Individuals and Travellers

Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector visa (subclass 576)

Features

This visa allows you to stay in Australia to study full time.​

Requirements

You might be able to get this visa if you are an international student sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence.

About this visa

Note: If you intend to apply for a student visa on or after 1 July 2016, read: Changes to the student visa programme.

This visa is designed for international students who are sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence to study a full-time course of any type in Australia.

Who is this visa for?

This visa is for you if you want to do one of the following:

  • apply for your first student visa
  • apply for a subsequent student visa
  • apply to join a family member who is in Australia on a student visa.

This visa is designed for international students who are sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence to study a full-time course of any type in Australia.

How much will this visa cost?

There is an application charge for this visa. We do not usually refund the visa application charge, even if the visa application is refused or withdrawn.
See: Fees and Charges

What does the visa let me do?

With this visa:

  • you can study in Australia until the end of your course.
  • eligible dependant family members can accompany you to Australia.
  • when you have commenced your course of study in Australia, you can work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks.
  • your family members can work up to 40 hours per fortnight provided you have commenced your course of study in Australia.
  • your family members can work unlimited hours provided you have commenced a masters or doctorate course.
    Note: If you have been granted a Student visa before 26 April 2008 you and your dependent family members may need to apply separately for Permission to Work.
    See: How to Apply for Permission to Work
  • your partner can study in Australia for up to three months.
    Note: If your partner wants to study for more than three months they must apply for their own student visa. The application can be made in Australia.

What is your assessment level?

All students on a Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector student visa are assessment level 2.

How this visa works

Workers in Australia – including visa holders with permission to work – have rights under Australian workplace law.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay and Conditions Tool (PACT) provides information on pay rates, shift calculations, leave arrangements and notice and redundancy entitlements.

See also: Workplace rights for all visa holders working in Australia

Before you apply for this visa, you must have applied for and been accepted to study full-time at an educational institution in Australia.

Length of stay

This visa allows you to stay in Australia for the duration of your course. It permits multiple entries to Australia. Dependent family members who come with you to Australia are usually able to stay the same length of time as you, but they cannot stay once you have left the country.

Foreign Affairs/Defence students will generally be granted a visa in accordance with the date recommended by Foreign Affairs/Defence. If no date has been recommended by Foreign Affairs/Defence, the visa will be granted to one month after the course end date indicated on the Foreign Affairs/Defence letter of support.

Student visa definitions

The following terms are used for Student visas.
See: Student Visa Definitions

Eligibility

Student

You must meet specific requirements to be eligible for this visa.

Accepted in full-time study

You must be accepted for full-time study in a course of study or training to be eligible for this visa.

When you lodge your application you must provide a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence indicating their support of your study in Australia.

Genuine temporary entrant requirement

Your individual circumstances must demonstrate that you genuinely intend to stay in Australia temporarily.

The factors that are considered during assessment of the genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement include: your personal circumstances in your home country, your potential circumstances in Australia, the value of the course to your future, your immigration history, and any other matter that is relevant to your intention to remain in Australia temporarily. If you are a minor the intentions of your parent, legal guardian or spouse will also be considered.

The information provided in your application form and supporting documentation will be used to assess the GTE requirement. You may be requested to provide additional information in relation to the factors set out above.
See: Genuine Temporary Entrant – Frequently Asked Questions

Financial requirements

You may, in limited circumstances, be asked to show that you have extra funds for family members. This may happen if your scholarship is not enough to support the full living costs of your family members.

Acceptable sources of income

The money to support your family members must come from one or more acceptable sources.

Examples:

  • Money deposits held in a bank account by you or a person supporting you.
  • A loan from an approved financial institution.
  • A loan from your government.
  • Financial support from your education provider or another organisation.

Note: Non-cash assets such as property and shares are not acceptable evidence of income. However, non-cash assets may be liquidated or used as collateral on a loan.

If your family members decide not to come with you to Australia, you must prove that you have access to enough funds to support your family members remaining at home, taking into consideration the local standard of living.

If your family members later decide to join you in Australia, you must show that you have extra funds from an acceptable source to cover their living, tuition, school and travel costs in Australia.

Providing evidence of money deposits or loans

You may need to show evidence of how the money to support your family members was accumulated.

If your source of income is a money deposit held in a bank account, you must provide the following evidence:

  • pay slips
  • bank loan documents
  • interest from investments.

If your source of income is a loan, you must provide the following evidence:

  • a bank statement showing the amount of available credit
  • a statement from the holder of the loan that its purpose is to support your studies.

Note: If your source of income is a home loan with a redraw facility from an Australian financial institution, the funds from the redraw facility may be considered a loan. A home loan with a redraw facility from a non-Australian financial institution may be acceptable, but must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Genuine access to funds

The department must be satisfied that an applicant will have genuine access (after they have arrived in Australia) to the funds they claim to possess to cover the travel, tuition and living costs for themselves and their family members.

Health requirements

You must meet certain health requirements. The health examinations you need will depend on your personal circumstances, including your period of stay, country of citizenship, time spent in another country during the last five years and your intended activities in Australia. The results of your health examinations are generally valid for 12 months.

This applies to you and any dependent family members included in your application.

You are able to organise your health examinations upfront before lodging your visa application. You should not undertake your health examination more than six months before your course starts.

Health insurance

You do not need Overseas Student Health Cover if you provide a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence stating that you are an unaccompanied student sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence.

English language skills

Your education provider will advise you of the level of English you require and the evidence you must provide.
Note: If your education provider requires that you complete ELICOS (English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students), you may study a maximum of 30 weeks of ELICOS before starting your main course.

Academic record and history

If you are applying for your first student visa, your education provider will advise you of the academic qualifications you require and the evidence you must provide.

If you are applying for a subsequent student visa, you must provide the following:

  • academic transcripts and records of attendance to show that you satisfied the course requirements
  • a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence.

Character requirements

You must be of good character to enter Australia. The information you provide on the 'Character Declaration' section of your application will be used to assess your character.
See: Character and penal clearance requirements

Debts to the Australian Government

To enter Australia, you must:

  • have no outstanding debts to the Australian Government
    or
  • have arranged to repay any outstanding debts to the Australian Government.

Students under 18 years of age

There are some specific requirements for students under 18 years of age.

Parental permission

If you are under 18 years of age, you must have permission to study in Australia from all of your parents and/or anyone who can legally decide where you can live.

If any of these people cannot sign your student visa application on your behalf, they must sign one of the following:

Bringing a student guardian

You can also arrange to bring a relative to Australia as your guardian on a Student Guardian visa.

Australian Values Statement

If you are aged 18 years or over, you must declare that you will respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia. For this visa, the values statement is included in the general declaration section of the application form. When you sign the application form it means you will also be signing the values statement. You will not be required to have read the Life in Australia book, but may do so if you wish.

You are also encouraged to gain an understanding of Australia, its people and their way of life, before applying for this visa.
See: Australian Values - Overview

Family members

You must declare all family members on your application, even if they do not plan to travel with you to Australia. If you do not do this, your family members will not be eligible for the grant of student visas as your dependants to join you in Australia. An exception to this is if they became your family members after your student visa was granted and before a subsequent application is made.

You must also provide proof of your relationship to each family member such as officially issued birth and marriage certificates.

Your family members must meet the specific visa requirements to be eligible for this visa as student dependants.​

Genuine temporary entrant requirement

Your dependent family member's individual circumstances must demonstrate that your dependent family member genuinely intends to stay in Australia temporarily.

The factors that are considered during assessment of the genuine temporary entrant (GTE) requirement include:

  • your dependent family member's personal circumstances in your home country
  • your dependent family member's potential circumstances in Australia
  • your dependent family member's immigration history
  • any other matter that is relevant to your dependent family member's intention to remain in Australia temporarily.

If your dependent family member is a minor the intentions of their parent, legal guardian or spouse will also be considered.

The information provided in your application form and supporting documentation will be used to assess the GTE requirement. You may be requested to provide additional information in relation to the factors set out above.
See: Genuine Temporary Entrant – Frequently Asked Questions

Health requirements

Your dependent family members must meet certain health requirements and may need to undergo a health examination. The requirements vary based on:

  • length of stay in Australia
  • other health risks in home country or countries visited for more than three months within the last five years.

Note: Health examinations can be completed before you lodge your visa application, but no more than six months before your course starts.

Health insurance

Your family members must have health insurance while in Australia. You can include them in your Overseas Student Health Cover, which provides medical and hospital insurance.
See: Overseas Student Health Cover – Frequently Asked Questions

Proof of insurance: When you lodge your application, you must provide a receipt or other proof of your health insurance payment covering your family members.

Character requirements

Your family members must be of good character to enter Australia. The information provided on the Character Declaration section of your application, will be used to assess the character of your family members.
See: Character and penal clearance requirements

Australian Values Statement

All visa applicants aged 18 years or over, must declare that they will respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia. For applicants of this visa, the values statement is included in the general declaration section of the application form. By signing the form applicants will also be signing the values statement. Applicants for this visa will not be required to have read the Life in Australia book, but may do so if they want.

Visa applicants are also encouraged to gain an understanding of Australia, its people and their way of life, before applying for this visa.
See: Australian Values - Overview

Obligations

Student

You must uphold your visa conditions while studying and living in Australia or your visa may be cancelled and you may have to leave Australia.

Course enrolment and attendance

You must remain enrolled in a full-time registered course.

Academic results

You must have satisfactory academic results for each term or semester of your course. If your course is shorter than a term or semester, you must have satisfactory academic results for the duration of the course.

Your education provider will advise the department if your results are not satisfactory. The definition of 'satisfactory' is determined by your education provider.

Providing your home address

You must advise your education provider of your home address within seven days of arriving in Australia. If you change your address during your stay in Australia, you must advise your education provider within seven days.

Note: Your education provider needs your home address so they can contact you if you do not satisfy the requirements of your course. If they cannot contact you, this could result in your student visa being cancelled.

'No further stay' or 'further stay restricted' condition

Some visas are issued with a 'no further stay' or 'further stay restricted' condition. This condition means that you cannot apply to stay in Australia beyond the date specified on your visa, except in certain circumstances.

Limited circumstances may include students who want to apply for:

  • a student visa with permission to work (using Form 157P or 157P internet)
  • a student visa that is supported by a sponsoring government agency
  • a Student Guardian visa
  • a visa to engage Australia's protection obligations.

Students Under 18 years of age

If you are under 18 years of age you must have written approval to change your accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements. If your parents/legal custodian approved your accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements, you must have their written approval to change these arrangements.
See: Form 157N - Nomination of a student guardian(171KB PDF)

If your education provider approved your accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements, you must have the education provider's written approval to change these arrangements.

Financial Capacity

You must maintain enough money to pay for travel, tuition and living expenses for yourself, your partner and your dependent children for the duration of your stay in Australia.

School age family members

Any family members of school age must attend school in Australia.

Health Insurance

You must maintain health insurance for you and your family members while in Australia. Health insurance can be provided by obtaining Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) which provides medical and hospital insurance.

Family members

Your dependant family members must maintain their visa conditions. A breach of these conditions may result in your visa being cancelled and you may have to leave Australia.

Your family members must:

  • remain a member of your family for the duration of their stay in Australia
  • have adequate financial support
  • maintain adequate health cover
  • not work more than 40 hours per fortnight, unless you have commenced a postgraduate degree (Masters or PhD), in which case your dependent family members can work unlimited hours
  • not work before you have commenced the course
  • attend school if they are of school age.

Important: It is your responsibility to ensure that your family members meet the above conditions.

'No further stay' or 'further stay restricted' condition

Some visas are issued with a 'no further stay' or 'further stay restricted' condition. This condition means that you cannot apply to stay in Australia beyond the date specified on your visa, except in certain circumstances.

Limited circumstances may include students who want to apply for:

  • a student visa with permission to work (using Form 157P or 157P internet)
  • a student visa that is supported by a sponsoring government agency
  • a Student Guardian visa
  • a visa to engage Australia's protection obligations.

Students Under 18 years of age

If you are under 18 years of age you must have written approval to change your accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements. If your parents/legal custodian approved your accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements, you must have their written approval to change these arrangements.
See: Form 157N - Nomination of a student guardian (171KB PDF)

If your education provider approved your accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements, you must have the education provider's written approval to change these arrangements.

Financial Capacity

You must maintain enough money to pay for travel, tuition and living expenses for yourself, your partner and your dependent children for the duration of your stay in Australia.

See: Visa conditions for Student visa holders

Applying

Complete applications

When you lodge your application, it is important that you include all the required documents with your application. Lodging a complete application assists case officers to quickly process your application.

If you cannot provide all the supporting documentation when you lodge your visa application, tell the department which documents are missing and when you expect to be able to provide them. Incomplete applications may be delayed or, in some cases, refused.
See: Application Checklist - Foreign Affairs  or Defence Sector visa (subclass 576)

Passport details

Your visa will be linked to the passport number you used in your application. You must use the same passport to travel to and from Australia. Your passport should be valid for at least six months from the time you lodge the application.

To avoid significant delays at your departure point for Australia, you must advise the department of new passport details before you travel to Australia.

Application charge

There is an application charge for this visa. We do not usually refund the visa application charge, even if the visa application is refused or withdrawn.
See: Fees and Charges

Other costs

There may also be other costs associated with the application, such as translating documents into English. You will also need to pay for any medical examinations.

If required, you may also need to provide a police check. Charges for obtaining police checks vary in each country. When required to obtain your own police checks, you are personally responsible for all arrangements and charges.

Information to help prepare your application

Make sure you read all the information provided in the links below before you lodge your application.

Certified documents

Do not supply original documents with your application unless asked to do so.
Note: Police checks are the exception. You must provide original police checks.

You should provide 'certified copies' of original documents. 'Certified copies' are copies authorised, or stamped as being true copies of originals, by a person or agency recognised by the law of the country in which you currently reside. All departmental offices outside Australia have the facility to certify or witness documents if necessary; this service may attract a charge.
See: Immigration Offices outside Australia

Statutory declarations

Only certain people may witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration.
See: Attorney General's Department Website

All departmental offices outside Australia have the facility to witness statutory declarations if necessary; this service may attract a charge.

Translating documents into English

Documents in languages other than English that you provide with your application must also be accompanied by an accurate English translation of each of those documents.

If you are applying for a visa outside Australia and you are having documents translated outside Australia, it is recommended that you use a translator who is professionally qualified.

If you are applying for a visa in Australia and you are having documents translated in Australia, it is recommended that you use a translator who has been accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translations and Interpreters (NAATI). Further information on NAATI is available from their website.
See: NAATI Website

Communicating electronically with the department

The department may use a range of means to communicate with you. Electronic means such as fax or email will only be used if you indicate your agreement to receiving communication in this way in Form 1193.

To process your application the department may need to communicate with you about sensitive information, for example health, police checks, financial viability and personal relationships. Electronic communications unless adequately encrypted are not secure and may be viewed by others or interfered with. If you agree with the department communicating with you by electronic means the details you provide will only be used by the department for the purpose for which you have provided them, unless there is a legal obligation or necessity to use them for another purpose, or you have consented to use for another purpose. They will not be added to any mailing list

The Commonwealth Government accepts no responsibility for the security or integrity of any information sent to the department over the internet or by other electronic means.

If you authorise another person to receive documents on your behalf and they want to be contacted electronically, their signature is required on the form to indicate their consent to this form of communication. If you or your authorised recipient choose not to communicate with the department electronically and would prefer to receive communication by way of post, then your application may take longer to finalise if the department needs to contact you about your application.

See: Form 1193 - Communicating By E-mail With The Department( 62KB PDF)

Appointing an authorised recipient

An authorised recipient is someone you appoint to receive written communications from the department about your application. An authorised recipient must be a natural person and cannot be a business, a corporation or an organisation.
Example: A family member, a friend, a migration agent, a lawyer.

By appointing an authorised recipient, the department will be required under the Migration Act 1958 to send your authorised recipient any written communication relating to your visa application that would otherwise have been sent to you. The department will only send your authorised recipient information which you are entitled to receive and may provide you with copies.

The department will communicate with the most recently appointed authorised recipient, as you may only appoint one authorised recipient at any one time.

To appoint an authorised recipient you need to complete and return to the department Form 956 – Appointment or withdrawal of an authorised recipient. You do not need to separately complete Form 956A if you are being assisted in your application by a migration agent or an exempt person and they have completed Form 956 – Advice of a Migration Agent/exempt person of immigration assistance.
See:
Form 956 - Advice by a migration agent/exempt person of providing immigration assistance (124KB PDF)
Form 956A - Appointment or withdrawal of authorised recipient (128KB PDF)

When the department reaches a decision concerning your visa application, the appointment of an authorised recipient will come to an end. This means that if the department needs to communicate with you after you have been notified of the outcome of your visa application, the department will communicate with you directly.

Using a migration agent

You are not required to use a Migration Agent. If you want to use a Migration Agent please read the information for clients using a Migration Agent.
See: Using a Migration Agent

Assistance in completing applications

If you choose to receive assistance completing this application, be aware that section 98 of the Migration Act 1958 provides that where an application is completed by someone on behalf of the applicant, then the applicant is taken to have completed the application him/herself; and is responsible for any information provided in the application.

Applying in and outside Australia

To apply for your first student visa or a subsequent student visa:

  • you can apply by post or in person
  • a family member can apply for a dependant student visa by post or in person on the same application as the student.

Note: You must visit a departmental office to submit your letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the Department of Defence.

Applications by post or in person

Application checklists

Application checklists detail the information and supporting documents that you must provide with your application. Complete applications are likely to be processed more quickly. Incomplete applications may be delayed or, in some cases, refused.
See: Application Document Checklist 576-2

Application form

Complete an application form.
See: Form 157A - Application for a student visa (459KB PDF)

If you are lodging a paper-based visa application in certain countries you will need to provide biometrics.
See: Countries and Visa Subclasses Included in the Biometrics Programme

Where to lodge your application

Lodge your application by post or in person:

Location

Where to lodge your application

Students in Western Australia and the Northern Territory

Perth office in Western Australia

Students in South Australia and Queensland

Adelaide office in South Australia

Students in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory

Sydney office in New South Wales

Students in Victoria and Tasmania

Melbourne office in Victoria

Students in:

  • the People's Republic of China (PRC) who are normally resident in the PRC or New Zealand, and are applying outside Australia.
    Note: Citizens of PRC can apply online through a migration agent
  • Pakistan who are normally resident in Pakistan or New Zealand, and are applying outside Australia
  • Afghanistan who are normally resident in Afghanistan, Pakistan or New Zealand, and are applying outside Australia.

Adelaide office in South Australia

Students in any other location outside Australia

Immigration Offices Outside Australia

When to lodge your application

You should lodge your visa application at least 12 weeks before your course starts.

You should also allow extra time to make travel and accommodation arrangements for Australia.

If you have already lodged your application and have not yet been allocated a case officer, you can contact us through the Student visa enquiry form.

After you lodge your application

Your application will be assessed and you will be advised of any other steps that may need to be completed prior to consideration of the visa decision.

Important: Processing of your application will not continue until all outstanding documentation has been received.

Providing additional information

Additional information can be provided in writing at any time until a decision is made on your application. All relevant information is taken into account.

Invitation to comment

If you are invited to comment on or give additional information, you will be given a date by which to do so. After that date, the department can continue processing your application whether you provide the information or not. You cannot delay a decision by saying that you might give more information later.

Interviews

If you are invited to attend an interview, you must attend on the date and time agreed with the department. If you do not, the department can make a decision based on the information you have already provided in your application.

Change in circumstances

If your circumstances change, such that an answer in your application or information given to the department is no longer correct, you must inform the department as soon as possible.

Important: Your visa may be cancelled if you give incorrect information or fail to advise the department that some information is no longer correct.

Examples of a change in circumstances include:

  • change of education providers
  • new passport
  • new member of your family
  • discovery of incorrect information in your application
  • change of address or contact details.

You can advise the department by submitting a completed form relevant to your change of circumstances.

See:
Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances (88KB PDF file)
Form 1023 Notification of incorrect answer(s) (88KB PDF file)
Form 929 Change of address (105KB PDF file)

Adding family members to your application

If your child is born after you lodge your application but before a decision has been made, you must inform the department in writing of the details of the newborn child. You must include a certified copy of the child's full birth certificate.

If you get married or enter a de facto relationship, you must inform the department in writing of your partner's details.

Any family members added to your application must also meet the eligibility requirements.

Withdrawing your application

You can withdraw your application by advising the department in writing at any time before a decision is made. Any charges paid at the time of application are usually not refunded.

Abiding by your visa conditions

If you are in Australia while your application is being processed you must continue to meet the conditions of your current visa or it may be cancelled. If you do not meet the conditions of your current visa, this may also affect the outcome of your application.

Visa decision

A decision on your application will be made based on the information you provide, your circumstances at the time the application is made, and the legal requirements which apply at that time. The application may be decided solely on the basis of information provided in this application.

If approved the department will send a Notification of Grant letter to your nominated postal or email address. It is recommended that you print this letter and keep it with you when you travel to and from Australia. This letter contains:

  • your Visa Grant Number
  • the validity date of your visa
  • the visa conditions.

If not approved the department will send you a notification letter advising you of:

  • the reasons for the refusal
  • your review rights
  • time limit for lodging an appeal.

Your rights for a review of the decision differ:

  • if you lodged in Australia, the refusal letter advises you of your review rights and the time limit for lodging an appeal
  • if you lodged outside Australia, you have no right for a review of the merits of the decision

Passport details

Your visa will be linked to the passport number you used in your application. You must use the same passport to travel to Australia. This passport should be valid for at least six months from the time of lodging the application.

To avoid significant delays at your departure point for Australia, you must advise the department of new passport details before you travel to Australia.
See: Form 1022 - Notification of changes in circumstances (88KB PDF)

Visa label

Australia does not require you to have a label in your passport to travel to, enter or remain in Australia.
See: About Your Visa

It is advisable that you keep a copy of your visa grant notification with you when you travel. Your visa is linked electronically to the passport details provided in your visa application. You can view your visa online using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). VEVO is a free internet service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows you, and your employer or education provider, to view your visa details online.

Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO)

If you apply online and your visa is granted, the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service will allow you to check the following:

  • details
  • entitlements
  • grant number
  • conditions.

Note: You must provide a password for VEVO in your online application to access the VEVO service.

The VEVO service may also be used by government agencies to help assess your eligibility for government services. The department will disclose information about your visa to an employer or other party only with your consent. You can give your consent to an enquiry about your visa entitlements by providing the employer or other party with your name, date of birth, passport number and passport country of issue.
Important: If you do not wish the employer or other party to find out about your visa entitlements, do not give them this information.
See: Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO)

Application processing times

Application processing times vary and the time it takes to finalise an application is affected by a range of factors.
See: Student Visa Processing Times

Check the progress of your online application

Use your Transaction Reference Number (TRN) to check the progress of your online application.
See: Check the progress of your online application

​​

Estimate the cost of your visa

* Price will be displayed in Australian dollars unless changed.
The following Visa Pricing Estimator requires you to answer the questions as accurately as possible to provide you with an estimate for lodging a visa application. The estimator does not include the second instalment of the visa application charge which is payable for some visas. Please note this is an estimate for a visa application, if you have already lodged your application and you want to change/add applicants please refer to the Visa Pricing Table. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Pricing Estimator will give you an estimate of the charges you may need to pay to lodge a visa application. This is paid after you have made your application but before the visa can be granted. Read the department's full disclaimer. The Commonwealth of Australia does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any material in the Visa Pricing Estimator.