FAQs for returning students
We are looking forward to welcoming fully vaccinated international students back to Australia for the start of Semester 1, 2022!
Frequently asked questions about the return of international students
Latest updates for travelling from overseas to Australia
What is the Omicron variant?
The Omicron variant is a strain of COVID-19 that has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern. Cases have been detected in multiple countries around the world, with a large increase in South Africa.
Stay up to date with the latest health advice on the NSW Government website, which can be found here.
What is the travel advice for international arrivals to NSW?
The travel advice is continuously being updated based on the latest health advice. As of 15th December 2021, there are no countries of concern. Fully vaccinated people arriving from overseas will need to get a PCR test within 24 hours after their arrival and isolate until they get a negative result. A follow-up test is then required on day 6 after arrival.
Anyone who arrives and isn't fully vaccinated will need to go directly to 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine.
Isolation guidelines can be found here.
When will I be able to return to Australia for my studies?
Quarantine requirements in Australia are determined by State and Territory Governments. From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated student visa holders can come to the following states in Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption and without any quarantine:
- New South Wales
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
Students must meet certain conditions, which are set out below under conditions of entry.
Will I be able to travel to States not mentioned above?
The following State’s borders will be open to all fully vaccinated domestic and international arrivals without the need to quarantine once 90% of the population (aged 12+) are fully vaccinated:
- Western Australia
- South Australia
This is expected to occur by late January or early February 2022. Tasmania and the Northern Territory are yet to announce border changes. We are constantly seeking clarification and updates and will share further information with you as soon as it becomes available.
Will I have to quarantine?
No, fully vaccinated students will not be required to quarantine upon entering NSW. Stay up to date with the latest travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for students by visiting Study NSW.
Who will book my flights to come to Australia?
Students will be responsible for booking and paying for their own flights.
Conditions of entry into Australia and steps to undertake prior to departure
What are the conditions of entry into Australia from overseas?
To enter Australia, you must:
- hold a valid student visa;
- be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration ;
- provide proof of your vaccination status with an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or foreign vaccination certificate ;
- provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test undertaken within three days of departure;
- complete and submit an online Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before your flight.
You must also comply with any specific quarantine requirements in the state or territory of your arrival, and any other state or territory to which you plan to travel.
Will it be compulsory for international students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to entering Australia?
Australia requires international arrivals to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine. This is to help protect your safety and that of the Australian community. A list of vaccines currently recognised and approved in Australia can be found here.
How do I know if my vaccination certificate meets Australia’s requirements?
Travellers vaccinated outside Australia will be required to present certificates that meet the following criteria:
- Issued by a national or state/provincial-level authority or an accredited vaccination provider
- Written in English or accompanied by a certified translation
- Must contain:
- Name as it appears on traveller’s passport
- Either date of birth or passport number
- The vaccine brand name, and
- The date of each does or the date the full course of immunisation was completed.
Both paper and digital certificates are acceptable.
What evidence do students need to provide to show they have been fully vaccinated?
International travellers will be required to submit an Australian Travel Declaration online with a copy of your vaccination certificate before your flight. This needs to be completed at least 72 hours before your flight.
You will then need to provide an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or foreign vaccination certificate when you board your flight and again, on arrival in Australia. Further information can be viewed at the Smartraveller website.
If an international student’s vaccine isn’t recognised by the TGA but it is in their home country, can they be considered for entry?
No. Only students who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) can enter Australia.
Will I need a current student visa to return to Australia?
Do I still need a travel exemption to come to Australia?
You will not need a travel exemption to enter New South Wales (NSW), effective December 1, 2021.
While you do not require an exemption, when returning to Australia you will be required to complete and submit an Australian Travel Declaration online with a copy of your vaccination certificate before your flight. This must be completed at least 72 hours before your scheduled flight departure.
What can international students do to prepare to come to Australia?
- Ensure they are fully vaccinated with a TGA approved vaccine;
- Contact their travel agent and start looking into their travel arrangements to Australia;
- Understand their local COVID-19 testing arrangements;
- Understand how to get relevant travel exemptions (if required).
How do I arrange a COVID-19 PCR test prior to departure?
The Australian Government does not maintain a list of approved international facilities or laboratories that provide COVID-19 PCR testing for pre-departure testing purposes.
International travellers to Australia should contact the local health authority of the country that they are in for information on the nearest COVID-19 PCR testing facility or laboratory. This information is generally advertised on the local health authorities’ websites.
Is there a check list I could follow to prepare for travel to Australia?
The Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs provides a checklist of information and steps you will need to follow.
Who will inform current international students if they are eligible to return to Australia?
Current fully vaccinated students can return quarantine free to NSW from 1 December 2021. Communication has gone out to these students by staff.
Arrival in Australia
Where do I need to take my COVID-19 test upon arrival in Australia?
International arrivals are required to undertake COVID-19 tests once they arrive in Australia.
For information on the requirements, visit the Study NSW Pre-departure and Arrivals page.
To find a PCR testing facility in Sydney, visit the NSW COVID-19 Clinics page.
How do I organise my accommodation?
Students will need to arrange their own accommodation in Sydney. We recommend looking into accommodation before you arrive. Consider short-term stays whilst you look for something more permanent when you land. More information, including accommodation options, can be found on our Accommodation page.
How do I organise airport pick up?
Once you’ve arrived at Sydney International Airport, you’ll have a variety of transportation options to take you to your next destination including taxis, trains and buses.
Ride share services are also available, such as Uber or Ola. Sydney International Airport has a dedicated pick-up zone for ride share services, where you can arrange your trip.
For more transport options click here.
Will returning international students be able to immediately commence on-campus learning?
Campus will be open to students to use the facilities, such as study spaces and the library, however, teaching and classes will remain online for the remainder of Session 3. The intention is to return to campus for hybrid learning in Session 1, 2022, where students will be able to join classes in person or online. Further information will be sent to students prior to the start of Session 1, 2022.
What if I am still unable to or do not wish to return to Australia to study in 2022?
We understand that some restrictions on travel are still in place across different parts of the world. Therefore, we will be offering a hybrid model of learning until students are able to return to full-time face-to-face studies on campus. The hybrid learning model allows offshore students to join classes live online, whilst onshore students attend classes in person.
What if I get COVID-19 in Australia?
If you get tested for the virus, or you have symptoms, you need to stay at home. You will need to do this until you either have a negative test result or your symptoms have gone – whichever is longer. It may take a day or 2 for your test results to come back.
If your doctor says you are well enough to go home while you wait for your test results, you should protect yourself and others.
If you meet certain criteria, you may be considered a close or casual contact and be required to isolate.
People who are required to quarantine will need to continue to do so, regardless of a negative test result. For further information read guidance for people tested for COVID-19.
For questions about testing or patient welfare, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. Please also inform your college immediately.
What medical treatment and support am I covered for as an international student?
International students are required to have health insurance while they are studying in Australia.
You can find out more about what you are covered for by visiting your health insurers FAQs, with quick links found here:
Can international students and their families remain confident that they can stay safe and protected from COVID-19 once they recommence their studies in Australia?
In the uncertainty of these times, Australia’s focus on minimising the risks of COVID-19 means international students can be more confident of their experience here than anywhere else in the world.