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Welfare arrangements for students under 18

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. But you must:

If you will be under 18 in Australia

You must either:

  • Nominate a student guardian

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.

Use Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application

  • 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.

  • Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES)

Provide your AASES form if you are a secondary exchange student.

  • Approval by Foreign Affairs or Defence Minister

If you are a Foreign Affairs or Defence student, organise approval of your welfare arrangements from the relevant Minister. 

Minimum length of welfare arrangements

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 travel to Australia until your welfare arrangements start and you must not change your arrangements without the written approval of 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.

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 student visa 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:

  • there is a compelling or compassionate reason for their travel
  • 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 relative aged 21 years or over. Before your student guardian leaves Australia, they need to send to our nearest office:

Your education provider can issue a CAAW letter. This letter must outline the start and end dates of the alternative welfare arrangements.

If your guardian holds a Student Guardian visa, we will let you or your guardian know if we have approved the alternative arrangements.

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.