Plan your departure and arrival

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Once you have been accepted to study at an institution and have received confirmation of your student visa, the next step is to start planning for your arrival.

Here is a checklist to help you plan your departure:

  • Passport and Visa – Check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months prior to your entry arrival in Australia, and that you have all your visa documentation. It is also a good idea to make copies of your passport in case you lose your passport.
  • Student enrolment and orientation documents – You will need your electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) and student information pack, which you will have received from your institution.
  • Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) – This is a requirement for entry to Australia, so make sure you have your health cover policy arranged before you leave home.
  • Travel Insurance – You should also consider travel insurance, which covers things your OSHC may not – such as cancelled flights, lost documents, dental or optical care, etc.
  • Airfares – Make sure you are aware of the date and time of your flight. Keep your flight details in a safe and secure place, with your passport and visa.
  • Contact details – You may want to have a list of emergency contact details for family, as well as your embassy, accommodation and institution details. If you have used an education agent, keep their contact details on you, in case you need to contact them once you arrive in Australia.
  • Australian currency – There are money exchange places available at Australian airports and in cities, but it is recommended to have some Australian currency on you prior to leaving your home country.
  • Transport from the airport – Whether you are taking public transport, a taxi, or you are being picked up from the airport by your education provider, it is important that you have all the details including the time, the route and, if your travel has been arranged by your institution, their contact details. If you need a map to assist you in getting to your accommodation from the airport, they will be available at the airport, or you can print one prior to leaving.
  • Accommodation details – Make sure you have the address of where you will be staying as well as their phone number and payment confirmation (if you have already paid for your accommodation).

Customs and Border Protection

You need to be aware of what you cannot bring into Australia(opens in a new window) and therefore what you should not pack. It is illegal to carry drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia. There are a number of items that you must declare upon your arrival in Australia including:

  • Firearms, weapons and ammunition.
  • Currency amounts of A$10,000 (or foreign equivalent).
  • Some medicines.

You should also be aware that as a routine part of their work, Customs and Border Protection officers may question travellers at any time, and trained dogs may also be used to detect illegal drugs or prohibited imports. If you are in doubt, declare your goods or ask a Customs and Border Protection officer for advice. Declaring goods does not necessarily mean your baggage will be examined.

People who deliberately break Australian Customs and Border Protection regulations could be fined(opens in a new window) or taken to court. You can also find information at the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service(opens in a new window) website.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Students are often surprised by how strict the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) biosecurity requirements can be.

Live animals and plants, plant material, animal products and some food from overseas could introduce some of the world’s most serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment.

So it’s important to remember that when you’re packing to not bring fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, pork, eggs, nuts, dairy goods and live plants and seeds, as they will not be allowed into the country.

You can also find information on what you can bring or send to Australia at the DAFF web site(opens in a new window).

If you’re in doubt about whether your goods are prohibited or not, declare them on the Incoming Passenger Card which you will receive on the plane. On the spot fines can apply for not declaring items.

When you arrive at an Australian airport, you will first need to go through immigration and customs clearance. If you need help finding your way around, just ask the airline staff or one of the border officials in the arrivals area. A clearance officer will check your travel document and visa, and once cleared you will be able to collect your luggage to go through customs and quarantine clearance processes.

More information on what to expect when you arrive at the airport is available at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection(opens in a new window) website or Australian Customs and Border Protection(opens in a new window) website.

Getting to your new home

You should arrange accommodation before you arrive in Australia, even it is just for the first few days. Have your accommodation address written in English ready to show the taxi or hire car, or detailed directions if you are using public transport. If your institution is picking you up from the airport they will take you exactly where you need to go.

Orientation Week

Some institutions run an orientation week (also known as ‘O Week’) for new students. This is typically held at the start of the year and during the week; you will learn about your institution, take tours of facilities, and meet people who will also be studying at your institution. You can usually find more information about your institution’s orientation week on their website, such as a full schedule of activities.

If your institution has an ‘O Week’ it is important that you attend to learn how to get the most out of your institution and study experience.

Seeking help

Remember, if you have any problems or questions once you leave the airport, call your institution’s international support staff. These details will be in your enrolment and orientation information.