Supporting the return of international students to NSW

Latest information as at 12 January 2022

Study NSW is working closely with the Australian Government, the education sector and NSW Government agencies to support the return of international students to NSW, in line with the State’s roadmap to recovery and the National Transition Plan for Australia’s COVID-19 response. As a world-leading study destination, NSW is delighted to be welcoming international students back to our campuses and communities.

Important information for returning international students to Sydney and NSW

Fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including international students can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

Returning international students must:

1. have received the number of doses required for a complete course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA),

2. provide proof of their vaccination status; and

3. present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test that has been taken within three days prior to scheduled travel to NSW,

4. complete an Australian Travel Declaration prior to departure.

All fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in NSW must take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RATs) approved in Australia within 24 hours of arriving in NSW and isolate until they receive a negative result. A follow up rapid antigen test is required on or after day six after arriving in NSW. A test on day 12 is strongly recommended. Please see the approved list of RATs on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website.


Mandatory reporting of positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT)

To help NSW best manage the pandemic, from 12 January 2022, if you test positive for COVID-19 using a RAT, you must:

  • Report your positive result on Service NSW App
  • You must self-isolate at home for 7 days from the date you got tested, even if you are fully vaccinated

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.


When preparing to travel, you should check what you need to do when leaving or coming to Australia from overseas.

Sydney and NSW welcome international students

International education plays a vital role in connecting NSW to the world. Prior to the pandemic, almost 290,000 students studied here and supported more than 95,000 full-time jobs.

NSW has missed the many positive contributions international students make to the communities where they study, live and work.

With a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to community safety and liveability, NSW will continue to offer international students the opportunity to learn in one of the world’s best countries for students, acquire internationally recognised qualifications and launch their careers in Australia or anywhere in the world.

Update on the NSW International Student Arrivals Pilot Plan

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

The first chartered plane arrived in Sydney on Monday 6 December and carried 266 students from 19 nations, including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Canada. A second flight carrying 243 students from South Asia arrived in Sydney on 24 December 2021.

All international students who return to Australia must be fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccination before landing in Sydney.

More information