Travelling to a new and unknown destination can be daunting. Fortunately, Australian academic institutions and other organizations offer great resources to help students adjust to life in Australia more easily. Proactive research and planning can help students settle in to their home, and have a safe and rewarding study experience. Here are a few tips and a checklist to make sure the student is prepared before the board their plane to Australia.
- A Valid Passport and Visa: Bring all visa documentation along with a valid passport. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months prior to the entry date in Australia. We also recommend keeping multiple copies of the passport and visa documentation.
- Student Enrolment and Orientation Documents: Students should bring their eCoE and the student information pack, which they would have received from the institution.
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC): OSHC is a visa requirement, and mandatory for entry into Australia. OSHC must be valid on the day the student will be entering Australia.
- Luggage: Pack according to the weather and permitted baggage allowance, and avoid all the restricted items. Learn more in the What to Bring section of this course.
- Voltage Converter and Travel Adaptor: Students may need a voltage converter if their appliances do no not work on same mains voltage as Australia (230V 50Hz). A power adaptor is needed if appliances have a different plug than the ones used in Australian wall socket.
- Flights/Airfare: Book a flight in time to arrive for orientation, and keep a record of the flight booking and bring it along to the airport.
- Transportation from the Airport: Obtain ground transportation from the airport to accommodation. Some colleges and universities offer free pickup so be sure to check.
- Accommodations: Plan out the accommodations (secure a place to live), and keep the address, phone number, and lease agreement/payment confirmation with you. Learn more about how to secure your accomodations in the Living in Australia section of this guide.
- Contact Details: Create an emergency contact list, as well as your embassy, accommodation and institution details.
- Medication and Toiletries: Learn how to travel with medication and what documentation the student needs to bring with them.
- Australian Currency: Consider bringing small amounts of Australian Dollars (~$500 AUD) with you. Monetary Instruments, including cash and traveller’s cheques, valuing at or more $10,000 AUD (or its foreign equivalent) must be declared at customs. Learn more.
What to Bring
Before packing, an incoming student should:
Verify luggage restrictions with their airline.
Pack for the weather by researching the weather in the city of stay and packing accordingly.
Check which items the Australian Border Force does not permit through customs (eg. pets, plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat products, etc.).
Upon arrival, students will be asked to show their travel documents to the Immigration Officers for clearance before then can exit the airport. Students must keep these items, and any other related study documentation, in their carry-on luggage. Checked luggage is collected after the student passes the immigration clearance.
We recommend keeping the following items in the carry-on:
- A valid passport
- A valid study visa
- Confirmation of Enrolment and any other institution documentation student received
- Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
- Original or certified copies of your academic transcripts and qualifications
- Other personal identification documents, e.g. birth certificate, ID card, driver’s licence
- Medical records and/or prescriptions
- Important telephone numbers and addresses in home country and in Australia
- Details of accommodations, including proof of payment (if payment was made)
Arrival at an Australian Airport
When coming to Australia, students are required to do the following things:
- Before landing in Australia, complete an Incoming Passenger Card—these cards are distributed on the airplane prior to landing
- Upon arrival, follow the signs for “Immigration and Customs Clearance”
- Enter the line for non-Australian passport holders
- When called by Immigration Officer, present them with the passport, visa documents and the Incoming Passenger card.
- Have your OSHC, CoE and accommodation details with you as the officer may ask for them
Common Questions Asked at Arrivals
Below is a list of common questions that students may be asked when they arrive at the airport by Immigration Officers:
- What is your name?
- Where are you from?
- What is your home address?
- What is your mother’s and father’s name?
- What is your date and place of birth?
- What school are you going to attend in Australia?
- What program are you going to study and how long is the program?
- What are your plans after completing the program?
- Who packed your bag(s)? Do you know what’s inside the bags?
- How much cash are you carrying with you?
- Do you have relatives/friends/family in Australia? If yes, where do they live? If no, where will you stay?
- Is someone coming to pick you up at the Airport?
Students should respond to all the questions asked by the Immigration Officer with simple and clear answers. If the student does not understand the question, ask the officer for clarification.
Navigating the Airport
Many airports have arrival guides on their websites. We highly recommend students research the airport they will be landing in to get themselves familiar. The 10 most frequently accessed airports in Australia are:
- Sydney Airport (Sydney, New South Wales)
- Melbourne Airport (Melbourne, Victoria)
- Brisbane Airport (Brisbane, Queensland)
- Perth Airport (Perth, Western Australia)
- Adelaide Airport (Adelaide, South Australia)
- Gold Coast Airport (Gold Coast, Queensland)
- Cairns Airport (Cairns, Queensland)
- Canberra Airport (Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)
- Hobart Airport (Hobart, Tasmania)
- Darwin International Airport (Darwin, Northern Territory)
Airport Pick-Up and Transportation
Many institutions offer students a free pick up service from the airport. Students should check with their institution, and arrange pick up if possible. Students can also arrange their own transportation from the airport to their accommodation.
Available Transportation Options
Students can arrange a local taxi to pick you up. Simply search for local companies on Google. Most airports also have a designated area where visitors can get a taxi; no prior booking required.
Uber, Ola, and Didi: Ridesharing applications are widely used in Australia. However, there are some limitations on where one can be picked up at the airport. View ride availability by searching within the apps.
Students can rent a car at the airport provided that they have a valid driver’s license. Many car rental companies, such as Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Budget have offices at the airport. Students should make a reservation prior to their arrival to ensure a car that fits their needs and budget will be available. Note that some car rental companies do not rent cars to those under 21 so be sure to check ahead before booking the car.
Students can pay for their transportation at the end of the ride using a debit or credit card that works in Australia, or in cash with Australian dollars. If the transportation was pre-booked, students can often also pay through the transportation provider’s website or through their smartphone app.