Student visa

If you are coming to Armidale or Sydney to study on campus, you need a student visa to enable your entry to Australia.

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs handles visa applications and fees.

Eligibility and other requirements vary depending on what country you are coming from and what you are studying.

Most people need an offer of entry from UNE before they can apply for a student visa. However, it can take some time for the Department to process your visa application. So, prepare everything you need and start the process as soon as possible.

Note, if you are studying by distance from your home country, you don't need a student visa.

Visa conditions

International students in Australia must observe certain conditions such as holding current Overseas Student Health Cover.

It's important that you understand what your visa entitles you to do, and what you aren't permitted to do. In some circumstances, the university must report breaches of student visa conditions to the Department of Home Affairs.

All international students should take the time to look at the Department of Home Affairs website. This site provides detailed information on the conditions of student visas, as well as forms and other information.

Bringing family to Australia on a visa

Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants if you are:

  • Eligible for Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP)
  • Assessment level 1 or 2
  • Assessment level 3 or 4 and your course is longer than 12 months. If the duration of your course is less than 52 weeks, your family members can go with you to Australia if:
    • Your nominated course (if you are applying for another student visa) or your current course (if you are a student visa holder) is the same course as, or a continuation of, the course that was associated with your previous student visa and the total duration of the course or courses as registered on CRICOS is 52 weeks or more, or
    • You have been in Australia lawfully for 12 months or more.

    For more information, visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.

Changing courses or education suppliers

Changing courses

If you want to change to a new course at the same level of qualification, you only need to apply for a new visa if your current visa is about to expire.

Changing the level of qualification

If you want to change your level of qualification, you need to apply for a new student visa because your visa subclass will change. Example: You want to change from a Master of Commerce to a PhD.

Changing education provider

If you want to change provider before completing the first six months of your main course of study, you must contact UNE for permission. You need a letter of offer from the new provider to apply for a letter of release from UNE.

If you change your education provider at any time, you must contact the Department of Home Affairs and provide a Confirmation of Enrolment from your new education provider.

Changing courses and/or education provider if you are eligible for streamlined visa processing

Your eligibility for streamlined visa processing may be affected if you change your course(s) of study before a decision had been made on your visa application.

Work conditions for student visa holders

You can't work until you have started your course in Australia. Once your course has begun, you can work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session. You may also work unlimited hours when your course isn't in session.

  • Work that is a formal registered part of your course isn't included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight.
  • If you are doing voluntary, unpaid work, it isn't included in the limit of 40 hours per fortnight if it:
    • benefits the community
    • is for a non-profit organisation
    • would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it is a designated volunteer position), and
    • is genuinely voluntary (that is, you receive no payment, either in cash or kind - except board and lodging if applicable).
  • If you are a research student and you have commenced your masters by research or PhD in Australia, there's no limit to the number of hours you may work.
  • You can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake before starting your masters by research or PhD.

Dependent family members

  • Must not start work until the primary visa holder has started the course in Australia
  • Can work up to 40 hours per fortnight at all times unless the primary visa holder has commenced a course towards a masters or doctoral degree. In this case, there's no limit to the number of hours a dependent family member may work.

The Australian Government Department of Home Affairs consider your course to be 'in-session':

  • for the duration of the advertised trimesters, including exam periods
  • if you have completed your studies and your Confirmation of Enrolment is still valid (except masters by research or PhD students who have submitted their thesis for marking)
  • when you are undertaking another course, during a break from your main course and points from that course will be credited to your main course.
Visa fees and charges

For a full list of visa fees, including how to pay, visit the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.

Students under 18 years of age

Australian Law requires international students under 18 years of age to appoint a guardian while they are in Australia. You must appoint a guardian before receiving your Student Visa. UNE does not accept students under 18 years of age unless they provide evidence of acceptable guardianship when they complete and return their acceptance documents.

Further information regarding the visa processing requirements for students under 18 is located on the Department of Home Affairs website.