About the International Student Program

This program offers students applying for a student visa the opportunity to experience our inclusive school culture, first-class teaching and learning, gain high-level English language skills, and experience an Australian lifestyle.

Students may apply to complete their secondary education in a NSW government school or for up to 2 years of study in primary school.

Students who successfully complete their studies in Year 12 are awarded a Higher School Certificate (HSC) and an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

Eligibility requirements

General

Students need to:

  • be age appropriate for the year level applied for
  • demonstrate an ongoing enrolment in a mainstream school
  • achieve good passing grades in their main academic subjects
  • choose an appropriate accommodation option for the level of studies applied for (see more in Accommodation Options below).

English

Students applying for direct entry into junior high school (Years 7-10) must provide:

  • an IELTS result (general or academic) of 5.0 with no individual band below 4.5, or an equivalent result in an another English language test such as TOEFL, TOEFL Junior, AEAS, Eiken or CEFR
  • evidence of studying for a minimum of two years at a school where all subjects, except languages, were taught in English.

Students applying for direct entry into senior high school (Year 11) must provide:

  • an IELTS result (general or academic) of 5.5 with no individual band below 5.0, or an equivalent result in an another English language test such as TOEFL, TOEFL Junior, AEAS, Eiken or CEFR
  • evidence of studying for a minimum of two years at a school where all subjects, except languages, were taught in English.

Students who cannot demonstrate they have met the minimum English levels for direct entry into high school will be required to enrol in a NSW government schools – Intensive English Centre (IEC), as preparation for studying in a NSW government high school.

There are no English language requirements for entry into primary school (Kindergarten to Year 6).

Start dates

Students may apply for enrolment at the beginning of a school term

Primary school

Primary school applicants can enrol from Term 1 to Term 4.

Junior school

High school applicants for Years 7-10 can enrol from Term 1 to Term 4.

Senior high school

Senior high school applicants for Year 11 must enrol in Term 1 or Term 2 only. It is our recommendation to enrol in Year 11 in January to ensure you have the most amount of time to learn the Preliminary HSC curriculum.

Intensive English Centre

Students applying for a package commencing with an enrolment in an Intensive English Centre can enrol from Term 1 to Term 4.

Choose a school

NSW government schools may only enrol international students if there is still capacity after calculating for unexpected enrolments from local residents. International students are not eligible to enrol in a selective high school.

Students can choose from a wide range of comprehensive schools across Sydney and New South Wales. Most schools are co-educational, with a small number of boys only or girls only schools. There are also a range of schools specialising in:

  • Performing arts (e.g. music, dance)
  • Creative and visual arts (e.g. painting, drawing, sculpting)
  • Languages
  • Sport.

Each school has a catchment area where students must live in to be eligible to enrol at the school. Students who will be living with a relative or have nominated a carer to be approved will need to enrol at a school that is local to the address for the relative or carer.

Students who have requested a homestay placement or who will be living with their parent will have a wider range of locations to choose a school from. There are some areas of Sydney and regional NSW where DE International is unable to find homestay families.

Find a school >

English language support

Our Intensive English Centres help prepare students whose English need further development to enrol into a NSW government high school. Students typically need to study 2 terms in an Intensive English Centre before progressing to a NSW government high school where they will receive continued ESL support.

Find out more about Intensive English Centres >

Accommodation options

Students can choose from one of the following accommodation (welfare) options

Living with a parent

Nominating a parent who will be accompanying the student on a guardian visa is required for Kindergarten to Year 4 and optional for all other year levels

Live with a direct relative

Nominating a direct relative as a carer to be approved by the Department of Home Affairs. Required for Years 5-8 and optional for Years 9-12.

Live with a distant relative or close family friend

Nominating a distant relative or close family friend as carer to be approved by the NSW Department of Education. Available for Years 9 and above only.

Live with a homestay family

Requesting a homestay placement is available for students in Years 9 and above only.

Visa and immigration requirements

After an offer of placement has been accepted by the student and payment of fees received, DE International will issue a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which is used to apply for a student visa.

Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) criteria

The Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement is an integrity measure used by the Department of Home Affairs in its assessment of student visa applicants to ensure that the visa will be used for study purposes only and to verify a genuine intention to stay in Australia temporarily.

To comply with student visa regulations, DE International will assess all applications against the GTE requirements.

In some cases applicants will be asked to apply through an education agent registered with DE International who will assist with the visa application, including GTE assessment.

Students must hold a valid student visa in order to enrol in a NSW government school under this program.

Find an agent >

Overseas Student Health Cover

As part of the student visa application students need to demonstrate that they have purchased compulsory Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as insurance to cover the duration of their stay in Australia.

OSHC provides partial reimbursement to students for medical expenses including doctors, specialists and various hospital services.

Find out more >

Fees

International students must pay an application fee when submitting an application. A statement of fees is issued by DE International with a letter of offer, stating fees that must be paid in order to accept the offer and to receive a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

Students may choose to pay more than 50% of their tuition fees before the course commences.

Find out more >

Responsibilities of international students

International students must meet student visa requirements, including:

  • Maintaining a minimum of 80% attendance of all classes
  • Meeting course progress requirements
  • Maintaining approved living arrangements
  • Abiding by Australian laws.

Further information on these conditions and other processes for requesting leave, requesting a change to living arrangements or making a complaint or appeal can be found in our Information for International Students handout.

Support for overseas students during their stay

Our schools provide a range of support services to ensure our students settle in, are well supported and achieve their best. These include:

  • student support team consisting of an international student coordinator, year advisor, counsellor and careers counsellor
  • English language support
  • homework centre.

Find out more >

How to apply

Apply now to secure your place in a NSW government school and begin your study journey.

Students are encouraged to apply through an education agent registered with DE International, who will be able to provide in-depth advice about our schools, application process and assist with the difficult student visa application process.

Application process >

NSW Government Schools want each and every student to have a rewarding Australian study experience. We have developed an interactive guide which provides students and parents with important and helpful information.

Pre-departure guide >

The Australian Government is committed to providing international students with a safe, enjoyable and rewarding study experience in Australia.

Learn more about the ESOS framework