National Code Part C: CRICOS registration

Please note this explanatory guide applies to the National Code 2017 and will not apply after 1 January 2018. Factsheets on the National Code 2018 are available here.

State and territory authorities recommend a provider for registration on CRICOS. Once the Department of Education gives its approval, the provider is permitted to offer courses to overseas students in that state. The authority must be satisfied the provider complies with the relevant legislation in its jurisdiction and Section 9 of the ESOS Act, which includes the requirements of the National Code.

Registration on CRICOS is for a particular course for a particular state or territory. Providers intending to offer courses in more than one state must register each course in each state where it will be taught.

If the provider changes ownership  resulting in a change to the previous legal entity registered on CRICOS  the new entity must obtain its own CRICOS registration.

Explanatory details are available on the following matters:


Sections 3–5          

  Registration on CRICOS

Section 6

Application for registration

Section 7

Course duration

Section 8

Work-based training

Section 9

Mode and place of study

Section 10

Arrangements with other providers

Section 11

Inspection of premises

Section 12

Maximum number of students





Part C of the National Code outlines registration of providers and courses on CRICOS. It provides a general description of the registration process under the ESOS legislative framework and specifies minimum requirements that apply to the registration process. This part needs to be read in conjunction with the ESOS Act, the ESOS Regulations, and Part D of the National Code, as they also set out requirements which need to be met for CRICOS registration.


Initial registration of providers and their courses on CRICOS involves two stages. The first stage is undertaken by the designated authority for that state or territory [1] and the second stage by the Department of Education. A provider is not registered to offer or provide courses in a state to an overseas student until both stages of this process have been completed.


Registration on CRICOS



Providers can only be registered on CRICOS where they have been approved by the designated authority to provide courses of education or training to overseas students in that state. This approval can only be given where the provider to be registered has been found to comply with all the requirements for registration under the relevant state or territory legislation and section 9 of the ESOS Act. This includes complying with the requirements of the National Code.


Registration on CRICOS is for a particular course for a particular state. A provider wishing to provide courses in more than one state must seek registration for each course in each state where it will be delivered.


In the event that a change of ownership of the registered provider results in a change to the previous legal entity registered on CRICOS, the new entity must obtain its own CRICOS registration.



Application for registration


In addition to meeting the general requirements for registration set out in this part, providers must submit applications for registration and re-registration in a form, to be determined by each designated authority, that contains at least the following information:


Details of the provider, including:


legal entity name and status of the provider (for example, company or individual)


trading name of the provider and whether it is a registered trading name


an Australian Business Number or Australian Company Number


names and residency status, as appropriate of the principal executive officer for unincorporated associations or directors, owners, partners, consortium providers, chief executives and managers (where there is no stated position of director, principal or chief executive)


contact details of the head office (street and postal address, email, telephone, facsimile, website); and


contact details of the premises at which the education/training will be provided.


Proposed maximum number of overseas students having regard to the appropriateness of the resources and facilities for the delivery of the course.


Locations, including address and contact details, for all sites where students are scheduled to attend classes for teaching purposes, course related information sessions and supervised study sessions. For work-based training sites where the location is unknown at the point of registration, the provider is required to maintain a documented policy specifying the criteria on which the selection and approval of such sites is based.


A statement on:


whether the provider (including directors, owners, partners, chief executive or managers) has previously been a registered provider (and, if so, the name of the designated authority, dates of the registration, reasons for ending registration and whether any sanctions are outstanding); and


whether the provider has previously been refused registration by the Department of Education or any designated authority (and, if so, the name of the designated authority) and reasons for refusal.


The courses that the provider is seeking to offer to overseas students in that state, including the proposed structure of the course, and


Any other information as required under Section 9 of the ESOS Act.



Course duration


The registration of a course on CRICOS must include the expected duration of the course. The registered duration cannot exceed the time required for completing the course on the basis of the normal amount of full-time study. Only courses which can be undertaken on a full-time basis can be registered on CRICOS. A course will not be registered on CRICOS unless it meets the relevant Australian Qualifications Framework requirements or those of any other appropriate quality or accreditation framework, if an appropriate framework exists.


For English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), a course duration range may be specified on CRICOS as the study duration will vary according to each student’s learning goals which will be reflected in the expected duration of study specified on the student’s Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). ELICOS courses remain subject to the requirement in paragraph 7.1 that only full-time courses can be registered on CRICOS.


The designated authority must take into account the proposed course structure when determining the appropriate duration for registration on CRICOS (that is, the number of compulsory terms or semesters each academic year). The registered duration of the course must include approved holiday periods and any approved periods of work-based training. When the course duration is not specified by the accrediting authority, the designated authority will determine the course duration based on a minimum of 20 scheduled course contact hours per week.


Proposed changes to the registered duration of a course must be approved by the designated authority prior to the changes being made.


8. Work-based training


Work-based training must only be approved by a designated authority as a part of a CRICOS-registered course where:


it must be undertaken to gain the qualification; and


the registered provider has appropriate arrangements for the supervision and assessment of overseas students in place.

9. Mode and place of study 


Courses delivered entirely by online or distance learning cannot be registered on CRICOS. Courses with a distance or online component can only be registered on CRICOS where the designated authority is satisfied that these courses meet the minimum requirements as specified in Standard 9. 

10. Arrangements with other providers 


Where more than one provider is to be involved in providing a registered course to overseas students (for example, where one develops the curriculum and awards the qualification and another delivers the tuition), only one provider will be registered for that course. CRICOS registration for courses is not transferable between providers.


The designated authority needs to be advised in writing of all providers to be involved in providing a registered course, the role played by each provider in the delivery of the course and the single provider recommended to be registered for the course. The designated authority will assess the provider’s suitability for registration in light of its connection with and responsibility for the course.


The registered provider is responsible under the ESOS Act for breaches of the Act or National Code, whatever the nature of its contractual or other arrangements with another provider for that course.


Proposed changes to arrangements with other providers must be approved by the designated authority prior to the changes being made.


11. Inspection of premises


As part of the registration approval process, the designated authority will conduct at least one inspection of the provider’s premises to ensure that the provider meets Standard 14 (Staff capability, education resources and premises). For this purpose, the provider’s premises include all locations where the provider operates as well as the locations of providers with whom the provider has an arrangement. When applicable, it may also include sites of work-based training.


The designated authority may choose to accept from a provider a statement that it satisfies all of the requirements of the National Code without an inspection, so long as the course is provided entirely by the provider (that is, not under an arrangement with another provider). The designated authority may also accept clear evidence that the facilities meet Standard 14, based on reports from persons authorised by the designated authority to provide the advice.


Further inspections will be conducted by the designated authority as appropriate during the period of CRICOS registration. These further inspections may include unscheduled visits when the designated authority deems such a visit is warranted.


An inspection will include interviews with management and staff of the provider. It may also include interviews with students and other clients of the provider and observations of teaching.


12. Maximum number of students


As a part of the registration approval process, the designated authority will decide whether to approve the maximum number of students that a provider can enrol. In making this decision, the designated authority will consider the capacity of the provider in terms of its premises, approved arrangements with other providers, facilities, resources, equipment, materials and ratio of staff to student numbers.

References to state in Part C and Part D also include the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory unless otherwise explicitly stated.