Changing courses

​If you hold a Student visa and are thinking about changing your course of study, ensure that you continue to meet all the conditions that apply to your student visa.

If you have not completed six months of your principal course (the main course of study you are undertaking) and you want to change your education provider, the ESOS National Code explains the circumstances in which this will be possible. Unless special circumstances apply, you usually need to have permission from your existing education provider to transfer to another education provider.

If you want to transfer, your education provider must assess or consider your request to transfer. All education providers have documented procedures about their transfer policy. Make sure you understand your education provider's transfer policy, and what your written agreement says you must do, before you attempt to enrol with a new education provider.

If your education provider does not give you permission to transfer to another education provider and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you should first use your education provider's internal appeal process. If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal the education provider's decision at an external complaints handling body such as the State or Territory Ombudsman or the Overseas Student Ombudsman.

Students holding a Student visa (subclass 500)

If you already have a student visa and want to change your main course of study to a lower Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level course or a non-AQF level course, you will generally need a new student visa. This requirement applies even if the course you change to is with the same education provider.

You will not need to apply for a new visa if you are changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF 9 course (Masters degree).

For example:

  • if you are studying a Bachelor of Science (Level 7) at a university and wish to transfer to a Diploma of Accounting (Level 5) at the same institution, you would need to apply for and be granted a new student visa.
  • if you are studying a Certificate IV (AQF level 4) and want to transfer to an ELICOS course (non-AQF course), you will need to apply for and be granted a new student visa.

If you are studying a non-AQF course and want to transfer to an AQF course, you would not need to apply for a new student visa.

Students holding a Student visa (subclass 570 – 576)

If you want to change to a course that is in a different education sector to your current course, for example, changing from an ELICOS course to a Diploma course, you need to apply for a new Student Visa (subclass 500) because your visa subclass will not be appropriate for your new course (or package of courses).

If you were granted your visa under streamlined visa processing (SVP), you must continue to satisfy the requirement for the grant of the visa. This means we may consider cancelling your visa if you seek to transfer to a different education provider who was not an eligible education provider (before 1 July 2016) if:

  • it is within the first 12 months of your visa being granted, or
  • you are not from a country that was Assessment Level 1 before 1 July 2016.

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