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Travel and student exchange

Travel ban and restrictions
The Australian government has introduced a travel ban for all citizens, and self-isolation requirements are in place for all arrivals from overseas. There will be no student or non-essential staff travel.

Travelling within Australia

Travel to and from Victoria:

In light of the current increasing community transmission of COVID-19, the NSW Government has announced that the New South Wales border with Victoria will be closed from midnight on Tuesday 7 July until further notice. More information about the border closure is available on the NSW Government website.

If you enter NSW on or after midnight on 7 July and have travelled to any part of Victoria in the last 14 days, you are required to comply with the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order, including by self-isolating for 14 days from your date of return. If you travelled to any of the Greater Melbourne hotspots and entered NSW after 2 July, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days from your date of return. This means you must not leave your residence, minimise contact with other people and get tested even if you have minimal symptoms. This includes not coming to any of the University’s campuses.

On Tuesday 7 July, a new Public Health Order was introduced that allows current university students and staff to enter NSW from Victoria. Students and staff will need to apply for a permit to enter NSW and more details are available on the NSW government website.

Travelling to Australia

The Australian Government has introduced a travel ban, which will be placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, effective from 9pm on Friday 20 March. Please check Smartraveller for the latest information, as the situation is rapidly evolving.

The Australian Government has introduced requirements that anyone who has arrived in Australia from overseas travel must undertake a mandatory 14 day self-isolation at designated facilities.

Find out more about health management, including what to do if you have recently travelled and feel unwell.

If you have recently travelled, please monitor the list of known flights with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Travelling from Australia

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has implemented a travel ban for all Australians, effective from Wednesday 25 March. Citizens will not be allowed to travel overseas, except in exceptional circumstances that must be approved by the goverment. 

There will be no student or non-essential staff travel without the approval of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor until further notice. Approval will only be given in truly exceptional circumstances.

This includes exchange programs, field schools, placements or other programs. Students in these programs will be contacted by the University.

Study abroad and exchange

All students currently overseas for University exchange are strongly advised to return to Australia if it is possible to do so. On 18 March 2020, the Australian government advised that all Australians are not to travel overseas until further notice and for those overseas to return to Australia as soon as possible.

Once you arrive in Australia, you will need to follow the Australian Government’s requirement that anyone who has arrived in Australia from overseas travel, from any country, must self-isolate for 14 days in designated facilities. Find out more about health management, including what to do if you have recently travelled and feel unwell. If you have any further enquiries or concerns, please contact

On 19 March 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a travel ban will be placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, effective from 9pm on Friday 20 March. If you are an international student currently overseas on study abroad/exchange you will not be able to enter Australia until this ban is lifted.

Many host universities are now offering online supported learning so students can continue their classes. This means that most Semester 1, 2020 programs will continue remotely and students should still receive credit if they complete the remainder of the classes online and meet the program requirements.

Should you choose to withdraw from your host institution at this time and return to Australia, please contact so that they can help liaise with your host university to have you withdrawn from the exchange program.

The Semester 1, 2020 Census Date is 31 March 2020, and it is strongly advised you make a decision regarding whether or not you wish to withdraw from your exchange program prior to this date, so that can apply to suspend your studies for semester 1 prior to Census Date. 

The University has transitioned to online delivery of teaching and learning to help ensure the wellbeing of our community and minimise disruption to studies. This will allow you to complete your semester, including exams, through online or remote arrangements.

If you have been called back home, you can still complete the semester online, but please note that most classes will be in Australian Eastern Standard time zone. You can also stay in Sydney and complete the semester online, if you have approval from your home institution. You should follow your home institutions instructions and advice. If you have any further enquiries or concerns about your studies at the University of Sydney, please contact

We do not encourage students to travel overseas and continue their studies remotely from their home (or another) country, unless they are called to return home by their home government/institution.

Travel expense claims

If you are a University of Sydney student on a study abroad/exchange program, you can claim the return travel expenses incurred to return to Australia. There are two claim processes:

  • If your claim for all expenses (housing, flights and other expenses) incurred totals AU$3,000 or more, can lodge an insurance claim with the University’s insurance provider through the process outlined on the Student Insurance website.
  • For claims that total less than AU$3,000, you should claim through the Travel Reimbursement Portal.

If you are an international student undertaking University of Sydney degree programs and you have been affected by Australian Government travel restrictions, you are not eligible to claim insurance. However, you may be eligible for Hardship funding support – please see further details in the financial assistance application form.

If your flight is economy class, competitively priced, booked before midnight on Sunday 5 April 2020, and it (or the flight changes) cost less than AU$3,000 and you are claiming through the Travel Reimbursement Portal, then your flight will be reimbursed by the University. If you are claiming on insurance (ie. claims of AU$3,000 or more), your claim will be reviewed by the insurer. In this instance, it is up to the insurer to decide whether your claim meets the terms of the policy.

Yes, you may still claim. If your costs are under AU$3,000, you should claim through the Travel Reimbursement Portal, but please note that your claim for accommodation costs will be subject to your faculty’s approval.

Expenses that would normally be incurred in travel, such as travel to and from the airport and meals, will not be covered through Travel Reimbursement Portal without a valid reason.

No. You are encouraged to book your return travel as soon as possible.

No. You can submit your claim up to four weeks after your arrival back in your home country. However, you are encouraged to submit your claim as soon as possible to avoid potential delays in reimbursement.

It is important to attempt to complete your claim first through one of the two options mentioned: Travel Reimbursement Portal for claims below AU$3,000 and the Student Insurance website for claims of AU$3,000 or above. The teams handling each process will be in touch in case there are any issues with your claim, additional guidance and a time frame for payment. Please note that Sydney Abroad cannot answer any individual insurance questions or provide specific insurance advice.

Last updated Monday 6 July

Contact us

Students can submit a query via the Coronavirus Enquiry form.