Visa FAQs

You are responsible to ensure that you have a valid visa at all times. The following information is very important and all international students should ensure that they understand their visa.

Will my visa be affected if I change my course?

Students who are considering changing their course must be aware of their visa conditions and ensure that they continue to meet the conditions of their student visa. Changing your course MAY have an effect on your student visa.

Students who wish to change to a new course and who were granted a visa under the Streamlined Visa Processing (SVP) arrangements MUST maintain enrolment in an SVP eligible course (or package of courses) with an education provider that is an SVP eligible provider.

If you enrol in a course (or package of courses) that is NOT eligible for SVP, you no longer meet the criteria for which your visa was granted and your visa may be cancelled.

For more detailed information, please read the information of the DIBP website about changing courses

It is also important to note condition 8516 of your student visa, which states:

"You must continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of your student visa. This means, for example, that your main course of study MUST continue to be a course in the education sector that matches your student visa."

If you intend to transfer form a course in (for example) visa subclass 573 to a course in visa subclass 572, you will need to apply for a new visa and it may not be approved.

Please ensure that you are aware of your visa conditions.

Can I renew my student visa to attend my graduation ceremony?

A student visa can only be renewed if you are continuing to study.

Once you complete your course, you can not get a CoE to extend your student visa unless you intend to study another course.

In most cases, your graduation ceremony will be after your student visa expires. In these situations, you have a number of choices. These are:

  1. You can apply for a tourist visa that allows you to remain in Australia to attend your graduation ceremony. It is important to note that you are not permitted to work on a tourist visa.
  2. If you apply for another substantive visa (such as permanent or temporary residence or another student visa if you intend to study another course), you can remain in Australia if that visa is granted.
  3. You can return to your country before your student visa expires and apply to return to Australia on a tourist visa in time to attend your graduation ceremony.

You can also choose to graduate in absentia which means that you can graduate without attending a ceremony. In this case, your testamur will be mailed to you. Details about how to graduate in absentia can be found on the Graduation FAQ page.

Can I stay in Australia if I am waiting to do a deferred exam in my final trimester?

International students who have applied for special consideration and been granted a deferred exam in their final trimester may not be eligible to remain in Australia to sit that exam if they are not enrolled in a compulsory study period. Deferred exams are usually sat during the examination period of the next active study period.

Condition 8202 of your student visa requires that you remain enrolled in a registered course at all times while you are on a student visa. If you are granted a deferred exam in your final trimester and have no other units to complete, you will not be enrolled in the next active study period.

You can not stay in Australia if you are not enrolled in a compulsory study period (T1 or T2). So if, for example, your final trimester is T3 and you apply for special consideration and are granted a deferred exam, you will not be will not be allowed to stay in Australia until the end of T1 to sit your exams if you are not enrolled.

If your final trimester is T2 and you apply for special consideration and are granted a deferred exam, you will be allowed to stay in Australia over T3 even if you are not enrolled as T3 is not a compulsory study period.

If you have any questions about this, please contact a Compliance Officer for assistance.

Can I work full time in Trimester 3?

International students (except international HDR students – please see note at the bottom of this section) can work unrestricted hours in trimester 3 as long as they are not enrolled in any units (this includes online units studied in Australia).

Visa condition 8105 advises that an international student cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when their course is in session (other than work which has been registered as part of the course). Students cannot undertake any work until they have commenced their course in Australia. No work limits apply during recognised periods of vacation offered by your education provider.

Please note that your course is considered to be "in session" in any given trimester from the first day of the trimester until the last day of the examination period (not your last exam, but the final day of the examination period). Your course is not "in session" during the intra-trimester break, so you can work unrestricted hours during this break.

As Trimester 3 is not a compulsory study period, you can work unrestricted hours if you are not enrolled in T3. However, if you enrol in even one unit in T3 - even if it is an online unit - your course will be considered to be "in session" and you will be restricted to 40 hours of work per fortnight.

A fortnight means any period of 14 days commencing on a Monday and ending at the end of the second following Sunday.

So, if you want to work full time in Trimester 3, you should not enrol in any units.

HDR students on a subclass 574 visa, have no work limits applying once they have commenced their Masters by research or Doctorate course in Australia.

Do I have to study full time?

International students are no longer required by the National Code to be enrolled in a full time study load in each compulsory study period (HDR students, please see note at the bottom of this section.) However, it is important to note the following:

Standard 9 of The National Code requires that international students study at least one located (on campus) unit in each compulsory study period, that they do not study more than 25% of their total course online or by distance education and that they complete their course within the duration specified on their CoE. This means that if you have a CoE for 3 years, you should complete your course within that time unless there are compelling or compassionate reasons that prevent you from doing so (such as a medical condition that prevents you from studying full time or where a pre-requisite unit was not offered in a particular trimester and this meant that your unit offerings were limited as a result), or where the University has implemented an intervention strategy for students at risk or where you have been granted an approved intermission.

If you have been granted credit for prior learning (CPL), the duration of your CoE will be adjusted accordingly. For example, if you were granted 8 credit points of CPL into a 24 credit point bachelor degree before you applied for your visa, your CoE would have been issued for 2 years instead of 3. This is because the CPL you have been granted reduces the time it will take for you to complete your course.

If your CPL is granted after you apply for your visa, the Deakin International Quality and Compliance team is required to cancel your existing CoE and issue a new CoE with an amended duration as required under Standard 12 of the National Code. Information about your CPL and your new expected completion date will be provided to us by your Faculty Course Advisers.

In order to complete your course within the duration specified on your CoE, you would normally be expected to study a full time load in each compulsory study period or make up the time in Trimester 3.  In most situations, it is expected that a student will complete at least 8 credit points in any academic year.

If the granting of CPL or non-availability of compulsory or pre-requisite units affects your ability to undertake a full time load in a compulsory study period, you are not required to study a full time load.

Students who deliberately under-enrol without Faculty approval and who do not complete their course within the duration specified on their CoE may not be eligible for a CoE extension and will be required to complete their course as an off campus student from their home country. Please refer to COE FAQs for further information about your eligibility for a CoE.

Students should always seek advice from a Faculty Course Adviser for an course and enrolment related matters.

Speak to a Compliance Officer in the drop-in centre if you have any questions about this, or other, visa related advice.

HDR Students: International HDR students who are studying on campus must be enrolled full-time.

How do I renew my student visa?

Please see "How do I renew my visa?" for answers to this question.

When should I start to apply for a visa renewal?

You should start to apply for a visa renewal between 4 - 6 weeks before your current student visa expires. It may take this long to get all of the documents you need together. Getting an appointment for a visa medical may take some weeks, especially at busy times, so it is best to start applying early.

It is essential that you apply for your new visa BEFORE your current visa expires. If your student visa expires and you have not applied for a new one, you may be required to leave Australia.

Can I apply for a bridging visa?

Generally, no. A student is placed on a bridging visa to keep them lawful in Australia.

The only bridging visa that a student can apply for is a Bridging B visa, which is the same as a bridging A visa but which allows the student permission to travel and re-entry to Australia.

Can I leave Australia if I am on a Bridging A visa?

A student who has been granted a bridging A visa pending a decision on another visa application can leave Australia at any time. However, a Bridging A visa does not have re-entry rights. A student who leaves Australia on a Bridging A visa will not be able to re-enter the country until a decision on their substantive visa has been made. A student who has been granted a Bridging A visa and who is required to leave Australia for compelling reasons should apply for a Bridging B visa, which allows them re-entry to Australia.

What is streamlined visa processing (SVP)?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the department) will assess student visa applicants who lodge their applications on or after 24 March 2012, with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from a participating university in Australia at Bachelor, Masters or Doctoral degree level as though they were a lower migration risk (similar to the current Assessment Level 1), regardless of their country of origin.

Which university applicants are eligible for streamlined processing?

Eligible applicants are those enrolled in:

  • Bachelor degrees
  • 2 plus 2 (or 3 plus 1) arrangements with partner universities
  • Masters degrees by coursework
  • Masters degrees by research
  • Doctoral degrees
  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and/or foundation and other preparatory courses, including Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, which are explicitly packaged with an eligible university course at the time when the offer of enrolment is made
  • semester or year long non-award courses at a university in Australia as part of their home university's degree course and/or as part of an agreed student exchange between universities.

Which university applicants are not eligible for streamlined processing?

Streamlined processing arrangements are not available for students enrolled in:

  • short courses
  • Associate degrees
  • Graduate diplomas
  • Graduate certificates
  • Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas
  • non-award courses (except as mentioned above)
  • courses below Bachelor level delivered by universities which are dual sector (VET and university).

How do the streamlined visa processing arrangements work?

Students with a CoE for an eligible course in a participating university in Australia will generally have reduced evidentiary requirements when applying for a student visa, regardless of their country of origin, as they would be assessed as though they were a lower migration risk (similar to the current Assessment Level 1).

The students still have to meet requirements in regard to English-language proficiency and financial capacity and will have to satisfy the genuine temporary entrant requirement, as do Assessment Level 1 applicants. However, they will not have the same documentary burdens that currently exist under the higher Assessment levels.
In addition, all applicants will still be subject to basic requirements such as having health insurance and not being a security or health risk. The department also reserves the right to look more closely at applications that pose a particular concern.

What are visa assessment levels?

Currently, assessment levels serve to align student visa requirements to the immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country studying in a particular education sector. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and Assessment Level 5 the highest. The higher the assessment level, the greater the evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their claims for the grant of a student visa.
Further information about student visa assessment levels can be found on the department's website.

See: Assessment Levels

What happens to my visa if I apply for intermission?

Standard 13 of the National Code requires that a provider can only defer or temporarily suspend (intermit) the enrolment of an international student on the grounds of compassionate or compelling circumstances or misbehaviour by the student.

When an intermission is processed and final approval has been granted by an International Student Adviser, the student's CoE will be cancelled for the current enrolment period and a new CoE issued for the trimester in which the student intends to return to study. In most cases, an intermission can only be granted for one trimester, however, is some circumstances, an intermission can be approved for up to one academic year.

It should be noted that if a student is on intermission for more than 6 months, the visa will usually be cancelled by DIBP and the student will be required to apply for a new visa before returning to Australia.

It is also important to note that an international student who is on a period of intermission is expected to depart Australia within 28 days of their CoE being reported on. If the student is unable to depart Australia (such is where the student may be in the advanced stages of pregnancy or have a medical condition that prevents them from travelling) they must seek permission from DIBP by going personally to DIBP Compliance (Level 15, 1 Casselden Place, Melbourne) to seek permission to remain in Australia. It is NOT the responsibility of the University to ensure that the student departs Australia.

The process for an international student to apply for intermission can be found on the "How do I apply for intermission?" page.

Am I an international student if I'm not on a student visa?

This depends on the type of visa you have.

If you have become a permanent resident of Australia, you are no longer considered an international student. If you have temporary residence in Australia, you will be considered an international student for fee purposes but you are not subject to the visa conditions of a student visa holder and can study part time.

If you are unsure of your status, please contact a Compliance Officer for information.

What will happen to my visa if I don't pay my fees on time?

The University is required to report all students on a student visa who fail to pay their fees and whose enrolment is terminated by the University.

If you are unable to pay your fees on time, it is very important that you contact either an International Student Adviser or the Fees Office for advice and assistance. The Fees Office may be able to grant you an extension of time to pay fees or put you on a payment plan. It is essential that you pay something to show that you are serious about your fees.

If you fail to make contact with the University and your enrolment is cancelled, your CoE will be cancelled by the Deakin International Quality and Compliance team and this may result in cancellation of your student visa.

If you are experiencing financial problems, you should speak to someone before your enrolment is cancelled.

When will my CoE be cancelled if my enrolment is terminated for non-payment of fees?

The University will send you a number of warnings if you have not paid your fees. The final warning will advise you of the date your enrolment will be terminated if you fail to pay your fees by that date.

Terminations for non-payment of fees always happen on a Tuesday. Under current legislation, the University is required to report students whose enrolment has been terminated within 5 working days. If your enrolment is terminated for non-payment of fees, your CoE will be cancelled on the following Monday if you have not paid your fees by then.

How long can I stay in Australia after I complete my course?

If you complete your course at the time specified in your CoE, you can remain in Australia until your student visa expires.

If you complete your course early because you have fast tracked your studies, the Deakin International Quality and Compliance Team will be required to cancel your CoE as soon as your course status changes to "completed". In this case, you are expected to either leave Australia within28 days of the date your CoE is cancelled (which will be the day after your course status changes to "completed") or contact DIBP to make arrangements for a new visa.

Do I qualify for the post-student work visa (subclass 485 - post-study work stream)?

You can apply for the post-study work stream if you:

  • applied for, and were granted, your first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011
  • have completed an eligible qualification from an Australian educational institution
  • meet the two year Australian study requirement in the past six months.

To be eligible to apply for this visa, you must have completed one of the following eligible courses:

  • bachelor degree
  • bachelor degree with honours
  • masters by coursework degree
  • masters (extended) degree
  • masters by research degree
  • doctoral degree.

You must also meet the 2 year study requirement, which means that you must have completed your eligible degree in no less than 92 weeks.

Please check the DIBP site for more information about this visa.

Does a student meet the 2 year study requirement for the post-study work visa if they have done the PQP plus a 1.5 year Master degree?

No. The PQP is registered as non AQF and as such, can not count towards a student's eligibility to meet the 2 year study requirement. The 6 months a student spends studying the PQP is not counted in the calculation of the 2 year study requirement.

To meet this requirement, an international student would need to study a 2 year Master degree in a minimum of 92 weeks.

Does a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma count towards eligibility for the 2 year study requirement for the post-study work visa?

Generally no.

It is important to note that a Grad Cert/Grad Dip can NOT count towards the 2 year rule unless a student articulates from a Grad Cert/Grad Dip into a Master degree in the same field of study.

For example, a student who studies a Graduate Diploma in Education and then goes on to Study a Master of Teaching, would meet the requirements, but a student who studied a Graduate Diploma in Education and then went on to study a Master of Commerce would NOT meet the requirement as the Graduate Diploma would not count in this case because it is considered a stand-alone degree because the student is not articulating into an associated course.

Similarly, a student could not study a bachelor degree of 1.5 years (after credit) and then do a Grad Cert.


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