Frequently asked questions

Latest information as at 3 May 2022

This information is for international students, education providers and agents regarding the return of international students to Sydney and NSW.

1. Will international students need to quarantine when travelling to NSW?

The NSW Government has announced that arriving international students are no longer required to quarantine. Since 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated international students have been able to travel to Australia without requiring a travel exemption or undergoing quarantine.

From 30 April 2022, unvaccinated international arrivals will not be required to undertake hotel quarantine. Those passengers will follow the same guidelines as fully vaccinated international arrivals and take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival.


2. Do I need to self-isolate upon arrival in NSW?

All international travellers must take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test approved in Australia within 24 hours after arriving in NSW. You must self-isolate until you receive a negative result from your test. Please see the approved list of RATs on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website.


You are only allowed to leave your home or accommodation during isolation:

  • to get a COVID-19 test
  • for urgent medical care
  • in an emergency, including to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm from domestic violence.

All unvaccinated travellers will follow the same guidelines as fully vaccinated international arrivals and take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival.Shape


3. What happens after I complete self-isolation?

You can only leave self-isolation once you receive a negative result from your test taken within 24 hours of arriving in NSW. You must continue to comply with the NSW Health requirements for arriving international passengers.

You must not go to aged care, health care, disability care and correctional facilities for at least 7 days after arrival.


4. What pre-departure COVID-19 test can I take before travelling to NSW?

From 18 April 2022, travellers to Australia will no longer be required to undertake a COVID-19 pre-departure test before boarding their flight. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the requirements of the airline you are travelling with and any countries you transit through.


5. Is it compulsory for international students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to their travel to NSW?

Students who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) are eligible to travel to NSW without requiring a travel exemption.

Please consult the TGA website or Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for advice on COVID-19 vaccines recognised for the purposes of travel to Australia.

If you do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated for international travel purposes, you may be considered for an individual travel exemption.

Read more about the Australian government’s travel exemption process to enter Australia, including applying online and the Commissioner’s guidelines for more information.


6. How do I get tested for COVID-19?

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).

A rapid antigen test is a quick way to detect COVID-19. A PCR Test is a nose and throat swab that is taken at a testing clinic and sent to a lab to be tested.

You should do a rapid antigen test:

  • if you have symptoms
  • if you are a household, social, workplace or education contact of a positive case
  • before attending an event, before visiting vulnerable family members
  • if you are a worker, resident, patient, or client in a high-risk setting where there is a current confirmed outbreak
  • before going into hospital for a procedure if this is requested by the hospital
  • If you recently arrived in NSW from overseas

Most people can now use a rapid antigen test result to confirm they are positive for COVID-19. You should only use a self-test kit that has been approved by the TGA.

Read the NSW Health advice on getting tested for COVID-19.


7. Can I use any rapid antigen test kit when testing for COVID-19?

The Australian Government's regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), oversees the conditions of supply for rapid antigen test (RATs) kits.

For your own safety you should only use a self-test kit that has been approved by the TGA. The TGA website has a list of all home use tests approved by the TGA, along with a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions for each test.

A consumer fact sheet is available on the TGA website. More detailed information on rapid antigen self-tests can be found on the TGA website.

When travelling from overseas, it is recommended that you pack rapid antigen kits so you can easily access them for testing within 24 hours of arrival in NSW.


8. If I test positive to COVID-19 in Australia, what happens? 

If you test positive from your rapid antigen testing, you should

  • self-isolate for 7 days from the date of the positive rapid antigen test even if you are fully vaccinated. More information about rapid antigen testing is available here.
  • not enter high risk settings (aged care, disability care, healthcare, and correctional facilities).
  • report your positive result. Clear step-by-step instructions on how to register a positive RAT result are available on the Service NSW website. Please note a penalty of $1,000 will apply if you fail to register a positive rapid antigen test result.

Contact your Local Health District clinical team, your doctor, or call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 if you need health advice. In an emergency call Triple Zero (000), for example if you are having trouble breathing or pain in your chest.

Visit the NSW Health website for further information.


9. I have been exposed to a COVID-19 case. What should I do? 

Most people no longer need a PCR test (nose and throat swab) and can take a rapid antigen test to confirm they have COVID-19.

Read more about what you need to do if exposed to a COVID-19 case and the new testing requirements.

From 22 April 2022, close contacts (defined as a household contact or an individual deemed by NSW Health to be a close contact) will not have to isolate, as long as they have no symptoms and comply with NSW Health household and close contact guidelines.

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10. When can international students travel to Sydney and NSW?

From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated international students can travel to Sydney and NSW without requiring a travel exemption.

If you do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated for international travel purposes, you may be considered for an individual travel exemption.

Read more about the Australian government’s travel exemption process to enter Australia, including applying online and the Commissioner’s guidelines for more information.

All unvaccinated travellers must enter a managed (hotel) quarantine facility for at least 7 days and will be asked to undertake COVID-19 testing during the quarantine period. Read more about quarantine for unvaccinated passengers arriving from overseas.


11. What do I do if I’ve booked my flights and made arrangements to move to Australia , but now I can’t get there?

We encourage you to contact your education provider to advise them of changes in your travel plan. Please discuss with your airline and other providers you have booked to discuss how these changes may impact your journey to Australia.


12. Will international students be able to commence on-campus learning?

Education providers supporting the return of international students will resume on-campus learning with COVID-safe arrangements in accordance with the National COVID-19 Transition Plan agreed by National Cabinet, including tutorials, workshops, libraries, and practical requirements. International students should contact their education provider directly about on-campus learning arrangements.


13. I am an international student currently in NSW. Can I travel to my home country and then re-enter Australia?

There is no approval required for visa holders to travel outside Australia. We advise, however, that you check your destination’s border and COVID-19 related restrictions for smoother travel. Please also consider the requirements when travelling to NSW from overseas including pre-departure and arrival information for international students. Keep an eye on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs for guidance on your planned travel to Sydney and NSW.


14. Can I transit via NSW or travel to other states in Australia?

While you are generally allowed to travel interstate, you must ensure that you meet the entry requirements of your destination state. Please see advice for interstate travel to and from NSW.

Check the state government website for your destination before you travel as you may need an entry permit or to get tested. If you are travelling interstate, and the state or territory you plan to visit has testing entry requirements, get tested near your home before you leave. More information about leaving NSW to go interstate is available here.


15. If my vaccine isn’t recognised by the TGA but is so in my home country, can I travel to Sydney and NSW?

If you do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated for international travel purposes, you may be considered for an individual travel exemption. Learn more about the Australian government’s travel exemption process to enter Australia, including applying online and the Commissioner’s guidelines for more information.

Visit the Australian government’s website to find out more about providing evidence of COVID-19 vaccination status.


16. What happens if I do not comply with the health guidelines?

Not following the guidelines set by NSW Health for recent fully vaccinated arrivals puts family, friends and community at risk.

It is an offence not to comply with a Public Health Order. Penalties can apply to individuals and corporations. Additional on the spot fines can also apply.Shape


17. Can international students and their families remain confident that they stay safe and protected from COVID-19 once they recommence their studies in NSW?

Australia is focused on minimising the risks of COVID-19, which means that international students can be more confident of a safe experience in NSW than just about anywhere else in the world. As at 29 April 2022, 94.8% percent of the NSW population aged 16 and over was fully vaccinated.


18. How can international students and the sector stay informed about travel to Sydney and NSW?

Study NSW will ensure international students have easy, fast-tracked access to information, support and services at every stage of their safe travel to NSW. Clear and accurate information will be provided to international students through their education provider and via the Study NSW website and mailing list.


19. I don’t have a valid student visa, how do I apply for one?

You will need a Student Visa (Subclass 500) whether you are starting your studies online or  travelling to Sydney and NSW for in-person learning. If you are applying for a student visa, there are steps and entry requirements that you will need to consider.

Study Australia’s student visa step-by-step guide and entry requirements and FAQs will help you understand how to apply for one.