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Return to Australia from Dec. 2021: Step-by-step guide for international students

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From vaccine passports to quarantine requirements, here's all you need to know to return to Australia from Dec. 1, 2021. Source: Oli Scarff / AFP

All fully vaccinated student visa holders will be able to return to Australia from Dec. 1, 2021, without needing to apply for a travel exemption. The long wait is finally over and students worldwide can finally start or resume their studies in Australia.

First, however, given the expanded bureaucracy wrought by the pandemic, you’ll have to go through several more steps and prepare extra documents. Starting early is key — and we’ve got just the guide for you to fully prepare below:

Be sure to check your passport and ensure that it’s valid for at least six months prior to your arrival in Australia. It is also a good idea to make hard copies of your passport in case of any emergency. Source: William West/AFP

1. Passport

Be sure to check your passport and ensure that it’s valid for at least six months prior to your arrival in Australia. It is also a good idea to make hard copies of your passport in case of any emergency.

2. Get a valid visa

Make sure you hold a valid visa for entering and studying in Australia way before your departure date, and that you have all of your visa documentation (including Confirmation of Enrolment, or eCoE) with you before you get ready to fly.

Students will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within 3 days of their scheduled departure to Australia. Source: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

3. Vaccination proof

You would need to be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). There are currently seven vaccines for non-Australian citizens overseas that are recognised by the Australian Government. They are Covaxin, Sinopharm BBIBP-Corv, Sinovac, Covishield, Jannsen, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Be sure to you retain proof of your vaccination.

4. Pre-departure testing

Students will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of their scheduled departure to Australia. They will need to show the evidence of this test result on the first flight (if there are one or more connecting flights) booked.

The flags of the US and Australia are projected onto the sails of the Opera House to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the alliance between Australia, New Zealand and the US known as the ANZUS Treaty in Sydney on September 1, 2021. Source: David Gray/AFP

5. Australia Travel Declaration (ATD)

Starting Nov. 1,  2021, all international students to Australia should complete an Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure. The ATD contains a declaration on your vaccination status that is considered to be critical health information.

6. Incoming Passenger Card (IPC)

You will also need to complete an incoming passenger card. Information on what to expect at border clearance can be found on the Australian Border Force website.

7. Quarantine requirements to return to Australia from December 2021

Do note that international students to Australia must also comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territory to which they plan to travel. Read more about the arrival plans of each state or territory here.