International enrolment or visa FAQs

Do you have a question about your enrolment or visa? We’re here to help.

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) cover important information about your visa, residency, course and how to structure your enrolment correctly.


Whether you are considered as a domestic or international student depends on your residency status.

You are a domestic student if you are:

  • An Australian citizen
  • Or, an Australian permanent resident
  • Or, a New Zealand citizen
  • Or, an Australian humanitarian visa holder (permanent)

You will be considered as an international student if you do not fall under any of the categories listed above.

After you’ve accepted your offer, you’ll receive a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). You need to submit it to the Department of Home Affairs with your student visa application. It includes important information about your course and will reflect the details outlined in your Letter of Offer from La Trobe.

A student visa (subclass 500) is a temporary visa that allows you to come to Australia for a specified period to study at an Australian educational institution. You will need to apply for a course and accept the full offer then you will be issued with a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) which you can then use to apply for a student visa (subclass 500). For more information, please click here.

Your CoE will include the date you’re expected to finish your course. The duration of your student visa will be based on this date.

You must complete your course within the time granted by your student visa. Except in extremely limited circumstances, you cannot stay in Australia beyond your visa expiry date.

If your visa expires and you don’t have a valid CoE, you need to contact the Department of Home Affairs urgently to check what you should do.

To apply for an updated CoE, you’ll need to submit a CoE application. This can take up to seven working days in peak periods. To find out more, visit applying for a student visa.

To apply for an updated Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), complete the online Application for Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) form and provide:

  • a copy of your passport
  • a copy of your current visa page or e-visa
  • a receipt showing that you have extended your OSHC
  • coursework student - your Agreed Progression Plan (APP)
  • research student - progress review report.

If you need further information about the CoE process, please contact La Trobe International.

If you are currently on a bridging visa, while waiting for the decision on the substantiative visa, you are still considered as an international student at this stage and the international student fees will apply.

If you start as an international student and receive your permanent residency in the middle of your study, you will need to notify our International Student Services (ISS) team at that time with your residency status change proof. For more information, please check here.

Depending on your course, you may have the option to defer your offer for up to one year. This means we’ll hold a place for you to enrol in your course the following semester or year.

Deferment is open to most students: Coursework or research, international students are able to request to defer, though not all courses can be deferred. International students on a student visa can only defer subject to conditions outlined in the National Code. To find out more, visit deferring your offer.

Your visa length is usually based on a study load of four subjects (60 credit points) per semester. By enrolling in four subjects or 60 credit points each semester, you’ll be able to complete your course within the duration of your visa.

If you’re a Higher Degree Research (HDR) student, your visa will include an additional six months from the course end date specified on your CoE. This is to allow time for your thesis to be marked. Read more on the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you are an international student visa holder, you’re required to enrol in four subjects (60 credit points) in each compulsory study period (e.g. Semester 1 or 2). We’ll monitor your course progress to ensure you complete your course within the duration specified on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

You can request to enrol in less than 60 credit points (underload) due to compassionate or compelling circumstances, and also course structure reasons. Email ASK La Trobe to discuss a new Agreed Progression Plan (APP).  You may be required to provide appropriate supporting documentation.

You’ll need to submit an application for visa extension with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Make sure you have all the required documents before applying for your Student Visa (subclass 500). You must begin the process at least three months before the expiry date of your current visa.

Be aware of the expiry date of your student visa as you must either depart Australia before it expires or lodge a new visa application.

If your visa expires you need to contact the Department of Home Affairs immediately. If your visa has expired for more than 28 days an exclusion period may be imposed which means you cannot return to Australia for three years.

Yes, you can. Your course duration will include any approved Advanced Standing (credit from your previous studies). Advanced Standing may reduce the number of subjects you need to do to successfully complete your course and potentially reduce the number of semesters you need to complete.

You can enrol in online or off-campus subjects where your course permits, if you’re also enrolled in at least one on-campus subject during the compulsory study periods (i.e. Semester 1 and 2).

Under the ESOS National Code, you may enrol in online or off-campus subjects up to a maximum of one-third (rounded to 33 per cent) of your total course load. If you are unsure, ask the La Trobe International team through ASK La Trobe.

If your residency status changes before or after you commence your studies, you must tell La Trobe International immediately.

If you apply as an international student but become an Australian permanent resident before you enrol, your full-fee paying place will be withdrawn and you will have to re-apply for your course as a local student.

If you start your course as an international student, but become an Australian permanent resident after the census date of your current teaching period, you will be considered an international student until the end of that teaching period.

Please complete the Change of citizenship or residency status form. You will need a certified copy of your Australian Citizenship Certificate or residency change document and a copy of your passport with the change reflected.

Failing subjects

There’s no need to panic if you fail a subject. La Trobe staff will contact you as part of Academic progress, a program where we work with you to help you succeed.

Depending on how many subjects you have failed, you may need to complete an Agreed Progress Plan (APP). We recommend you discuss this with your College.


As an international student visa holder, you may be eligible to transfer to another La Trobe course. Find out more about transferring to another course.

Transferring into a different course may affect your visa. The Department of Home Affairs will automatically be notified of the changes to your enrolment.

If your visa is valid for the duration of the new course, you don't need to apply for a visa extension.

You need to apply for a new visa if:

  • your visa does not cover the entire duration of the new course
  • you are intending to transfer to a course at a lower AQF level (for example, from a Bachelor Degree to a Diploma, or Masters to Bachelor Degree).

You need to ensure your passport is valid at all times while studying in Australia, and that you meet visa conditions at all times.

Please contact La Trobe International and the Department of Home Affairs before making the change.

If you apply for a course transfer and are granted Advanced Standing, the course duration will be based on the number of credit points required to complete the course. Your College will calculate this number.

We recommend that you explore all your options before you decide to discontinue your studies. Find out more at withdrawing from your course.

Leave, working, and additional information

Taking a break from your studies is called a leave of absence. If you intend to take a Leave of Absence, make sure you apply before the census dates of your currently enrolled subjects to ensure you're not financially liable for any of the subject fees during the study period that you're on leave. This could affect your student visa, so please speak with the Department of Home Affairs before you apply.

Each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis according to La Trobe's leave of absence policy and procedures. You must remain enrolled and attend classes until you receive confirmation that your Leave of Absence has been approved by the University.

We will report your leave of absence to the Department of Home Affairs. This means you will need to have a CoE in place when you apply to prove you are returning to your studies.

You may need to leave Australia for the period of your leave of absence. The Department of Home Affairs will advise you if this is the case.

Learn more about a leave of absence at Withdrawal and leave of absence.

If you have an appointment with your Student Advising Team or other staff members of La Trobe University, we recommend you bring:

  • your passport and evidence of your visa
  • any supporting documentary evidence (certified and in English) relating to your individual circumstances.

As a student visa holder, you are permitted to work in Australia to supplement your income.

Student visas are subject to condition 8104 or 8105, which allow limited work in Australia. Under these conditions:

  • You (and your dependents, if any) can only work after you have commenced your course.
  • You (and your dependents, if any) must adhere to the work-hour restrictions set out in your visa conditions.

Please visit the Department of Home Affairs website for more information about working in Australia.

Student work hours restrictions:

Student type

When course is in session

When course isn't in session

Coursework students who have started their degree

48 hours per fortnight*

Unlimited hours

Graduate researchers who have started their degree

Unlimited hours


AusAwards or Defence students

48 hours per fortnight*

Unlimited hours

*48 hours per fortnight takes effect from 1 July 2023

When your course is not in session, you may work unlimited hours if:

  • it does not interfere with your studies.
  • you are not enrolled in a Summer or Winter Semester.

Your course is considered in session:

  • For the duration of advertised semesters or terms, including examination periods (even if you do not have any exams).
  • Any time you are enrolled in one or more subjects which will count as credit towards your main course.

To find out the semester dates, as well as the examination period dates, see the University’s Academic calendar. If you are enrolled in an intensive or non-standard subject, refer to the subject's entry in the University Handbook for teaching and assessment period dates.

WIL Subjects:

Hours worked for internship subjects undertaken as electives will count towards your student visa work hour limits.

Voluntary work:

One way to gain valuable work experience is to work as a volunteer. Hours spent volunteering will not count towards your student visa work hour limits, if:

  • your main purpose in Australia continues to be your studies (and any work remains a secondary activity)
  • the work is genuinely voluntary and would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident as employment.
  • the activities are for a non-profit organisation and no remuneration (in cash or kind) is received in return.

Please visit the Department of Home Affairs website for more information about working in Australia.

You can speak to staff at ASK La Trobe for advice on your studies.

We recommend you contact the Department of Home Affairs about visa-related matters.