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International student visa holders

Information for international students
Find out about studying remotely as an international student, including the impact on your visa.

Fully vaccinated international students can now travel to participating states and territories in Australia, without needing to apply for a travel exemption. 

For the latest information on visas and travel restrictions, visit the Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs website.

From Tuesday, 21 December, fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in NSW will no longer need to isolate for 72 hours, with New South Wales introducing consistent COVID-19 requirements for all people arriving from overseas.

While the 72 hour self-isolation period will no longer be required, all international travellers to NSW will still be required to take a PCR test within 24 hours after arriving in NSW and self-isolate until they receive a negative PCR test result. All travellers will continue to be required to take a follow-up test on Day 6 after their arrival.

For more updated information on requirements on entering NSW from overseas, please visit the NSW Government website.

It is recommended that you apply for your student visa even if you are studying remotely to avoid future delays in processing and to avoid problems with flight bookings when Australian borders do open.

Any remote/online study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic period will also be counted towards the Australian study requirements for a post-study work visa as long as you have a valid visa during this study. This means that if you started studying remotely in Semester 1, 2020, it will be counted towards your study requirements for post-study work visa as long as you held a student visa whilst undertaking this study.

Read the official government release.

Payment of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a mandatory requirement for an Australian student visa to be granted. You cannot apply for a student visa without evidence of coverage despite Australian borders being closed.  Whilst you are required to pay this initially, you may claim reimbursement with your health care provider for any period un-used whilst you were waiting for borders to re-open. It is suggested that you contact your OSHC provider at the end of your study period to claim this pro-rata reimbursement.

Please refer to COVID-19 and the border - Students

If you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and need to lodge a further student visa application (Subclass 500), AND your extension is a consequence of COVID-19 conditions, DHA may consider waiving your visa application fee. Information regarding eligibility is available from the Department of Home Affairs website.

How to obtain Form 1545 from The University of Sydney:

  • eCoE requests that are eligible for 1545 will automatically receive one. If you require a 1545 form but have a valid eCoE for the duration of your course, please email the Student Compliance Team and please quote your SID
  • Please note the University can only provide you with Form 1545 if your Suspension or Reduced Study Load application was approved due to COVID-19 impacts consistent with DHA guidelines, and your student visa expiries within three months.

Important visa considerations

The University is here to support you with remote study. The Australian government has advised that the change from face-to-face to remote delivery will not impact your compliance with your visa conditions.

However, if you are impacted by the travel restrictions or are considering returning to your home country to study remotely, there are important visa considerations to be aware of.

Admissions information

In Semester 1, 2022, we will continue offering remote learning to students who are offshore and cannot attend in person.

Check if your program offers remote or online learning options.

High school completion exams all over the world have been impacted, however, most have been rescheduled and some moved online. The University of Sydney will continue to monitor the situation so that we can try to accommodate students completing their high school or secondary school qualifications.

The University is committed to working with schools, awarding bodies and test partners globally and recognises the importance of students completing their qualifications and the necessary tests for admissions. As such we are working within guidelines to accept what is deemed appropriate and will not be making concessional arrangements outside of these without research and consultation.

Most universities have now recommenced issuing official documentation. If your institution is still unable to produce official documents you will need to supply an official dated statement from the institution showing they are not providing documentation.

The following temporary provisions have been made for students who are applying for admission in all teaching periods in 2021 for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework and in all Research Periods (RPs) in 2021 for Higher Degree by Research (HDR). The below provisions do not apply to pre-registration nursing courses within the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Students are advised to also check any additional requirements that can apply to courses which have external accreditation/registration requirements that are separate from the University’s English requirements where students may need to meet the higher requirements.

  • We have extended the current English language test validity to 3 years. 
  • We accept the IELTS Indicator from countries where standard testing procedures are not currently available.
  • We will accept TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition from countries where standard testing procedures are not currently available.

Once authorised English tests become available, these temporary arrangements will no longer be accepted. 

Find out more about our English language requirements.

Please note: The University acceptance of these tests is not related to any visa requirement. It is the students’ responsibility to check Home Affairs website for all visa related information. 

Both IB and A-Level will use existing assessment data to calculate the final scores for students who will still receive the official IB Diploma and GCE A Level Certificate. Therefore, IB and A-Level students will not be disadvantaged and these qualifications will be accepted by the University.

Yes, our Centre for English Teaching (CET) is delivering all courses online, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can complete our Direct Entry Course from anywhere in the world, including your own home as you prepare for entry to our degree programs on time, as planned. 

Throughout the courses, you will participate in live Zoom sessions with teachers, join live group work sessions with peers, and complete interactive activities in English. 

Course assessments are conducted in a secure online environment. You will also be able to access CET’s full range of additional support programs, bonus lessons, well-being workshops and social activities to connect with your peers, all online.

We welcome most new offshore students to begin with us remotely if Australia’s international borders are not open. If students are unable to enter Australia they may be able to commence online and join us in person when restrictions have lifted and it’s safe to do so, depending on future Government advice.

We will continue to deliver world class education and teaching remotely wherever possible for most students who are not able to join us in person, so that  your studies are not delayed, and  you can have the confidence that your education will not be disadvantaged.

If your course is available to commence remotely, there may be some aspects you must complete in Australia and you will usually be expected to come to Australia on a relevant visa as soon as you are able to do so.

Please also refer to the Department of Home Affairs for the latest information on travel restrictions and visa advice. We will continue to keep our community updated on the latest developments as they are received. 

Check if your course offers remote or online learning options.

The University appreciates this has been a difficult and uncertain time for our community including students who wish to come to Australia for their studies. We would very much like to see international students return to our campuses and we continue to work with relevant Australia governments to pursue this outcome. The most up-to-date information on this proposal can be found here.

Chinese nationals applying for an Australian skilled independent visa should refer to VETASSESS for information.

Student visas and study load

The change from face-to-face to remote delivery will not impact your compliance with your visa conditions.  

The University is required by law to issue you with an electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE). It is strongly recommended that you use this to apply for a student visa even if borders are closed, to ensure that you do not have any delays associated with your visa processing when borders re-open for travel to Australia or if an International Student Corridor is approved in the near future. Please keep in mind that if you intend to apply for a post-study work visa after you complete your University course, the period of study whilst you hold a student visa will be counted towards this visa.

You should ensure that you include all relevant documents when lodging a student visa application to avoid your visa being rejected for being incomplete. The Department of Home Affairs has returned to standard timeframes for RFIs. Where an RFI has been issued to supply additional information for your visa application and you do not provide this information within the specified timeframe, the Department will decide the visa application on the basis of the information already provided, unless you have requested an extension of time.

If you are experiencing delays in obtaining the required information or cannot access your scheduled medical appointment, you should request an extension of time through ImmiAccount and provide evidence of what steps have been taken to obtain the required information, such as a payment receipt or booking confirmation.

It is very important that you remain in contact with the Department through designated channels. You should respond to any requests for information promptly and do not need to wait until the deadline to respond to a Departmental request. If documentation is provided when requested, the Department can progress the application. You are also encouraged to regularly log into your ImmiAccount to check for messages from the Department and respond promptly.

If your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and student visa is going to expire soon; but you still need more time to complete your study, you must request for an eCoE extension and then apply for a new student visa. It's important to be aware of your visa's expiry date and apply for eCoE extension and new student visa before your current visa expires.

To request for an eCoE, please go to Sydney Student (go to 'My studies', then 'Course details').

For information on applying for a new visa, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you’re applying for a new student visa, remember to also contact your health insurance provider to extend your Overseas Student Health Cover.

If you are no longer studying, you will need to contact the Department of Home Affairs or a registered migration agent for information on other visa types and options available to you.

If your suspension or deferral is approved, your current electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) will be cancelled, and a new eCoE with the new commencement date will be issued.

Your current student visa may be affected due to this suspension or deferral; therefore, you may need to consult with the Department of Home Affairs for advice about how to remain in Australia lawfully, if you are still in the country.

For deferral, please contact

For visa advice, please contact the Department of Home Affairs.

The University’s International Student Fee Refund Policy sets out the University’s policy on refunds.

For more information about our refund policy, international students should review their letter of offer.

Whilst on a student visa, you are required to maintain a full-time study load. You may apply to reduce your study load if COVID-19 conditions impact your ability to study a full-time load. This means that if you are struggling with the prospect of remote learning during these conditions, or if you are experiencing other impacts that could be classified as ‘compassionate or compelling circumstances’ (such as caring for a vulnerable person or recovering from COVID-19 yourself), you may apply for a reduced study load through Sydney Student via My Studies - Units of Study – Apply to reduce your study load. 

This applies to students with a current student visa and those who commence without their student visa. If you hold your student visa, your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and student visa will remain active. However, please note that this is likely to impact your end date of study. There may be opportunities to study additional units during intensive sessions, otherwise, you will require an eCoE extension to extend your student visa to remain in Australia longer to complete your studies.

You cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight when your course of study is ‘in session’, regardless of whether you are attending classes physically or studying remotely. However, the Department of Home Affairs has temporarily relaxed working hours limits for student visa holders generally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

If you are applying for a student visa and you are under 18 years of age, you must have adequate welfare arrangements in place, unless you will turn 18 years old before arriving in Australia.

If you turn 18 before you arrive in Australia, you need to:

  • complete questions 1 to 8 in Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application
  • have your parent or legal custodian sign the form
  • attach the form to your application

Find more information at the Department of Home Affairs website about welfare arrangements for students under 18.

Decisions related to eligibility for persons affected by the coronavirus will depend on how long the travel restrictions remain in place. The Department of Home Affairs will consider making concessions, on a case-by-case basis, for those applicants affected once travel restrictions have been lifted.

A request for release is assessed in accordance with the University's International Student Change of Provider Policy. A release is not provided automatically. You will need to apply for a release Information and instructions on how to apply for a release can be found on Release for student visa holders page.

Visa advice can vary. The most up-to-date advice can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. Our advice is that if you have held a student visa and have been studying remotely due to COVID-impacts but have been enrolled in a CRICOS registered course, you may apply for a post-study work visa (note that other requirements must also be met).

Visa advice can vary. The most up to date advice can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. Our advice is that if you have held a student visa and have been studying remotely due to COVID-impacts but have been enrolled in a CRICOS registered course, you may apply for a post-study work visa (note that other requirements must also be met).

Leaving from or arriving in Australia

The University is committed to supporting your safety and wellbeing throughout this challenging period, whether you are studying remotely in Australia, in your home country or elsewhere. We have developed a suite of financial and other measures to help ensure you can stay focused on your studies.

Information on the University’s website and specific information for international students published by the NSW Government  and Australian Government may assist you in making your decision.

If you do wish to return to your home country or elsewhere to continue your studies remotely, you should be aware that the University cannot guarantee access to online content from other countries given varied internet content restrictions and most classes will be in Australian Eastern Standard time. In addition, we cannot guarantee that you will be covered by the University’s insurance policies and you may find it difficult to return to Australia which may delay your studies.

The global situation and travel advice is changing rapidly. If you are considering overseas travel, you will need to make your own travel arrangements. We recommend you regularly check information published in the media and elsewhere about the availability of flights to your destination, any travel advice issued by the Australian government and your destination country and any updates from your airline provider.

If you are considering travel outside of Australia, for example to return home for the holiday period, there are very important considerations to be aware of, including potential risks to your ongoing ability to study.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, travelling overseas involves considerable uncertainty and may affect your studies in significant and unforeseeable ways.  

The University strongly recommends that you consider carefully all relevant circumstances before deciding to travel overseas.

Strict border controls, quarantine requirements and other conditions of international travel are likely to continue for some time and you may be unable to return to Australia in time to resume your studies or fulfil certain course requirements, such as placements or in-person elements.

Up-to-date information about travelling to and from Australia is on the Department of Home Affairs website.

We understand restrictions on travel have created difficult situations for international students and their families. Find out about the various support services for students, including financial support and support for mental health and wellbeing.

Fees and costs

You will need to provide an updated Financial Guarantee letter from your sponsor which covers the new deferral course dates in order to have your records updated and a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) issued accordingly.

The approval of the Financial Guarantee letter and sponsorship will be up to the discretion of the University.

Payment details will be outlined in your letter of offer. You will be expected to pay the full deposit, regardless of enrolment. If you later withdraw, suspend or defer your studies you may be entitled to a refund or a credit. 

The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) is set annually by the Australian government. The 2021 full-time rate for Semester 2 is $156.50 AUD or part-time $117.35 AUD (semester study load of 0.374 equivalent full-time student load or less).

If you study on a part-time basis with a load of 0.374 or less you will be eligible for the lower rate. You will need to pay the relevant rate by the payment date set out on our website.

If you discontinue your course before the relevant census date, you will not be liable for the fee.

Please read and follow the instructions on your scholarship offer. For certain Scholarships, you will need to send an email to the Scholarships Office ( to request a deferral for your scholarship offer and explain the reasons for your deferral request.

Deferral is subject to review from the Head of Scholarships Office and is subject to the terms and conditions of the scholarship.

No, the United States Government has amended the law in relation to on-line study for students enrolled at foreign institutions in receipt of US Federal Student Aid. The law allows an otherwise eligible program to be taught via online methods from March 1, 2020 for the duration of the qualifying emergency and the following semester.

You are still required to meet all other eligibility requirements. Enquiries should be made to the International Loans team at

Visit our webpage for information about the University's International Student Fee Refund Policy.

International recognition of remote study

The University of Sydney has obtained confirmation from Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) officials that qualifications would be recognised for online studies provided students are currently enrolled at the University and their studies have been disrupted by COVID-19.

Students are advised to maintain records of their communication with the University to provide to CSCSE that verifies that they have indeed been impacted by COVID-19 situation.

Please check the provisions of your home country on the recognition of your overseas qualifications. Many countries are considering adjustments as a result of the global pandemic.

Last updated: September 2022

Contact us

Students can submit a query via the Student Centre.