Bringing your family

Some student visa holders are permitted to bring their immediate family members to Australia as dependents, either by including them in the initial student visa application or by applying for their dependents to join them after the course commencement. You must declare all immediate family members on your application, even if you do not plan to travel with them to Australia. If you don't do this, your family members will not be eligible to join you in Australia.

Before bringing your family to Australia, it is important that you consider the following information associated with moving your family to a new country. These include :

For further information please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.

Applying for a dependent visa

If you are looking to bring your spouse and/or family to join you in Australia as dependents, you:

Your spouse and/or family can use these documents to lodge their visa application(s) at the nearest Department of Home Affairs office.

Childcare and schools

It is a visa requirement that school-aged children (primary or secondary school age) are enrolled in school. The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development website lists all the schools that admit international students.

If you are an Australian Government sponsored student (e.g. IPRS, Australian Awards), tuition fees for your children are the same as for Australian citizens.

International postgraduate research students at Victorian universities receive full exemption from tuition fees for their dependents in government primary and secondary schools. There is no restriction on the number of dependents. This exemption applies only for the duration of the 574 visa; if your visa class changes, you may be required to pay tuition fees for your dependents.


There are often long waiting lists for childcare services in Australia. If you are going to need childcare, it is recommended you contact them as early as possible. At La Trobe University, most campuses have access to childcare services on campus. Generally, there are three types of childcare services in Australia:

  • Community childcare – you need to register with your local council. Fees and waiting lists usually apply, so register early. Find your local childcare service at
  • Private childcare – you need to register with each service individually. Search online for listings. Search the phone book for private child care providers in your area. Fees and waiting lists can apply.
  • Family day care – placing your child in someone's home who is a registered child carer. Usually through your local council. Fees and waiting lists usually apply so register early.


If you have school-aged dependents accompanying you to Australia, it is a visa requirement that you enrol them in a school.

School is compulsory for all Victorian children aged between 5 and 17 years of age, and are either government-funded (state schools) with lower fees and costs, or privately run (private schools) with higher fees. Private schools are often based around a religion.

  • Primary schools - primary school starts from aged 5 (Prep) to Grade 6 (aged approximately 11). Children who turn 5 before 30 April are eligible to start.
  • Secondary schools - secondary school or high school starts with Year 7 (approximately aged 12) to Year 12 or VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education, aged 17-18).

You will be required to pay school fees for your dependents at a government school unless you fall into one of the following categories:

  • you are the recipient of an Australian Government scholarship
  • you hold a 576 (Australia Awards or Defence scholarship)
  • you hold a 574 (Postgraduate Research) visa
  • you are receiving an Endeavour Postgraduate Award that covers the entire cost of your tuition fees.

The Victorian Government schools website has useful information and lists of schools.

Health cover for families

Your family members must also have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as one of the conditions of their visa. If you are on a single OSHC cover, you will need to pay additional premiums to add them to your membership. See OSHC information or visit Medibank OSHC.

Work and study rights for families

Your family members' visa is subject to a number of visa conditions that they must comply with. Ensure you check these conditions on the Department of Home Affairs website.

You and your dependents will have permission to work automatically included in your student visa. There are some conditions for working in Australia for dependent family members granted Permission to Work. Make sure you comply with the work entitlements.

Dependents who are over 18 years old cannot study in Australia for more than three months. If they wish to study for longer, they are then required to apply for their own student visa. Your spouse can also study whilst they are in Australia for up to 3 months. If they wish to study for longer, they are then required to apply for their own student visa.