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Can your family accompany you to Australia on your student visa?

Members of the family unit may apply for a student (Subclass 570–576) visa to live with the student in Australia as their family unit members.

Antony Chacko

Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by an English translation. The translator should be recognised by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

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A member of the family unit is the student’s partner (spouse or de facto) or a dependent child of the student or the student partner’s child who is unmarried, not in a de facto relationship and who has not turned 18. Members of the family unit may apply for a student (Subclass 570–576) visa to live with the student in Australia as their family unit members. They can apply at the same time as the student, or after they have arrived in Australia. 

However, the student’s family members cannot be granted a student visa if their application is subject to Assessment Level 3, 4 or 5 and the student’s proposed course of study is 12 months or less in duration. All members of the student’s family unit must be declared on the student’s application whether or not they intend to travel to Australia at any time. A member of the family unit failing to declare will not be eligible to enter Australia as the student’s family unit member, apart from a person who becomes a member after the student’s application was decided. 
 
A person who becomes a member after the student lodging their application and before it is decided is eligible for entry provided the student should inform the department in writing of that member’s personal particulars and provide evidence of their relationship to the student. Periods of stay granted to members of the family unit will generally be the same as the student’s period of stay. Family members should ensure that they always hold a valid visa while in Australia. The student’s partner will have a condition on their visa that limits their period of study in Australia to a maximum of 3 months. If the student’s partner wants to undertake a course of study beyond this period they must apply for a student visa in their own right. This application to change the status from family unit member to student can be done in Australia. 
 
A school-age family unit member, a child who has turned five but has not turned 18 years of age who will with the student in Australia is expected to attend school in Australia. Student should provide evidence of enrolment for them if they want them to be granted a student visa as a family unit member. Generally, public and private schools charge fees for family unit members of student visa holders.  The student should check the exact fees with the school where their family unit member will be studying. The students should take responsibility for their education expenses in Australia. 
 

How to lodge your application 

Students, who are applying in Australia, possibly be for a visa extension or a visa status change can apply in person, by mail or through the department’s website electronically. Electronic lodgement through the department’s website is the preferred method of lodgement.
  

Applying in person 

In some states or territories in Australia students may have to book an appointment to file their application. Before gong in person, telephone the department on 131 881 for advice about whether the student needs an appointment. If the student needs an appointment, he/she can book one when they telephone the department. 
Students should complete application form 157A for a student visa and lodge it with their supporting documents at an appropriate Australian Government office if they are applying outside Australia or at any office of the department before their current visa expires.
 

Electronic student visa 

Students are qualified to apply through the department’s website for an electronic student visa and eligibility is restricted if:
  • The student is seeking permission to work 
  • The visa holder is looking to further his/her student visa 
  • An assessment Level 1 applicant is seeking to apply for a student visa. Outside Australia, every Assessment Level 1 student is qualified to apply for a student visa on the internet. 
 

By post: 

Student Visa Centre (South Australia) 
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 
GPO Box 1393 
ADELAIDE SA 5001 
 

By courier: 

Student Visa Centre (South Australia) 
Department of Immigration and Citizenship 
4th Floor 
55 Currie Street 
ADELAIDE SA 5000
 

Residential address 

Students should provide the address of the place where they intend to live while their application is processed. Failing to offer a residential address will result in their application being worthless. The department will not accept a post office box address as a residential address. 
 

Consent to Communicate Electronically 

To communicate or intimate applicants the department may use a range of means to communicate. So far, electronic means such as fax or e-mail will only be used if students have specifically indicated their agreement to receiving communication in a convinced way. For the student’s application to be processed, the department may need to contact them about sensitive information like financial viability, personal relationships, health and police checks. Electronic communications, unless effectively encrypted, are not safe and could be viewed by others or interfered with. If students be in agreement with the department communicating with them by electronic means, the information that students offer will only be used by the department for the purpose for which they have given them, unless there is a legal obligation or necessity to use them for another reason, or the students have given consent to use for another purpose.
 
The Australian Government is clear and accepts no responsibility for the security or integrity of any information sent to the department over the internet or by any other electronic means.
 

Visa Application Charge 

Students are required to pay the Visa Application Charge of AUD. 552.72/Rs. 30,896.61, unless they are sponsored by the Commonwealth of Australia or participating in a formal secondary exchange program. In few conditions they may not be required to pay a Visa Application Charge if their education provider ceased to offer the student’s course. 
 
The visa application fees may be subject to adjustment at any time and visa application Charges may be subject to adjustment on 1 July each year which may contribute to the cost of a visa. Payment should be made upon application and is generally not refunded even if the application is unsuccessful. 
 

Method of payment 

Students can make a payment by debit card, credit card, cheque or money order made payable to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Foreign students before making a payment outside Australia, should check with the Australian Government office where they intend to lodge their application as to what method of payment and currencies will be accepted and to whom the payment should be made payable. International applicants should submit supporting documents with their application. Students must necessarily provide all of the supporting documentation needed to support their application, certified or notarised copies and declare in their application form that they have attached all the required documents. 
 
‘Certified copies’ are copies authorised or stamped authenticating them as being true copies of the originals by a person or agency recognised by the law of your home country to perform such functions. When in Australia, copies may be certified by a Justice of the Peace, a Commissioner for Declarations or any person before whom a statutory declaration may be made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959. The supporting documents/transcripts required may vary depending on the student’s assessment level and the education sector of their main course of study. 
 

English Translations 

Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by an English translation. If students are applying for a visa in in Australia, the translator should be credited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) translators are NAATI-accredited. 
 

Withdrawal of application 

Students can withdraw their application in writing at any time before a decision is made and any charges that students have paid at the time they lodged their application are usually non-refundable. If students have applied for a visa in Australia, they will be granted a bridging visa at the time they have made their application. When students take out their application, the bridging visa will stop to be in effect after 28 days from the date of withdrawal. As a result, students will be an unlawful non-citizen 28 days after the withdrawal if they have not departed Australia within that time and students do not hold another valid visa. 
 

Review rights 

If a student visa is refused, the student can apply for a review of the decision. Students will be informed of their review rights in writing and the time limits for lodging such an appeal. 
 

Re-entry to Australia 

A student visa permits multiple entries to Australia and if students or students’ members of their family unit are planning to leave and return to Australia during the period of the students’ study, the students and their family members must ensure that they re-enter Australia before the expiry of their visa. When the student or the student’s members of the family look to re-enter Australia after the student visa has expired, they should apply for a new student visa overseas, pay for the visa application charge and meet visa requirements current at the time.
 
Students can apply for a further student visa in Australia if they want to extend their stay in Australia to complete their current course or to enrol in a new course, they should apply for a new student visa before their current student visa or another visa they hold expires. Students will not be granted a new student visa if they hold a student visa with a ‘no further stay’ condition
 
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