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USI in higher education

Domestic Students

From 1 January 2023, all higher education students, including those who commenced prior to 2021, must have a USI to:

  • be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and Commonwealth financial assistance (HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, SA-HELP) 
  • to graduate and receive their award.

International Students

International students studying in Australia with an Australian education or training provider need to get a USI to receive their award.

International students cannot create a USI until they have arrived in Australia.


International students studying in Australia who have not yet arrived are not required to provide a USI as a condition of enrolment as they are unable to create a USI until they have entered Australia.

The Department of Education has advised that a USI must not be a mandatory requirement at enrolment for international students.

There is no legal requirement for international students who are currently in Australia, and are not accessing a CSP or HELP, to have their course enrolment cancelled if a valid USI is not provided by the census date. They do need to provide a valid USI at their earliest opportunity and no later than the point of award conferral.

This policy also applies to international students wishing to study vocational education and training (VET).


International students who commenced study after 1 January 2023 and will complete all or some of their studies in Australia, must have a USI. 

International students do not require a USI if they completed all their study outside of Australia.

International higher education students are automatically exempt from needing a USI if they commenced their study before 1 January 2023 and are not in Australia to receive their award. 

Students: refer to the International students and students studying overseas page for more information.  

Education or training providers: more information can be found at International Students – Exemptions from the USI.

What do students need to do? 

Students who are commencing study should: 

  • check if they already have a USI (from previous vocational education or training) 
  • get a USI as soon as possible 
  • provide their USI to their Tertiary Admissions Centre or Higher Education Provider when requested. 

Read more in our student FAQs. 

What do Higher Education Providers need to do? 

Higher Education Providers need to: 

  • encourage new students to apply for a USI as soon as possible 
  • request and record the USIs of commencing students on enrolment* 
  • ensure any student commencing in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) has provided a USI prior to census date 
  • ensure the CAF or eCAF includes the student’s USI 
  • report the USI as part of the DoE reporting cycle. 

* unless the student is an international student who has not yet entered Australia

Read more in our Higher Education Provider FAQs.  

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If you need help, please call us on 1300 857 536 or from outside on Australia +61 2 6240 8740. Our contact centre is open between 8:30am-6.30pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time), Monday to Friday (excluding national and South Australian public holidays).


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Office of the Student Identifiers Registrar (OSIR)
Last Modified on Thursday 23rd May 2024 [174]