Translating Documents

The University of Sydney requires any submitted documents to be either in English or officially translated to English. To find a translator go to the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters service website (NAATI). If you have a document translated overseas, it must be by an approved translation service in your country of residence, such as an embassy. Contact the Australia diplomatic mission or consulate for a list of approved translation services in your country.

Your Study Load

As an international student, you are normally required to maintain a full time study load of 24 credit points per semester in order to complete your degree in the minimum possible time. Always check with the International Services website or email if you are thinking of making changes with your enrolment

You may be able reduce your study load in “compassionate or compelling circumstances”, including illness, misadventure (such as death or injury), or other similar circumstances, by applying through Sydney Student. The same process applies if you want to take a semester off. Attach evidence with your request, such as a medical certificate or statutory declaration. The faculty may then provide you with a waiver to do so. You may also request to reduce your study load if you have been asked to ‘show good cause’. This can give you extra time to improve your marks. Talk to a student advisor in your faculty to seek their permission to enrol in 18 credit points for the semester. The University may consider the effects of COVID-19 as a compassionate or compelling circumstance.

If you need to discontinue late in the semester, because of illness or misadventure, you may be able to get a Discontinue – not to count as fail (DC) grade. Conditions apply so check the SRC leaflet “Discontinue Not Fail”, or make an appointment to speak to a SRC caseworker.

If you take a semester away from study you can seek permission from the University to suspend your study. This will only be approved in limited circumstances. Seek permission before classes start. Seek advice if it is not approved.

You can also discontinue your degree and later seek to re-enrol. You would then need to re-apply and be granted a Visa. This is not guaranteed. Always seek advice from the International Services and the SRC before making this decision.

To make an appointment with an SRC caseworker call (02) 9660 5222. Alternatively email details about your situation:

Fee Refunds

Consider the information on the University’s website, as well as their policy. This outlines your rights and responsibilities.

Your ability to gain a fee refund depends on your circumstances:

  • Approved suspension, notice given before teaching period starts, wants to return to study next semester – all fees transferred to next semester (if you notify them that you want this).
  • Approved suspension, notice given before teaching period starts, does not want to return to study next semester – refund of fees minus 10% administration fee.
  • Approved suspension, notice given after teaching period starts, but before census date – refund of 50% or 100% of the fee credited to the next semester (but you must explicitly ask for this crediting).
  • Withdraw after census date – usually ineligible for refund.
  • Visa invalid or cancelled – usually 100% refund.
  • Exceptional circumstances, e.g., illness or misadventure after the census date.

You can talk to an SRC Caseworker about your specific situation.

Changing Universities

If you have completed less than 6 months of your course, but want to go to a different University, you will need a ‘letter of release’. The University will only provide this letter if you have compassionate or compelling reasons, the course has not reasonably met your expectations based on the information provided by the University, you do not meet your course requirements, or your course is no longer offered. The University will not provide a letter of release if you have not already been accepted to another University, as this would breach your visa conditions. To apply use the form on the University’s website. Be sure to attach a statement giving the reasons for your request, a copy of your admission to your new University, and a copy of your passport.

If you are changing from your course to another course at the same level, you may not need to apply for a new student visa once you are accepted to your new University. If you are applying to a new course at a different level than the course you are currently studying, you may need to re-apply for a new student visa as soon as you are accepted to the new institution. If you are unsure of your eligibility to change universities or are worried about your student visa, make an appointment with the SRC’s Registered Migration Agent, An Li (MARN 1461414), by calling (02) 9660 5222.

Education Agents

As an international student you can seek advice from an Education Agent, before or after you arrive in Australia, about what University course may be best for you and how to enrol. Check to see if an Education Agent is registered or approved, and what courses are being offered. The NSW Government also has a website for international students with useful information on studying and living in Australia.


The University of Sydney is considered a public ‘registered provider’ of education in Australia. This means that if you are an international student, you have the right to make a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman if the University is in breach of the Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act. That is, the University has not followed its policies or there is procedural unfairness. You must have exhausted the University’s internal appeals process first before appealing to the NSW Ombudsman. If you have been excluded from University and have exhausted the University’s appeals process, making a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman. Your visa will not be cancelled as long as your Ombudsman complaint is being processed. If you plan to make a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman, you should so as soon as possible after you receive the result of your exclusion appeal from the University. Note, this does not mean you will remain enrolled in University or can attend classes. Check with the SRC Caseworkers if you have questions about the University’s appeals process. For more information on making a complaint go to NSW Ombudsman.

Advice and Support

The SRC offers free visa advice through the Registered Migration Agent, An Li (MARN 1461414). Call the SRC on 9660 5222 to make an appointment with her. Bring a copy of your student visa with you to your appointment. You can access this by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). For a list of other registered migration agents, you can search on the Australian Government website.

If you have academic progression or scholarship issues, speak to an SRC Caseworker.

Important Notice and Disclaimer:

This information does not constitute Legal advice. Seek qualified professional advice before making decisions about educational, financial, migration or legal matters. This information can change from time to time. Check for the most up to date information.

In particular for all Visa matters seek the advice of a Registered Migration Agent.

Information current as at May 2020