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International compliance

Make your studies compliant

Your student visa is the document issued to you by the Department of Home Affairs that allows you to enter Australia to study. This document is facilitated by your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which is managed by Charles Darwin University (CDU).

It is important that you are familiar with your rights and responsibilities as a student visa holder. Make yourself aware of your responsibilities, and ensure you meet these during your time at CDU.


Study conditions for your student visa

Maintain an active Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

Your student visa is the document issued to you by the Department of Home Affairs that allows you to enter Australia to study. This document is facilitated by your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which is managed by Charles Darwin University (CDU).

An international student who is on a student visa must always have a valid CoE – even if your visa is still valid. If your CoE finishes or is cancelled before your student visa expires, your visa is at risk of being cancelled because you have no CoE. 

Please ensure that you comply with all of your enrolment obligations to ensure that your CoE is not cancelled. If your CoE is due to finish you can request an extension - please see CoE extension below.

Remain enrolled in a registered course

While at CDU, your main course of study must continue to be a registered course in the education sector that matches the conditions of your student visa. A registered course is one that is listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

You must be enrolled in a registered course in all compulsory study periods. For Higher Education the compulsory study periods are Semester 1 and Semester 2, for TAFE all terms are compulsory. Summer Semester is not a compulsory study period. However, if you commenced your studies in the Summer Semester, then Summer Semester becomes a compulsory study period.

Enrolment policy 
The CDU Enrolment Policy outlines the process for administering students' enrolments at CDU. It includes general information about enrolment, student initiated changes to enrolment, and university initiated changes. University initiated changes can include deferring, suspending, or cancelling a student's enrolment.

To read more about changes to enrolment, refer to the CDU Enrolment Policy

Maintain satisfactory course progress

International students must maintain satisfactory course progress while studying on their student visa.

Higher Education Students

Your academic performance will be assessed twice a year. This will happen after the release of grades at the end of Semesters 1 and 2. All students start their Higher Education course with a 'satisfactory'  academic status. After the release of grades you will be assessed as either making Satisfactory Progress, At risk of unsatisfactory progress, or Unsatisfactory Progress.

We encourage all international students to learn about the Academic course progression process. For detailed information on course progression, you can download the Higher Education Academic Progression Policy or view the Progression flowchart.

Failing a unit can have an impact on your ability to complete your course by the completion date on your CoE. If you have failed a unit please review your study plan and check unit availability to see if this is still possible, you may need to use Summer Semester enrolment to do so. Please contact Student Central to get an updated study plan if you are unsure. If you are unable to complete your studies within your CoE completion date you will need to request a CoE extension when your current one expires, please see Changes to your enrolment - CoE extension below for further details.

A student must complete all of the officially published requirements of a course before being eligible for the granting of a University Award.

CDU TAFE Students

To progress satisfactorily and maintain a full-time TAFE study load, international students must demonstrate competency in fifty percent (50%) or more of enrolled units of competency in each teaching period.

Students are advised to refer to International Students - VET Course Progression Procedures for more information.

International students are required to complete the prescribed units of competency in a nationally recognised qualification or accredited TAFE course, within the expected duration, before being eligible for the granting of a University Award. 

CDU terms of agreement

Your key responsibilities as an international student are outlined in the CDU Terms of Agreement, which you signed upon acceptance of your CDU Letter of Offer. You are expected to revisit and familiarise yourself with these responsibilities to ensure compliance with the conditions of your visa and your obligations under Australian immigration law.

These responsibilities pertain to but are not limited to, attending a compulsory Orientation program, enrolling or changing enrolment promptly, paying tuition fees fully and promptly, updating details following a change in address or contact information, and maintaining full-time enrolment on campus.

You also are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress and successful course completion within the period specified in your Letter of Offer and CoE, i.e. the period of your student visa. Additionally, you must inform the University if you are unable to continue studying, and should familiarise yourself with the circumstances which could lead to cancellation or suspension of your enrolment. Cancellation of enrolment may result in a breach of your visa, meaning you may be required to leave the country.

Enrolment obligations

Completing your course on time

At the commencement of your studies with CDU, you are issued with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). You must make every effort to complete your studies within the completion date as specified on your CoE. To ensure you complete your degree in the specified period, you must maintain a full time study load. 

For most courses, a full time study load is 40 credit points per compulsory semester in a Higher Education course or 20 contact hours in a TAFE course. We recommend that you refer to your study plan to see what this looks like for your course as it may involve enrolment in different study periods (e.g. intensive blocks) or a different enrolment pattern if you commenced in Summer Semester.

For each course of study, CDU has already prepared Recommended Study Plans. To find your recommended study plan, simply visit the CDU Course Catalogue and click on the Study Plan tab. Should you wish or be advised to digress from the Recommended Study Plan, we recommend that you contact Student Central for advice on subject selection.

If you are having difficulties enrolling into your subjects, please visit the webpage Guide to enrolling for detailed instructions or contact Student Central at your campus upon arrival for assistance.

If you are unable to maintain a full-time study load then you must apply for a Reduced Study Load. Refer to Changes to your enrolment – Reduced Study Load below.

Please note that if you under-enroll without approval or do not follow your study plan you will not be eligible for a CoE extension if required. For these reasons, it is very important to remain enrolled on a full-time basis and/or as per your approved study plan.

Study mode - online and distance learning

Students can study up to one-third of their total course through online or distance learning. However, there are rules about how much you can study online/distance at specific times of the year.

No student can study entirely online or by distance in any compulsory study period (i.e. Semesters 1 and 2). This means that in every compulsory study period, you must be enrolled in at least one internal (face-to-face) unit. 

This rule does not apply in non-compulsory study periods (i.e. Summer Semester) in which students may study entirely online/distance subjects if they want to, or if the student is completing the last unit of their course that is only available online.

If a student has only one unit to complete in a compulsory study period, and the unit is available by distance or online, the student may ask the provider to cancel the CoE (thus no longer requiring a student visa) and return to their home country to complete the final unit of the course by distance or online.

Pay your fees on time

As a student visa holder, it is required that students remain financially able to pay their fees. 

International student fees are stated in your letter of offer and CoE before commencing at CDU. Fees must be paid in full by the Cenus date of each study period. Please refer to our Fees and payments information about how much to pay and how. You can check your fee balance by logging into MyStudentInfo and selecting 'finance' from the left-hand menu.

Please note that financial struggle cannot be considered when assessing other applications such as CoE Extension and Reduced Study Load.

If you have any questions regarding your fees please contact Student Central

Changes to your enrolment

If you need support during your study, you can apply to change your enrolment through one of the below support measures:

Reduced Study Load           Intermission            CoE extension

Do not change your enrolment before receiving approval to do so, as unapproved changes may negatively affect your timely course completion and impact your CoE. Please note that these support measures are only approved in certain situations, most of the time you will need to be able to demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances.

Personal conditions for your student visa

Keep your contact and address details up to date

Within seven (7) days of your arrival, and at any time after you arrive if your details change, you must notify CDU of:

  • your Australian residential address
  • your mobile phone number
  • an emergency contact number.

Your details can be updated in MyStudentInfo. This is to make sure that any important correspondence sent by CDU reaches you at your current location.

Maintain your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) 

You must maintain valid Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the full duration of your course(s) and until your visa expiry date. You must not let your OSHC cover lapse at any time while you are studying in Australia. It is your responsibility to renew and maintain your OSHC for the full duration of your course(s). It is important that you provide your OSHC provider with your up-to-date contact details, particularly your email address.

Work only the number of hours permitted by your visa

Please refer to your visa for your personal work limitations. Most students have condition 8105: you can work up to 48 hours in a fortnight (every consecutive 2 weeks) when your course is in session. It is recommended that you feel confident and comfortable about your studies before pursuing work.

A course of study is 'in session' for the academic duration of the semester or term, including when exams are being held. Please refer to our Important dates information for when this is.

Undergraduate and masters students can only work up to 48 hours per fortnight once you have started your studies, or when your course is in session, unless you are taking a work placement – Work Integrated Learning (WIL) unit – which is part of your course. 

There are some exceptions to these obligations including that there are no work limits applied during Summer Semester, as Summer Semester is not a compulsory study period. However, this is not the case if you are enrolled in one or more units in this semester, or you commenced your course in Summer Semester, in which case you are then only allowed to work up to 48 hours per fortnight.

Please see the Department of Home Affairs website for more information on work limitations: Check visa details and conditions (

Additional information

Changing course

Changing your program is an important decision which requires careful consideration and thorough research. Before deciding to change program, you are encouraged to arrange a meeting with the Course Coordinator of the program that you wish to transfer to. This meeting is important as it provides an opportunity to discuss the new program’s requirements and outcomes.

You must also make sure that you understand the implications of changing course to your student visa. Please also refer to the Department of Home Affairs - Your study situation has changed.

Important Information:

  • To be eligible for a course change, you must meet all the admission entry requirements (i.e. academic, English and GTE criteria) of the course that you are applying for
  • Your application will be assessed only after grade release date
  • Unless approved for a course change/transfer, you are required to continue your original course of study following your original recommended study plan
  • For approved course changes/transfers, the relevant years’ tuition fees for new commencing international students will be applied, please refer to the webpage for more information: Fees and Payments
  • Application must be submitted by the deadline. Relevant deadlines are mentioned can be found here: How to apply and application dates
  • For students who have received an Unsatisfactory Progress notice, course transfer/ change will not be processed until the progression process is completed. Refer to the Academic course progression process information.

To apply for a course change, log in to the CDU Portal, select the eForm tile, and submit a Course Transfer eForm.

Change of provider

Within the first six months of study

Within the first six calendar months of study for the principal course, an international student may only transfer to another education provider with the permission of Charles Darwin University and the Department of Home Affairs. If CDU approves your transfer to another education provider, you will be provided with a Letter of Release. This letter is required before you can enrol in another program at a different institution.

You are advised to familiarise yourselves with the International Students – Transfer Between Registered Providers Procedures to understand how your Letter of Release request will be assessed.

To transfer and obtain a Letter of Release, submit a Letter of Release request form. You will need to provide an offer letter from another registered provider, and any other supporting documents (if applicable) such as a medical certificate, a letter of support, etc.

After six months of study

If you have completed more than six calendar months of study for your principal course, you will not need to provide a Letter of Release to your next educational institution, but you still need to apply for Course Cancellation from Charles Darwin University.

To apply for course cancellation, log in to the CDU Portal, select the eForm tile, and submit a Course Cancellation eForm.You will need to provide supporting documents with this application such as evidence of intention to transfer to another provider, evidence of flights home, or evidence in a change in visa.

You are also required to notify the University within seven days of receiving the new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment certificate or evidence of enrolment.

Cross-institutional enrolment

In the case of elective units not being available at CDU, students may choose to enrol cross-institutionally in units, to gain credit towards their study. This process allows students to enrol internally into units at other institutions, and study at another location in Australia while remaining on a CDU CoE.

This process is facilitated through Student Central and the International Compliance team and it allows students to study a greater selection of units as a part of their final degree. It is important to note that cross-institutional enrolments count towards your external study limits.

To apply for a cross-institutional enrolment, log in to the CDU Portal, select the eForm tile, and submit an Outgoing Cross-Institutional Studies eForm.

When applying to study cross institutionally you must supply a copy of the unit outline/s from your proposed host. These must be in PDF format - web links are not accepted. You will need to start this cross-institutional process as early as possible to ensure you meet the proposed host's application deadlines

COVID-19 visa support

The Department of Home Affairs is implementing support for COVID-19 impacted students through the ability to apply for nil-fee student visa. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will waive the visa application fee to allow you to lodge a further student visa application to complete your study. This will be available to students who held a student visa on or after 1st February 2020 and who couldn’t complete their course within their original visa validity due to the impacts of COVID-19. This includes students who:

  • deferred their study as they were unable to enter Australia due to travel restrictions 
  • were forced to reduce to a part-time study load 
  • were unable to complete their work-based training or placements. 

This measure is not intended for students who are applying for a new student visa due to ordinary reasons (including if you have failed a course or a unit of study, deferred for personal reasons, or voluntarily reduced your study load.) 

To have your visa waived under this scheme you will need to provide the Department of Home Affairs a copy of the Form 1545 signed by CDU when you apply for your new visa. To see more about the application process read: How do students apply?

Apply online: Application for Form 1545 signed by CDU
Please attach supporting documents such as evidence of your arrival flights into Australia if your travel was restricted, documentation of communication around your part-time study load or placements being delayed.
Please be aware that the Form 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Students can only be granted to you by CDU Compliance Coordinator – CDU Global if you have met the criteria set by the Department of Home Affairs. 

Can students apply for a nil-VAC student visa from overseas?  
Students can be in or outside Australia when they apply. 

Can students who have already applied for a Student visa apply for a refund? 
Refunds will not be available for Students who have already applied for a Student visa. Only new applications will be eligible for a visa fee-waiver. 

Applying for new visa - invalid CoE warning

You may receive the following soft warning when you apply for your student visa. 

warning that CoE provided for applicant is invalid. Check the details and amend if necessary

The message that pops up in the student visa application online form tells you the CoE is invalid. This is because the start date of your CoE has passed. You still can proceed with your application by clicking the Confirm button.

DHA advises that you can ignore the warning and continue with your application.
You do not need to contact CDU or DHA about the message.


I have specific questions about my course, units, or assessment. Who do I contact?

For any specific questions about your course, or units, please speak to your Faculty. If you have any questions about your assessment, please speak to your Unit Coordinator or Lecturer first.

Who do I speak to about making a complaint about my study journey?

CDU has a dedicated Complaints team to help you navigate the processes and ensure that your complaint is appropriately referred to the relevant decision-maker. 

We take complaints seriously and aim to provide an environment where students are free to study without being subjected to behaviour that may constitute discrimination, harassment, or victimisation.

Student complaints information

08 8946 7738

Where do I go to get support?

CDU is committed to giving you the support you need to help you stay happy and healthy, and achieve your study goals. We have a variety of CDU-based support for all students, please click the button to find out more:

We also have support specifically for International students at CDU

Please refer to our webpage for information on all the support available for International students - both internal (CDU based) and external.

Support for International Students

If you are in need of further support, contact the International Student Support Officer. However, please note that due to the high demands of this service, we encourage students to seek further clarification from Student Central before contacting ISS.

Contact ISS

CDU International College students may seek further support from your dedicated CDU International College Student Support team.

Contact CDUIC Student Support


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