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NSW International Arrivals Pilot Program

Frequently asked questions about the return of international students via our pilot program.
These FAQs will be updated as more information is received, so please check the page regularly. Eligible students will be contacted directly with any updates.

Information, guidance and Frequently Asked Questions are also available on the Arrivals Program Canvas site. Please review this information before submitting your enquiry. 

You can submit an enquiry to the University via this dedicated form

If your enquiry is related to travel arrangements, please refer to FCM Travel.

Update 31 December: From 31 December, fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in NSW must get a COVID-19 rapid antigen test:

  • within 24 hours of arriving in NSW (and can stop self-isolating once they receive a negative result from this test)
  • on or after day 6 after arriving in NSW.

People who are not fully vaccinated arriving in NSW from overseas must continue to go into 14-day mandatory quarantine. 

Update 15 December: Fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can now travel to and from Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. 

For more updated information, please visit the NSW Government website.


Latest information

If you are arriving after 31 December, fully vaccinated international passengers arriving in NSW must get a COVID-19 rapid antigen test:

  • within 24 hours of arriving in NSW (and can stop self-isolating once they receive a negative result from this test)
  • on or after day 6 after arriving in NSW.
  • You should not visit high risk places such as hospitals · and residential aged care facilities for at least 7 days.

The University of Sydney will continue to honour its commitment to support the transit from the Airport and temporary accommodation of students at the University Village for 72 hours. During this time, your stay will no longer be governed by quarantine conditions.  

For more updated information, please visit the NSW Government website.

Students who are not participating in the NSW International Arrivals Pilot Plan are able to arrange their own travel to Sydney. 

From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated international students can travel to participating states and territories in Australia, without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Please refer to government advice for the latest requirements on COVID tests and isolation rules. 

Please ensure you are monitoring the Australian Government website for the latest updates on travel and visa restrictions before you arrange your travel.

Some airlines are offering student discounts and travel programs via their airline on one-way flights to Sydney.

Students that are interested in taking up these offers can book directly with the airlines via the links below:

As is the case with all international travel, students should ensure their passport is ready to be accepted by airlines and immigration authorities throughout their journey. Students should ensure their passports are not damaged, altered or contain novelty stamps. Passports should only have stamps from official authorities, e.g. immigration authorities. Students should ensure:

  • There are no tears or cuts in the pages, especially the photo page.
  • Everything on the photo page is legible and clear.
  • There are no marks across your photo or in the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) on the photo page.
  • No pages have been removed.
  • There is no alteration or tampering.

For more information on passport care, please visit the Australian Government website. 

We will be reactivating the campus in 2022 and we are looking forward to welcoming our students back. Students can expect to attend most classes in-person for semester 1 and enjoy life on campus.

We will of course continue to offer remote learning to students who cannot attend classes in person or who are still located offshore.

The University offers one of the most affordable student accommodation options. Experience life in an inclusive, supportive and authentic environment with students from all over Australia and the world. We have a variety of student residences available, and applications are now open for 2022. Please visit our website for more information. 


What is the NSW International Arrivals Pilot Program?

The Australian Government has approved a pilot program for the return of a limited number of international students to continue their studies in NSW.

International students who are booked to return on flights under the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan will still travel to NSW on their scheduled flights. The existing flights provide a safe return path to NSW as spaces on commercial flights may remain limited.


Expression of Interest process

The University has opened an Expression of Interest Form (EOI Form) to all continuing and suspended international students who are identified as currently being located offshore. Students have been asked to complete the EOI Form to indicate interest in participating in the NSW International Arrivals Pilot Program – both what has been recently been announced as well as interest in future opportunities to travel. The EOI form is open to eligible students via a dedicated Canvas site.

Please note: Completing this EOI Form is not a commitment or a guarantee by the University of participation in the Arrivals Program nor is it a confirmed registration. This EOI Form is only an expression of students’ interest and preparedness to return.

Student responses will be used to help guide how we interact with individual students about their possible travel to Australia, including currently announced flights.

We will keep all students up to date with information as it is available via your official University email address, so please check regularly for updates. Please also ensure that your official university record is up to date, including your current residential address.

We encourage you fill out the EOI Form as soon as you can to ensure you are considered in the Program. We understand your circumstances may change, so you can submit or update your responses within the EOI form as many times as you need.

EOI responses will be used to help guide how we interact with individual students about their possible travel to Australia, including the currently announced flights.

We understand your circumstances may change, so we are planning multiple rounds of interest check-ins with international students.

We would encourage you to complete the EOI Form regardless, even if you are not interested in coming to Australia to continue your studies or if you are unsure if you are ready to participate. This will help the University with planning and preparation so we can ensure a supported learning experience for both our onshore, and offshore students.

Students with current offers or considering study in 2022 at the University of Sydney are not eligible to participate in the supported Arrivals Program at this time.

You must be able to pay for your flights to Australia. We are working with our travel partner, FCM Travel to organise travel arrangements for students. You can visit their FAQ page for more information on estimated costs.

FCM Travel have detailed information about testing requirements on their FAQ page.

The University of Sydney is continually reviewing the EOI responses of students, their level of interest and stage in their studies. This information is matched against eligibility criteria (vaccine status, visa type and status etc) to determine who will be contacted about flights as they become available.

We understand your circumstances may change, so you can submit or update your responses within the EOI form as many times as you need.

All EOI responses previously submitted remain valid and will continue to be used as more flights are announced.  

We will keep all students up to date with information as it is available. The University of Sydney will make direct contact with students about flights as they become available via their university email.

Students should continue to monitor the NSW International Arrivals Program Canvas site for further announcements and the latest updates. 

Please contact us with your enquiry via this online form.

Vaccine Requirements

The Arrivals Program requires all inbound international students to be fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved and recognised vaccine.

The current list includes:

  • SPIKEVAX manufactured by Moderna
  • VAXZEVRIA manufactured by AstraZeneca – this includes VAXZEVRIA manufactured outside such as Covishield
  • COMIRNATY manufactured by Pfizer
  • Janssen (or Johnson & Johnson) manufactured by Janssen-Cilag
  • CORONAVAC manufactured by Sinovac
  • COVAXIN manufactured by Bharat Biotech India
  • BBIBP-CorV manufactured by Sinopharm, China

The TGA website includes a full list of vaccines approved for use in Australia and this page lists vaccines that are recognised by Australia but not used here. 

Students who have received two different TGA approved vaccines will be considered as fully vaccinated. Additionally, students who have had non-TGA recognised vaccines could get a single 'booster' of Johnson & Johnson and be considered as fully vaccinated for entry into Australia as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen) requires only a single dose.

At this time, it is a requirement that all COVID-19 vaccinations are reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). 

If two TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are listed on a person's online immunisation history statement this can be used as evidence of full COVID-19 vaccination.

Advice for individuals on how to access their AIR history statement is available on the Australian Government Services Australia webpage.

The Australian Government has also announced the introduction of an upcoming internationally recognised International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate.

NSW Health anticipates more information regarding the International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate in the coming weeks.

Students who are unable to access a TGA-recognised vaccine for COVID-19 are encouraged to continue studying remotely until such time that circumstances allow for them to travel to Australia.

We would also encourage you to fill out the EOI form as this will help the University with planning and preparation so we can ensure a supported learning experience for both our onshore, and offshore students.

Additional Resources

The global pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the wellbeing of our student community. The University of Sydney has a range of services and resources to support you during this difficult time:

  • Peer Support Advisors fluent in English and Mandarin, they are trained to support you. You can contact them through email and/or organise one-to-one Zoom consultations where they will refer relevant information and support services to you. Complete this enquiry form or email covid19.peersupport@sydney.edu.au to ask questions or book a Zoom consultation. 
  • The Student’s Representative Council (SRC) is available for undergraduate students experiencing academic and welfare issues. There is free access to remote independent advice, advocacy and support through the SRC over the telephone, or through a Zoom or Skype appointment. Find out more about the SRC.
  • TalkCampus – this app provides free and instant support for your mental health and wellbeing, allowing you to chat anonymously in your first language, give and take advice and make friends globally.
  • Self-help resources and webinars that you can access right now as an offshore student. This covers a range of skills to overcome common challenges and problems we all face from time to time. 
  • Head Set by Counselling and Psychological Services is an online resource that can help you manage your psychological health and achieve your university goals. 
  • Sonder is a safety and wellbeing app for eligible international students. It is a free and multilingual 24/7 health, safety and wellbeing support service for students. International students who have purchased an eligible Allianz Global Assist or Allianz Care OSHC policy can access the services. 

To find out more about these resources and services, please visit the University’s Counselling and mental health support page and the Supporting online study page. Under Australian health regulatory law, counsellors situated in Australia are unable to provide advice or consultations to students located outside Australia but we have many remotely accessible resources available to offshore students. Please get in touch with our Peer Support Advisors if you want to find out more.

Please visit the Study NSW Return Program for further information about the program to return international students to Sydney.