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Arriving in Sydney

Prepare for your move

Before you arrive, there are some essential steps you need to take to help you prepare for university life in Sydney.

Apply for your student visa

Once you’ve accepted your unconditional offer to study at the University of Sydney and received an ‘electronic confirmation of enrolment’, it’s time to obtain your student visa. Your visa can take a while to process, so it’s important you apply as soon as possible. Find out more about how to apply for your visa


Organise your health cover

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance for international students that helps to cover medical costs in Australia. It is a condition of your student visa that you maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for the duration of your studies. Find out more about how to arrange your OSHC


Book your flights

Once you’ve organised your visa and OSHC, it’s time to organise your flights to Sydney. If you can, aim to arrive in Sydney at least three weeks before semester starts. This will give you time to settle in, meet people, and do some sightseeing before classes begin.   

When booking your flights, keep in mind the University’s study dates, including our Welcome Program, which is a series of events and activities takingthat take place in the three weeks leading up to semester.


Plan your airport transport

Once you’ve booked your flights, you need to plan how you’ll get to your accommodation from Sydney International Airport. Public busses and trains run frequently from Sydney International Airport to the city centre. To use our public transport, you’ll need an adult Opal card, which you can purchase from the airport. You can also catch a taxi, but keep in mind that this is more expensive than public transport. 

The University also offers a free airport shuttle service from the airport to central Sydney locations. for new, enrolled international students. Find out how to book your spot

Find out more

Consider the cost of living

Before you move, it’s important to consider and budget for the costs of living in Sydney. The Insider Guides’ cost of living calculator can help you calculate a budget for your week-to-week expenses. 


Pack your essential items

Once you’ve planned your arrival in Sydney, it’s time to start packing. While you won't have room to bring everything you own with you, there are some essential items you must bring:

  • your passport
  • a folder containing printed copies of your:
    • offer letter
    • electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE)
    • a copy of your passport
    • identification documents
    • important medical records, including copies translated to English
    • important contact numbers
    • details of your accommodation
    • any medication and prescriptions
    • travel adaptor that connects to Australian power points
    • clothes to suit the weather on your arrival
    • basic toiletries.

Remember, there are strict laws on what can and can’t be brought into Australia, so it’s important to check the Australian customs website before you pack.


Be aware of scams

Anybody can be scammed, and most people will be targeted at some point in their lives. Knowing what to look for and what to do if you’ve been scammed can help you stay safe or reduce the impact of a scam. This can be particularly important as you search for accommodation, look for a job or even set up your finances in Sydney.

Find out more about common scams and how to avoid them.


Join our online community

Moving to a new city can feel daunting, so it’s important to connect with local communities to help you settle in. Joining our official University social media communities is a great place to start, where you’ll find out important information about study and life in Sydney, as well as fun events on campus.

Visit our official social media channels:


Complete the Discover NSW Arrive Program

To help navigate this important life change, complete Study NSW’s Discover NSW Arrive Program. This online guide equips international students beginning their study journey in New South Wales (NSW) with all the tips and tricks they’ll need for a smooth transition.

The program includes interactive workshops and quizzes that provide a realistic view of life and study in NSW, laying a strong foundation for your Australian adventure.

Student Centre



1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
or +61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)

Find out more about how we can help

Last updated: 07 November 2023

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