Visa issues

As an international student, you have a student visa for the duration of your course at Charles Darwin University.

There are a number of conditions attached to your student visa. Under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act, universities are required by law to report to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) the non-compliance of students who fail to meet course requirements or fail to satisfy attendance requirements.

Students reported for breaching these visa conditions are likely to have their student visas cancelled by DIAC.

Key visa conditions

Meeting course requirements

Charles Darwin University will certify a higher education academic result as being satisfactory if the student gains a pass grade or better in at least 50 per cent of a normal full-time load (i.e. four units per semester) over a one-month study period.

Charles Darwin University will certify a vocational education and training (VET) result as being satisfactory if the student gains a competent grade or better in at least 50 per cent of a normal full-time study load over a 12-month period of study.

Student visa holders who are at risk of not meeting course requirements will be sent an Under Review or Unsatisfactory Progress letter and asked to report to the International Student Advisor.


Students must remain enrolled in a full-time registered course of study, and must attend at least 80 per cent of lectures, tutorials and work experience for each semester or course.

A condition of granting a student visa for an international student enrolled in a VET program is that they must maintain attendance above 80 percent.

Please review the information below for specific details on attendance monitoring and reporting for international VET students:


Teaching staff monitor attendance using a roll book. If a student fails to attend a class, they will be noted as 'absent' from that class. If a student is more than 30 minutes late to class, they will be noted as 'absent' except in extenuating circumstances.

Early intervention 

It is the students' responsibility to ensure they attend all classes. It is also their responsibility to discuss any absences with teaching staff. However, if the student is at risk of falling below the minimum attendance threshold (e.g. 85% attendance) the lecturer may contact the student and inform them that they are at risk of poor attendance and offer assistance if necessary.


If a student's attendance falls below 80 percent (but above 70percent), they will be sent formal notification from the Office of International Services (OIS). This letter will ask the student to provide the University with information and evidence explaining their absences. The OIS will then decide (in coordination with teaching staff) if it is necessary to report the student to the department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) or if the circumstances warrant flexibility. The student will be consulted during this phase and will be invited to attend a meeting with the International Student Adviser.

If poor attendance continues, the student may then be issued with a 'Notice of Intent to Report'.


If a student is continually absent from class without significant cause (attendance below 80% and the above interventions have previously been implemented) they will be issued with a 'Notice of Intent to Report'. This letter is formal notification to the student that the Univeristy intends to report their poor attendance to DIAC. The student then has 20 working days to submit a formal complaint to the University utilising the University's complaints procedure.

If a student's attendance falls below 70 percent they will immediately be issued with a 'Notice of Intent to Report'. The student then has the opportunity to submit a formal complaint regarding this decision utilising the University's complaints procedure. 

Full-time study

At Charles Darwin University, a full-time load is 40 credit points per semester for higher education courses and 360 hours per semester for VET courses.

Under exceptional circumstances, such as ill health, you may be permitted to study a 75 per cent workload. You will need to seek this permission from the International Student Advisor and you may need to provide a medical certificate. The only exception to this rule is in the final semester of a course where less than a full-time load may be required to complete the course.

Change of address

You must inform the university within seven days of your arrival in Australia of your current residential address and must advise of any changes of address within seven days.

When you change your residential address or telephone number please fill in an Amendment to Personal Details (pdf, 224kb) form and give it to an administration officer in the Information Centre. The university must be able to contact students at any time.
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view pdf files. Get Adobe Acrobat reader.

Overseas Student Health Cover

Students must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance while in Australia, this means your Worldcare card or alternative Overseas Health Care Cover must be current at all times.

Change of provider

Students with the No Change Provider (8206) condition on their visas must remain with the education provider (Charles Darwin University) for the first 6 months of the main course of study. Pre-course English and foundation programs (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

Only in exceptional circumstances will students be allowed to change education provider (transfer to another university) during that 6 month period. Students who feel they have a legitimate reason to change provider, need to see the International Student Advisor for advice. A Letter of Release may be provided if the university agrees that you have exceptional circumstances.

Students seeking to transfer to another university within the first 6 months of study will need to submit an application to DIAC. It is important to note that even if students have a Letter of Release from the university, DIAC will make the final decision to reject or approve applications. DIAC may cancel a visa if students leave the university or leave Darwin without this approval.


Leave of absence (deferring studies)

Students may not suspend or defer their studies on any grounds except illness and bereavement or 'exceptional compassionate circumstances beyond the control of the student'. Students who believe they have legitimate grounds to defer studies after commencement of the course should contact the International Student Advisor to seek advice.

Leave of absence is permitted for six months only. Students who do defer their studies under these circumstances are obliged to leave Australia unless circumstances such as extreme illness, hospitalisation, or airline regulations regarding travel during pregnancy apply.

Visa extensions

Students requiring a visa extension must submit an application to DIAC. Students may need a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) or a letter from Charles Darwin University. These may be obtained from the International Student Advisor.

Permission to work

During semester time you are entitled to work only 40 hours per fortnight. DIAC will cancel your visa immediately if you are found to be working more than this. During official semester breaks you are permitted to work full-time. (offical dates are available on the university's important dates webpage).

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is located at:
Pella House, 40 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800
Phone: 131 881
Fax: 08 8981 6245
Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Wednesday 10am to 4pm
A job register is available in the Information Centre. This register will list part time and casual jobs, provide contact details for restaurants, hotels, supermarkets etc and handy hints for finding a job.

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