Bringing your family to Australia

It is an Immigration policy that school-age dependants of international students attend school while they are in Australia. You are responsible for arranging education for your school-age dependants. You may have to enrol your school-age children provisionally before leaving the country and may have to pay their school fees in advance.

Most student visas allow you to bring your family members to Australia as your dependants. For more information, check your individual circumstances with the Department of Home Affairs (See: Arranging Visas). Family members include your spouse, and you and your spouse’s dependent children. Before bringing your spouse or children to Australia, you will have to prove that you can support them financially. The cost of supporting a family in Australia is very high. You may have to consider and discuss many issues with your family.

Costs for students with families

You will have new and ongoing expenses during your time in Australia. Knowing the average living cost is an important step when preparing to study in Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) advises that a single international student requires approximately AU$20,000 per year for living costs, see: These expenses are on top of your tuition and study fees and include costs like accommodation, food, text books, transport and other things you will need while in Australia. Living costs vary according to your circumstances and lifestyle, including the type of accommodation you choose, its location, the number of people you live with.

Cost of living

To help you understand the costs involved we have developed a sample student budget for you with family and without family. Please note that this is to be used as a guide only, as the actual cost of living depends upon the individual student's circumstance and lifestyle.

Sample weekly expenses

 Lone person aged under 35Couple only(reference person aged under 35)Couple with kids(eldest child under 5)Couple with kids(eldest child between 5-14)Couple with kids(eldest child between 14-24)
Housing (shared)$278$360$364$325$242
Fuel & power$20$26$28$43$48
Food & drink$104$207$224$279$314
Clothing & footwear$23$52$54$64$82
Medical & health expenses$24$58$67$77$104

Refer to the Money Smart website for further information on the average costs of supporting a family within each city in each state of Australia.

Issues to Consider

Rather than bringing your family together with you to Australia, some students may find it useful to arrive first, settle into studies, find appropriate accommodation, adjust to living in Australia and then arrange for their family to join them.

Before making a decision to bring your family to Australia it is important to consider the following issues:


If you plan to bring your child under the age of five and if your spouse is unable to care for them, then you must make arrangements for child-care prior to arriving in Australia. Please note that child-care placement is not guaranteed, therefore, you must arrange long before you plan to arrive in Australia.

When selecting a child-care centre, make sure it is a government-approved facility.

To find information on New South Wales child-care centres, refer to the NSW Department of Education.

For information on Victoria child-care centres, refer to the Victoria Department of Education and Training.

Schools for your children

If you plan to bring your school aged children to Australia, you must enroll them in school. Arrangements for schooling must be made prior to any child arriving into Australia. For a complete list of primary and secondary schools including tuition fees, application, and enrolment, visit the relevant school directory: