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Welfare and custody arrangements for students under 18

​​​​​​If you are applying for a student visa and you are under 18 years of age, you must give us:  

  • ​ a Form 1229 - Consent to grant an Australian visa to a child under the age of 18, or a statutory declaration from each parent or legal guardian with their consent. Your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must complete, sign and return the form. If you cannot provide consent from both parents or guardians, you need to provide evidence that one party has sole custody
  • evidence of adequate welfare arrangements

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:

  • 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
  • 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, or
  • to nominate a guardian, 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.
A nominated guardian must be: 
  • the parent of the student visa holder, or 
  • a person who has custody of the student, or 
  • a relative of the student, aged 21 years or older, nominated in writing by a parent or person who has custody of the student.

​A nominated guardian can hold: 

  • Australian citizenship 
  • a permanent visa
  • substantive temporary visa for the duration of the students stay or until they turn 18

They can also have applied for or hold a Subclass 590 visa.


For this visa, a relative is a: 
  • parent or step-parent
  • grandparent or step-grandparent
  • sibling or step-sibling
  • aunt, uncle, step-aunt or step-uncle
Include in your application: 
  • ​Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian to your application ​​​
  • proof of relationship to the student, for example the birth certificate of the student, parent(s) and nominated guardian
  • a police certificate for every country the guardian has lived in for more than 12 months in the last 10 years since turning 16, if not a parent/legal custodian
  • a copy of the guardian's passport including biodata and signature page
  • evidence of residency in Australia if they already hold a substantive visa. ​

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. You cannot arrive before the welfare commencement date on your CAAW.

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 need our approval if you need to change your welfare arrangements. 

If your guardian needs to depart Australia while you stay here, before they leave, your guardian must provide evidence: 

  • ​there is a compelling and compassionate reason for their travel
  • they have made alternative welfare arrangements for your accomodation, general welfare and support until they return


Request approval of alternative welfare arrangements

Your guardian can nominate another guardian. This person must be (except in limited situations) a parent or close family relative aged 21 years or over. Before your 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 to explain 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 guardian.​

Your education provider can issue a CAAW letter. This letter must include the start and end date 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, if not a parent/legal custodian
  • a copy of the guardian’s passport biodata page
  • evidence of residency for the nominated guardian.

To submit your change of welfare arrangements, see 'Your study situation has changed'​. ​​​

Your guardian cannot leave Australia without you if the alternative welfare arrangements are not suitable.​ If your guardian holds a Student Guardian visa, we will tell you or your guardian if we have approved the alternative arrangements.

If you do not maintain adequate welfare arrangements, we may cancel your visa. We may also cancel your student guardian’s visa.