Checklist of things to do before leaving home
- Apply for a passport, and make sure the passport is valid for all of the time you plan to be abroad.
- Arrange for a student visa.
- Make contact with the Australian educational institution where you plan to study to confirm your enrolment and start date and check if your institution or college has an airport greeting service.
- Arrange for immunisations and medications from your doctor.
- Apply for a credit card and/or arrange for sufficient funds to be available for you to access in Australia.
- Confirm overseas access to your funds with your bank.
- Make travel arrangements, including travel insurance.
- Advise your educational institution of your travel details.
- Arrange accommodation for at least your first week in Australia, if not longer.
- Arrange transport from the airport to your accommodation, and change enough currency into Australian dollars before you leave so that you can catch a taxi or make a phone call in the event of an emergency.
- When packing your bags, make sure you include the name and contact details of your institution’s international representative.
Prepare a folder of official documents to bring with you to Australia, including:
- Valid passport
- Printout of your student visa confirmation letter
- Your institution’s offer of a place/admission letter
- Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
- Receipts of payments (e.g. tuition fees, OSHC, bank statements)
- Insurance policies
- 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 prescriptions
- Photocopy of credit/debit card(s)
- Prescriptions and generic names of medications
- Reference letters for potential employers/landlord.
Before you leave, make copies of all your documents and leave them with someone at home who can send them on to you if the originals get lost. When flying, keep all your documents in your carry-on luggage.
You have just arrived in Australia and cannot wait to get outside and get started on the next leg of your journey. But when you first arrive, you will be required to make your way through Australian immigration. An immigration officer will ask to see your completed incoming passenger card (given to you on the plane) and your passport. The immigration officer will check your documents and may ask you a few questions about your planned stay in Australia. You may also have to show your Confirmation of Enrolment.
Clearing Customs in Australia
Once you have cleared the immigration checkpoint you will enter the baggage hall where you can claim your luggage and proceed to Customs and baggage examination.
People arriving in Australia clear Customs through one of two channels: the green channel is for those with ‘nothing to declare’; the red channel for those with ‘something to declare’. You must to declare any food, plant materials and animal products. For more information about what you can and cannot bring into Australia, visit www.border.gov.au
Regardless of the channel you follow, your luggage, including your hand luggage, may be x-rayed inspected or checked by a detector dog team.
If you do not have anything to declare, follow the green channel.
If you do have something to declare, follow the red channel.
As you go through the red channel of Customs, an official will ask you to open your luggage so that it can be inspected. If the Customs official decides that an item is not quarantined, you will be allowed to keep it and move through the Customs checkpoint. If the item is quarantined, it will either be confiscated and destroyed, or held for decontamination and returned to you at a later date.
If you go through the green channel, you may be subjected to a random check and asked by a Customs’ official to open your luggage for inspection.
Australia has strict quarantine laws so it is important to declare all the items you are carrying on the incoming passenger card. Those who do not declare honestly risk fines and prosecution.
Student visa conditions
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIBP) is the Australian Government department that manages everything relating to student visas.
It is very important that you are fully aware of, and meet, all the conditions of your visa. Visa conditions are set out in the letter of approval sent with a visa or on a visa label. There may be special conditions for students on scholarships, so if you are on a scholarship, it is important to read and understand all these conditions.
For a full list of mandatory and discretionary student visa conditions, visit www.immi.gov.au/students/visa-conditions.htm
Unfortunately, a number of students abuse the law each year. For example, they may work longer hours than permitted by their visa or they may overstay their visa. Breaking these conditions can cause a visa to be cancelled and this has serious consequences: under the law, a student may be required to leave Australia and not allowed to return for three years after the visa is cancelled.
Changing or extending a student visa
If your circumstances change and you want to change your course or provider, or you wish to stay in Australia longer, contact the nearest Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIBP) office for advice on how to make these arrangements.
It is also important to ensure your visa does not expire while you are in Australia. If you remain in Australia for more than 28 days after your student visa expires without obtaining a new one, you may not be allowed to return for three years.
If your student visa expires before you have finished your course of study, or if you wish undertake further study, you should contact your nearest Australian visa office. You can only extend your stay in Australia if your do not have a “No Further Stay” condition on your current student visa.
If you need help in understanding any of these conditions, contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIBP), or visit www.immi.gov.au/students/visa-conditions.htm
For further information, go to www.immi.gov.au and select “Students” from the “Visa, Immigration and Refugees” menu.
Setting up a bank account
To open a bank account in Australia must show several pieces of personal identification, each of which is allotted certain number of ‘points’. You will need 100 points of identification to establish your identity as the person who will be named on the account.
Your passport and proof of your arrival date in Australia will be acceptable as 100 points if you open an account within six weeks of arrival in Australia. After this time, you will need additional documentation. To open an account you’ll also need a minimum deposit (this can be as little as A$10).
Finding the right accommodation is one of the biggest challenges facing any new international student, and finding a place in your price range can be even harder. It is extremely important that you factor the high cost of housing into your budget before you come to Australia, and that you are able to access sufficient funds to cover possible rent increases.
A range of accommodation options are available. Our student services team can provide you with more information and links to website for your information.
Culture and society
In Australia, you may notice some differences in etiquette, lifestyles and values to what you are used to back home. Australians are informal, which can take some adjustment, especially if you are more accustomed to a culture where ritual is important and where levels of status and authority are clearly distinguished and carefully respected. These are not obvious characteristics of Australian culture and you will be expected to be able to accept a wide range of people on an equal basis in informal situations.
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
Australia has a special system of health cover for international students called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). You will need to buy OSHC before you come to Australia to cover you from when you arrive.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship requires you to maintain OSHC for the duration of your time on a student visa in Australia.
For detailed pre-departure information, download our International Student Handbook (PDF, 2.8MB).