Welfare arrangements for students under 18

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If you are applying for a student visa and you are under 18 years old, you must put adequate welfare arrangements in place or tell us if you will be 18 when you arrive in Australia.

If you will turn 18 before you arrive in Australia, you will not need to put welfare arrangements in place but you must still attach Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian (178KB PDF). Complete questions 1 to 8. Your parent or legal custodian must sign the form.

If you will be under 18 when you are in Australia, you must do one of the following:

  • Nominate a parent / legal custodian or a relative over 21 years as your student guardian. This person must have a visa to remain in Australia for the duration of your student visa or until you turn 18. Use Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian (178KB PDF).
  • Provide evidence that a parent / legal custodian or relative over 21 years will accompany you as a Student Guardian visa (subclass 590) holder. This person must apply for the visa and attach Form 157N Nomination of a student guardian (178KB PDF) with their application.
  • Organise for your education provider to approve your welfare arrangements. The provider will issue a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter. The provider will tell us when your welfare arrangements start and end.
  • Provide your Acceptance Advice of Secondary Exchange Student (AASES) form if you are a secondary exchange student.

You must have welfare arrangements in place until you turn 18, even if this is before your course commences.

You must not enter Australia before your welfare arrangements start. This is a condition of your visa. If you breach your visa conditions, your visa could be cancelled.

Minimum length of welfare arrangements

If your welfare arrangements are approved by your education provider, the minimum period stated on the Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare letter must be the period of the CoE plus seven days at the end of the CoE or until you turn 18. We recommend the provider take responsibility for your welfare at least a week before your course commences.

If granted, the student visa will be granted according to the dates of the welfare arrangements. If the student has turned 18 during studies the standard visa end date will be applied.

Enrolling with more than one provider

If you are enrolled in two or more courses with more than one provider, you must show evidence that you have continuous welfare arrangements in place. If the education providers are approving your welfare arrangements, there must not be a gap in between the dates nominated by both providers. 

Student visa applications made in Australia

If you are applying for a student visa in Australia, you still need to show that you have adequate welfare arrangements in place at the time you lodge your student visa application in order to submit a valid application.

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 cannot 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 that:

  • there are compelling and compassionate circumstances
  • you have made alternative welfare arrangements for the student’s accommodation, general welfare and support until you return.

You can make the following alternative welfare arrangements:

  • You can nominate an alternative student guardian who must be, except in limited circumstances, a parent or relative aged 21 years or over. Form157N Nomination of a student guardian (178KB PDF) will outline what documentation you need to provide when nominating a student guardian. Send this form, the education provider’s approval (in a letter or email) and the required documentation to your nearest office before you leave Australia.
  • The student’s education provider can take responsibility for their welfare by issuing a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter which will state the start and end dates for approval of welfare arrangements.

We will advise you or your guardian, if they hold a Student Guardian visa, if the alternative arrangements have been approved. If the arrangements are not considered suitable by us, your guardian cannot leave Australia without you.

If you do not maintain adequate welfare arrangements, your visa could be cancelled.