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International students and visas

Studying online as an international student
Information about studying online as an international student, including the impact on your visa.

The University is here to support you with the transition to online study. The change from face-to-face to online 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 online, there are important visa considerations to be aware of.

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

Yes, we will now be offering the full semester version of this unit to assist you in progressing through your studies.

Following the Vice-Chancellor’s announcement that the University will move to online learning we have received enquiries from students considering travelling overseas whilst they continue their studies remotely.

We do not encourage students to travel overseas and continue their studies remotely from their home (or third) country.

You should be aware of some of the risks associated with studying remotely abroad, including:

  • global travel restrictions are changing very rapidly and it may make returning for Semester 2 very difficult;
  • we cannot guarantee that you will be covered by insurance;
  • we cannot guarantee access to online content from third countries given varied internet content restrictions in different countries.

The global situation and travel advice is changing rapidly. If you are considering international travel, we recommend you regularly check the DFAT travel warnings on the Smartraveller website, any travel advice issued by your destination country and any updates from your airline provider.

You can withdraw from your currently enrolled units up until 31 March 2020 via Sydney Student without incurring either financial or academic penalty. Find out how to suspend your studies.

The Department of Home Affairs has provided advice about student-visa obligations for students who are already studying (ie continuing and re-enrolling students with a ‘STUDYING’ visa status):

  • a suspension due to compassionate/compelling circumstances can be granted for cases where, due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, students cannot return to Australia in time to continue their studies (or would normally be expected to leave Australia).
  • if you are affected by the coronavirus travel restrictions you can apply for a suspension.
  • if you apply for a suspension for Semester 1 2020 due to travel restrictions, and your suspension is approved, your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) will be cancelled. This is how the Department of Home of Affairs is notified that you are on a suspension. You will need to check directly with the Department of Home Affairs what your visa status is while on a suspension.

Students who have enquires relating to the status of their visa, should email Please be advised that the Department of Home Affairs is unable to disclose personal information to any third party.

For the most up-to-date general information regarding the Australian Government’s enhanced border control measures, please visit

If your student visa is going to expire soon, and your faculty or school has approved your continued enrolment, you’ll need to apply for an extension of your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and a new visa. It’s important to be aware of your visa’s expiry date and apply to extend your eCoE before your visa expires.

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

Apply to extend your eCoE through Sydney Student (go to 'My studies', then 'Course details').

If you’re extending your visa, remember to 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.

If your suspension is approved, you will be issued with a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) for your re-commencement intake. 

For deferral, please contact For visa matters, please contact the Department of Home Affairs.

If you are impacted by the travel restrictions, or if you cannot study all of your units online, you may apply for a reduced study load due to compelling and compassionate circumstances for Semester 1 2020 only. You can apply through Sydney Student via My Studies -> Units of Study -> Apply to reduce your study load.  Your eCoE and student visa will remain active, however please note that it is likely 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 apply for a new student visa to remain in Australia longer to complete your studies.

Please contact the Department of Home Affairs for advice.

An Australian government hotline has been established to assist international students with questions or concerns relating to their study and novel coronavirus:


Phone: 1300 981 621 (8am to 8pm AEDST Monday to Friday)

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.

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.

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

Last updated Wednesday 25 March, 11am

Contact us

Students can submit a query via the Coronavirus Enquiry form.