Foreign Affairs or Defence sector visa (subclass 576)

Sunday 5 November 2023

Visa Overview

The Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector visa (subclass 576) is a visa that was previously available for individuals seeking to study in Australia. However, as of July 1, 2016, this visa is no longer open for new applications. Instead, individuals who wish to extend their stay in Australia for educational purposes must now apply for a Student Visa (subclass 500).

Visa Holders

If you have already been granted a Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector visa (subclass 576) or have applied for the visa on or before June 30, 2016, this information applies to you. It is important to understand your rights and obligations as a visa holder.

You can easily check your visa details and conditions using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service, which is available free of charge.

Duration of the Visa

If you currently hold a Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector visa (subclass 576), it will remain valid until the expiry date specified when your visa was granted.

Permitted Activities

The Foreign Affairs or Defence Sector visa (subclass 576) allows you to engage in the following activities:

  • Study in Australia
  • Bring eligible dependant family members to Australia
  • Work up to 40 hours per fortnight while your course is in session and unlimited hours during scheduled course breaks (Masters and Doctorate course students can work unlimited hours)
  • Allow your family members to work up to 40 hours per fortnight if you have commenced your course of study in Australia (unlimited hours for family members of Masters and Doctorate course students)
  • Permit your family members who are 18 years or older to study in Australia for up to three months. If they wish to study for a longer duration, they must apply for their own student visa.



As a student visa holder, it is crucial to comply with the conditions of your visa while studying and living in Australia. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your visa. Additionally, you must also adhere to Australian laws.

You can verify the specific conditions that apply to your visa by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service or referring to your visa grant letter.

Students Under 18 Years of Age

If you are under 18 years of age, it is your responsibility to maintain suitable accommodation, support, and general welfare arrangements throughout the duration of your visa or until you turn 18.

Changing Your Education Provider

If you wish to transfer to a different education provider, you must obtain a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) or the Department of Defence, confirming that your transfer has been approved by them.

'No Further Stay' Condition

Some visas are issued with a 'no further stay' condition, which means that you are not allowed to apply for an extension of your stay in Australia beyond the specified date on your visa, except in certain circumstances.

Reporting Changes in Circumstances

It is essential to inform the relevant authorities if your circumstances change while you are in Australia. This includes changes in your residential address, passport details, or significant life events such as pregnancy, birth, divorce, separation, marriage, de facto relationship, or death within your family.

You can report changes in your circumstances through ImmiAccount. In case you are unable to access ImmiAccount, you can utilize the following forms:

  • Form 929 - Change of address and/or passport details, for updating your address or passport information
  • Form 1022 - Notification of changes in circumstances, for reporting any other changes in your circumstances

Family Members

Dependent family members accompanying you must also comply with the visa conditions. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your visa and potential deportation from Australia. Your family members must:

  • Remain a member of your family for the duration of their stay in Australia
  • Have adequate financial support
  • Maintain adequate health cover
  • Work no more than 40 hours per fortnight, which can only commence after you have started your course (unlimited hours if you are pursuing a Masters or Doctorate course)
  • Attend school if they are of school age

Important Note: It is your responsibility to ensure that your family members meet the aforementioned conditions.

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