Travel and visas

This page contains includes details on travel to Australia and the student visa process.

Fully vaccinated international students and Temporary Graduate visa holders no longer require a travel exemption to enter Australia.

You still need to meet all Australian Government border requirements and any state or territory quarantine and testing requirements. (See below for more)

We are continually updating this page. Please keep checking here for latest information.

Latest travel advice

In addition to following the advice below, please stay in contact with your education provider for information and updates. 

You will need to meet all Australian Government border requirements and any state or territory quarantine and testing requirements. Quarantine and testing arrangements for states and territories are changing. Please visit www.australia.gov.au/states to ensure you have the most recent information.

On 5 January 2022, the following testing requirements for all states and territories, except Western Australia, came into effect:

  • You are required to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) following arrival in Australia. If your test returns a positive result, you need to follow all state or territory directions on reporting your result. You can also find out more on what you need to do now. Anyone who tests positive is also encouraged to contact the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. This service is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you need further medical support, please contact your nearest General Practitioner (GP). 
  • A second post arrival test for international travellers will not be required except in Queensland, which will review this requirement when it reaches 90 per cent double vaccination rate.

International Student Arrival Plans apply in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. These have been formally endorsed by the Australian Government.

If you are taking part in a state or territory International Student Arrivals Plan, you are still able to travel to Australia under those arrangements. Please contact your education provider to confirm your travel arrangements.

If you are fully vaccinated, you are still able to make your own separate arrangements to travel to Australia outside the International Student Arrivals Plan process.  

State and territory requirements 

In addition to the state and territory websites provided at www.australia.gov.au/states, the state and territory study jurisdiction websites also have webpages with information on student returns:

Pre-departure testing

You will need to take a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 3 days of your scheduled departure to Australia. You will then need to show the evidence of a negative PCR test result for your first flight (if there are one or more connecting flights) unless an exemption applies. For details, see 'COVID-19 vaccine information'.

Australia Travel Declaration

All travellers to Australia MUST complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure.

The ATD contains a declaration about your vaccination status. You must present this declaration before boarding the aircraft. This is an enforceable requirement. If you fail to comply with Australia's travel and entry requirements, financial penalties may apply (currently $6,660 AUD). If you do not make the declaration prior to boarding your flight, you may experience delays on arrival.

If you are unable to complete the ATD before departure, your airline may request that you complete a manual (paper) declaration prior to boarding. If so please retain the completed manual declaration and provide to a relevant authority on arrival in Australia.

Summary of requirements:

  • Students travelling to Australia should complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure.
  • The ATD requests details that are considered to be critical health information. You must provide evidence that the critical information was completed before boarding the aircraft.
  • The ATD collects contact details in Australia, flight details, travel history, vaccination information, quarantine requirements and your health status.
  • When completing the ATD, you'll need to:
    • provide your contact details, including a contact phone number in Australia,
    • make a legally binding declaration in relation to your vaccination status,
    • make a declaration regarding your last 14 days travel history,
    • make a declaration that you are aware of the quarantine and testing requirements that apply in the state or territory that you are arriving in, and the penalties for non-compliance.
  • The Australia Travel Declaration mobile app can be downloaded from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play store (Android). Alternatively, the ATD online form can also be completed. 

All travellers, including you our students, will continue to use the ATD until the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) is released (likely in early 2022).

Exemptions for unvaccinated students

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will still need to obtain a travel exemption to enter Australia (from 15 December 2021).

You may be eligible to apply for a travel exemption for medical reasons or where COVID-19 PCR testing is not reasonably available. Visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs – international travellers to Australia | Australian Government Department of Health

A travel exemption may also be granted if you are already:

  • A student in your final three years of study of a medical university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice. The placement must commence within the next two months and provide medical services to the Australian public.
  • A student in the final two years of study of a dental, nursing or allied health profession university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice which commences within the next two months.
  • A higher degree research student enrolled in an Australian education institution (including Masters by research and PhD students) who provide:
    • evidence of a current research grant from a Commonwealth agency, such as the Australian Research Council or National Health and Medical Research Council; or evidence they are in receipt of Research Training Program funding administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment; or
    • evidence of support from a relevant government agency outlining why the research is considered essential and/or in Australia’s national interest and how their role is critical to the research.
  • For more on travel exemptions, including applying online, visit the Travel restrictions and exemptions page on the Department of Home Affairs website, including the Commissioner’s Guidelines.

Restrictions on travel to Australia will remain in place for unvaccinated students after 15 December 2021. However, you can still enrol with an Australian education provider, be granted a student visa offshore, and commence or continue their studies online if you are unable to obtain a travel exemption.

If you're unvaccinated but are granted a travel exemption and wish to get vaccinated in Australia, you will have free access to COVID-19 vaccines in Australia. More information on COVID-19 vaccines is available at 'COVID-19 Vaccine information'.

Latest advice on visas

The Australian Government is continuing to grant student visas and we advise the following:

  • If you are a new student, please first enrol at an education institution and then apply for a student visa.
  • If you are waiting on a visa approval, you may wish to consider continuing or commencing your studies online. Australian education providers offer a range of online learning and study load options – please refer to your education institution for further details.
  • If you have already commenced studying online and do not have a student visa, we encourage you to apply for a student visa now, so that when travel restrictions are eased you can travel to Australia to continue your studies here.
  • Please remember that if you do already hold a student visa, online study done outside of Australia due to COVID-19 can count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
  • The length of stay, for those students who have the Temporary Graduate visa, is being extended from two (2) to three (3) years for Masters by Coursework graduates, matching the provisions for Masters by Research graduates. Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two (2) year Temporary Graduate visa.
  • Current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who lost time in Australia due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa from 1 July 2022. This includes people who were outside of Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 1 December 2021 while they held a Temporary Graduate visa.
  • If you are already located in Australia, health and well being support continues to remain available through education providers, government and community services.
  • It is important you are able to financially support yourself throughout your studies during your time in Australia. Please refer to this guide to calculate your living costs while living and studying in Australia.
  • Please also refer to our answers to your most frequently asked visa questions at the bottom of this page, below the Travel FAQs.

Frequently asked visa questions (FAQs)

The Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs has provided answers and important links related to your most frequently asked student visa questions.

You can also find updates at https//covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Travel FAQs

For more information on proof of vaccinations, vaccines recognised by Australia and any other specific details related to vaccines, visit our 'COVID-19 vaccine information' page.

How does vaccination verification work for those transferring flights within Australia or using partner airlines?

Vaccination verification can occur anywhere along the domestic/international traveller journey, as long as verification has been undertaken prior to the passenger exiting or arriving in Australia on their journey.

In the case of families travelling together to ensure their high school child settles in, what if one or more members of the group don't meet Australia's requirements for being fully vaccinated?

Unvaccinated student visa holders are required to obtain a travel exemption to enter Australia. The airline may still board unvaccinated passengers, though they will need to be carried in accordance with any passenger caps and subject to state and territory quarantine requirements. Please also note the special arrangements in place for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated 12-17 year olds.

From 1 November, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Australian children aged 12-17 years old entering Australia through New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory will be exempt from passenger caps and eligible for reduced quarantine requirements. Where a child is travelling with parent/guardians who are all fully vaccinated, the entire family will be able to travel outside of passenger caps. If the child is travelling with unvaccinated adult family members, then the entire family group will be subject to managed quarantine and passenger caps.

From 15 December, vaccinated parents that wish to accompany a student visa holder to Australia must either hold a student guardian visa, or if they are on a visitor visa must apply for an individual travel exemption.  Visitor visa holders are not currently listed as an eligible visa holder who are able to enter Australia from 15 December 2021 without a travel exemption.

Are fully vaccinated 'immediate family' members allowed to fly to Australia?

Yes, but only if they are fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents or immediate family, or fully vaccinated green lane travellers from New Zealand or Singapore.

On 22 November, the Prime Minister announced that from 1 December 2021, eligible fully vaccinated Japanese and Republic of Korea citizens, including international students, will be able to enter Australia. Due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of concern, on 29 November 2021 the Australian Government announced the necessary and temporary decision to pause the reopening of Australia from 1 December 2021 until 15 December 2021.

From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. A list of eligible visa holders is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

This is a constantly evolving situation so please keep checking this page for updates as they become available. International travellers are advised to visit www.Australia.gov.au/states to ensure they have the most recent information on border restrictions and quarantine requirements.

 

Will a traveller need to demonstrate that they have arranged a relevant quarantine place or booking at check-in?

All arrivals to Australia will be subject to the Public Health Orders in effect in whichever jurisdiction they arrive, including any requirements for quarantine. There is no responsibility on airlines to verify at check-in that a passenger has made arrangements for a quarantine place (if one is required) on their arrival in Australia.

Is the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) mandatory for inbound and outbound travel, and what happens if one cannot be produced?

Passengers (including international students) are told to complete the ATD for travel into Australia at least 72 hours before departure. Where evidence of a completed ATD cannot be produced at check-in, either because the passenger has chosen not to complete the ATD or because of any other cause, students will be encouraged to complete an ATD, or failing that, a manual declaration. Where a manual declaration is undertaken, the student will be asked to retain their declaration for handing to relevant authorities on arrival in Australia.

Will the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) automatically verify a traveller's vaccination status?

No. Airlines will need to verify the traveller’s vaccination status, noting that automation of vaccination status for travellers will start being possible via the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) due to be implemented in December 2021.

Will airlines need to separately validate the health information of a traveller if they complete the ATD and upload a negative COVID-19 test along with supporting health information?

Yes. The airline will still be required to ensure the passenger is ‘fully vaccinated’ to Australian requirements, either by checking the vaccination history in a copy of their vaccination certificate or by scanning their ICVC QR code. Airlines will also need to sight evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of the time of scheduled departure.

What methods of vaccine verification are there?

The Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) is being used for passengers to provide health information until the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) goes live in mid-December 2021.

Is it mandatory for passengers to complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) or manual travel declaration prior to boarding a flight to Australia?

No. Airlines should encourage passengers to complete an ATD or manual travel declaration prior to uplift though, as passengers without one will be referred for review on arrival in Australia, which will add to their arrival processing time.

When are travel exemptions declared for the status of a traveller?

Airlines are required to contact the Australian Border Operations Centre to confirm the status of a traveller who receives a 'do not board' message during the screening process before boarding their flight.

What quarantine requirements will exist for unvaccinated students arriving in Australia from 1 November 2021?

This is a matter for the student to consult with their education provider in the relevant State or Territory. All arrivals to Australia will be subject to the Public Health Orders in effect in whichever jurisdiction they arrive, including any requirements for quarantine.

Unvaccinated student visa holders are required to obtain a travel exemption to enter Australia.

On 29 November 2021 the Australian Government announced the necessary and temporary decision to pause the reopening of Australia from 1 December 2021 until 15 December 2021.

State and Territory Governments are also tightening border and quarantine restrictions.

More information on jurisdictional quarantine requirements is at www.australia.gov.au/states.

Related resources

Step by step guide to student visas

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