Student visa conditions

The information contained in this page is to help you understand and comply with your student visa conditions. It is not a complete list and your visa conditions may vary. For a full list of student visa conditions go to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's (DIBP's) website or check your visa grant notification.

What are visa conditions?

Visa conditions are the rules of your visa that are set by the Australian Government. It is important that you understand your visa conditions, as DIBP may cancel your visa if you breach them.


Complete your program within the expected duration

It is a condition of your student visa to complete your program within the expected duration. The expected duration is based on a full time study load of 18 units per semester and is reflected on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) document. You will put yourself at risk of not completing your study by the end date on your CoE if you do not study in accordance with your generic program plan or your personalised study plan.

Extending your program duration

If you need additional time to complete your degree you will need to extend your CoE and apply for a new student visa. Applications to extend a CoE are only approved in very limited circumstances, such as:

  • Medical grounds (evidence required)
  • Failed final course(s) or failed occasional courses throughout the program
  • Granted a reduced study load due to an intervention strategy
  • Approved leave of absence
  • Prerequisite course(s) not available

CoE extension will not be approved if you choose to not enrol in accordance with your generic program plan or your personalised study plan.

To apply to extend your CoE you will need to fill out a CoE Request form and provide it to your Program Director for assessment.


Maintain enrolment

To satisfy your visa condition of maintaining enrolment you need to enrol in accordance with your generic program plan or your personalised study plan (generally a full time study load of 18 units per semester). You are required to be enrolled in at least one internal (face to face) course per compulsory study period.

If you fail to maintain enrolment the University is required to report you to DIBP which will cancel your CoE and may affect (i.e. cancel) your student visa.

If you are unsure about your enrolment you can contact your Program Director. If you need assistance enrolling you can contact Campus Central.


Meet satisfactory academic progress

To satisfy your student visa conditions you must maintain satisfactory course progress. 

The University reviews the academic progress of students and identifies students at risk of making unsatisfactory academic progress.

If you fail to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements the University will be required to report you to DIBP which will cancel your CoE and may affect (i.e. cancel) your student visa.

The University provides study support services to assist you with your studies


Notify change of address and contact details

To ensure you receive important information from the DIBP and to satisfy your student visa conditions, you must notify the University within 7 days:

  • of your new address when you first arrive in Australia
  • if you change your address at any time during your enrolment
  • of any new contact details, including emergency contacts details

If you do not update your address details and there is a problem with your visa, you will not receive communication sent by the DIBP and your visa may be cancelled.

Visit the changing your address webpage or contact Campus Central if you require assistance.


Changing to another education provider

If your student visa was obtained for study at the University of South Australia and you wish to study at another education provider, you need to contact an International Student Officer and fill out the appropriate form:

  • If you have completed less than six calendar months of studies in your program at the University you need to lodge an Application for Release Letter.
  • If you have completed more than six calendar months of studies in your program at the University you need to lodge a Withdrawal from Program form.

If you have a package offer, the six calendar months of study is calculated only on study completed at the University. You need to apply for a release letter from both providers.

If your application for release or withdrawal is approved, the University will inform the DIBP that you have transferred your studies. If you are transferring to a lower level (i.e. Master to Bachelor) you may need to apply for a new student visa.


Working while studying

Student visa holders are able to work 40 hours per fortnight (two weeks) while their program is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled breaks.

The opportunity to work part-time allows you to earn spending money and meet more people; however you should not rely on these earnings to pay fees or other living expenses.

Your dependants are allowed to work 40 hours per fortnight once you have commenced you program.

DIBP randomly checks workplaces to make sure that students are not exceeding the permitted hours and employers are legally required to provide information to DIBP.

You need to obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) in order to work in Australia.


Higher Degree Research (HDR) students

Postgraduate Research visa (574) holders can work unlimited hours once their program has commenced. However, the University's Research Degrees Committee recommends that full-time research degree students undertake paid employment for no more than 8 hours per week or for a total of the equivalent of 8 hours per week over a twelve month period. The hours of employment include marking and preparation associated with part-time teaching duties.

If you are planning to work while studying, please note the following:

  • Research degree students will require the approval of the University through their supervisor and, where hours exceed the recommended 8 hours, approval must also be provided by the relevant Dean Research. HDR students shall notify the Graduate Research Centre (GRC) of any work undertaken and any change in employment details.
  • Employment cannot be grounds for an extension to scholarship or application to go overtime.
  • The University may not require HDR students to undertake employment at the University.

Family members of HDR students who have commenced their program are permitted to work unlimited hours.


Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia.

DIBP requires student visa holders and their dependants to have health insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia (visa length health cover).

Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students are not required to purchase OSHC as part of their visa requirements as they will be covered under their country’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.

The University can organise your OSHC on your behalf before you apply for your student visa and arrive in Australia. If you need to extend your stay you will need to arrange for additional cover before applying for a new student visa.  

You may wish to arrange private health insurance in addition to OSHC as not all health services are covered (i.e. dental or physiotherapy). It is advisable to take out travel insurance to cover such things as accidents, lost luggage or trip cancellation as OSHC does not cover travel to and from Australia.


External / Distance Study

You can study up to 25 per cent of your program by online and/or distance learning provided that in each compulsory study period you enrol in at least one internal (face to face) course.

If you exceed 25 per cent external enrolment in your program or do not enrol in at least one internal course per compulsory study period you will be in breach of your student visa conditions. The University is required to monitor a student’s enrolment and report breaches to the DIBP which may affect your student visa.


Leave of absence

You may experience an event during your studies that prevents you from studying for a period of time. If this occurs it is important that you contact an International Student Officer (ISO) at Campus Central who will provide advice and assistance.

In limited compassionate or compelling circumstances (i.e. serious illness or injury, bereavement of close family members or a traumatic experience), you may be able to suspend your studies (e.g. take a leave of absence) for a period of up to six months.


Withdrawal from program

You can withdraw or cancel your program by providing the University written notification.

If you are a new commencing student please contact us and quote your Applicant ID as well as the reasons for your request. For continuing students, please complete a Withdrawal Form and lodge it with Campus Central.


Areas of study and research

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