.

For more information about your student visa responsibilities, please book an appointment online with a Student Adviser (International) or through Campus Central on your home campus.

The Australian Government wants overseas students in Australia to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding place to study. Australia's laws promote quality education and consumer protection for overseas students. These laws are known as the ESOS framework and include the Education for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code 2018.

Further information can be found in the International Student Fact SheetResearch degree students can access a list of FAQs about student visa holders.

Please also visit Study in Australia.

If you need to take a Leave of Absence (LoA) from your studies you should speak first with a Student Adviser (International) as your leave might impact your current student visa arrangements. Download the form here.

International students may take a leave of Absence for up to six months, only on the grounds of ‘compassionate or compelling circumstances’ supported by documentary evidence. In some cases LoA can be extended beyond six months.

Compassionate or compelling circumstances are situations beyond the control of a student which have an impact on the student’s academic progress or wellbeing. Some instances:

  • Serious illness or injury
  • Bereavement of close family members
  • Major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country which has impacted on the student’s studies and require emergency travel
  • UniSA is unable to offer a prerequisite course

If your request for LoA is approved you will need to apply for a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)as your present one will be cancelled and you will not be able to enter Australia without an active CoE.

A LoA application cannot be approved without the completion of the new CoE, an updated study plan and supporting documentary evidence.

 Need some help?

 Contact a Student Adviser (International)

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