If you are applying for a student visa and you are under 18 years of age, you must have adequate welfare arrangements in place.
If you turn 18 before you arrive in Australia
You do not need to have welfare arrangements in place, if you::
If you will be under 18 in Australia
You must either:
- nominate a parent, legal custodian or relative over 21 years of age as your student guardian. This person must have a visa to stay in Australia for the duration of your student visa or until you turn 18. You must attach a completed Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application. If your nominated guardian is applying for a student guardian (subclass TU-590) visa, both applications should be made at the same time, or
- arrange a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW). Unless you are a secondary exchange student or a Foreign Affairs or Defence student, organise for your education provider to approve your welfare arrangements. Your education provider will issue a CAAW and advise us of your welfare arrangements start and end date, or Foreign Affairs or Defence students
- provide your Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form if you are a secondary exchange student
- organise approval of your welfare arrangements from the relevant Minister, if you are a Foreign Affairs or Defence student.
Minimum length of welfare arrangements for students under 18
You must have welfare arrangements in place until you turn 18, even if you turn 18 before your course starts.
You must not enter Australia before your welfare arrangements start. This is a condition of your visa. If you breach your visa conditions we might cancel your visa. You must not change your welfare arrangements without written approval from your education provider.
If your education provider approves your welfare arrangements, the minimum period on the Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter must be:
- the same period of time as your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)
- plus 7 days at the end of your enrolment or until you turn 18
We recommend your provider takes responsibility for your welfare at least a week before your course starts.
If we grant your visa, we will consider the dates of your welfare arrangements when considering the visa period.
Enrolling with more than one provider
If you are enrolled in 2 or more courses with more than 1 provider, you must show us you have organised continuous welfare arrangements. If the education providers are approving your welfare arrangements, there cannot be a gap in the dates your providers have nominated for welfare arrangements.
Student visa applications made in Australia
If you are applying for a student visa while you are in Australia, you still need to show you have welfare arrangements in place when you lodge your application. Your application must have this information to be valid.
The welfare arrangements must start:
- the day after your current visa expires, or
- before or on the date you lodge your new student visa application
Alternative welfare arrangements
You can't change your welfare arrangements without our approval.
If you have a student guardian and they need to leave Australia while you stay here, you must make alternative welfare arrangements.
Your student guardian must provide evidence:
- of a compelling or compassionate reason for their travel
- that they have made alternative welfare arrangements for your accommodation, general welfare and support until they return
Request approval of alternative welfare arrangements
Your student guardian can nominate another student guardian. This person must be (except in limited situations) a parent or close family relative aged 21 years or over. Before your student guardian leaves Australia, they need to provide:
- A new Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application appointing a new guardian
- parent/legal custodian signature ID to verify the information within the Form 157N
- a statement explaining the compelling or compassionate reason for travel without the student
- a letter (or email) from the school approving the change of welfare request
- proof of welfare documents for the new student guardian.
Your education provider can issue a CAAW letter. This letter must outline the start and end dates of the alternative welfare arrangements.
If nominating a new guardian provide:
- proof of relationship to the student
- a police certificate for every country the guardian has lived in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years since turning 16 years, if not a parent/legal custodian
- a copy of the guardian’s passport biodata page
- evidence of residency for the nominated guardian.
Your guardian can't leave Australia without you if the alternative welfare arrangements are not suitable.
If you do not maintain adequate welfare arrangements, we may cancel your visa and/or your student guardian’s visa.