top of page

Australia to open its Borders for WHV and Student Visa Holders

On November 22 it was announced that from 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated Student Visa holders and other eligible visa holders (such as Working Holiday Visa holders) can travel to and from Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

***** UPDATE (30 November 2021)*****: The return of fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including Student Visa 500 holders, to Australia has been paused until 15 December 2021 to enable further insights to be gathered on the new COVID-19 Omicron variant. Official Media Statement. Despite this temporary pause in reopening the borders, International Students can still work to ensure they have all paperwork and documents ready for their journey to Australia and we encourage you to use this time to do so.

We have summarised the most important information from the official Covid-19 and the border website for you. As this information can change at short notice, please visit the Covid-19 and the border website before you make your travel arrangements.

Coming to Australia

Please check any entry requirements, particularly quarantine requirements, in the state or territory to which you are travelling as this can impact your travel arrangements. If you are planning on traveling onwards to or through a different state or territory after you arrived in Australia, you need to check if there are any domestic travel restrictions. States and territories can apply their own travel restrictions.


You may be eligible for no or reduced quarantine requirements when you travel to Australia depending on the state or territory to which you are travelling. Restrictions may change at short notice.

Currently, travellers returning to Australia may only enter and travel between New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT without quarantining.

You may be responsible for costs of quarantine if you arrive in a state or territory where quarantine is required.

Visit State and Territory Information for travellers for the latest quarantine arrangements.

Covid-19 Vaccine

Which Covid-19 vaccinations are accepted and approved in Australia?

Current Covid-19 vaccines and dosages accepted by the TGA for the purposes of travel to Australia are:

  • Two doses at least 14 days apart of:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria

  • AstraZeneca Covishield

  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty

  • Moderna Spikevax

  • Sinovac Coronavac

  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin

  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for 18-60 year olds).

  • Or one dose of Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine

The TGA is currently evaluating other COVID-19 vaccines that may be recognised for the purposes of inbound travel to Australia in the future. Please visit the TGA website for the latest and most up-to-date information on approved and recognised vaccines in Australia.

Departure Information for International Students Returning to Sydney and New South Wales (NSW)

While we are still waiting for some updates from each state, the below step by step guide from Study NSW may help you to prepare for your travels to Australia.

Step 1 All international students must ensure that their student visa for Australia is still valid. Please visit the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for information.

Step 2 Ensure your vaccination certificate meets Australia's requirements. To understand which vaccines are approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Good Association (TGA) please visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. Travellers vaccinated outside Australia must present certificates that meet the following criteria:

  • Issued by a national or state/provincial-level authority or an accredited vaccination provider

  • Written in English or accompanied by a certified translation

  • Containing:

    • name as it appears in your passport

    • either date of birth or passport number

    • vaccine brand name

    • date of each dose or the date on which a full course of immunisation was completed

Both paper and digital certificates are acceptable. Step 3 Submit the Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) online with a copy of your vaccination certificate before your flight. You will then receive an email confirmation with details to be shown before you board your flight and when you arrive in Australia. Complete the ATD at least 72 hours before your scheduled departure.

Step 4 Obtain a negative Covid-19 PCR Test before travelling. Please also check the requirements of your local authority and airline for pre-departure testing, as the criteria may vary depending on your airline, departure- and transit location.

Step 5 Before boarding, the airline staff will check that your vaccination status is valid for travel to Australia and that your Covid-19 test was negative.

Step 6 Obtain a Covid-19 PCR test within 24 hours of arrival in NSW. Check the NSW Health website to find the closest clinic to you. Find out more about the NSW Health requirements for mandatory testing here.

Step 7 Obtain a Covid-19 PCR test on or after the seventh day of your arrival in NSW.

Step 8 Download the Service NSW app to your phone. The app will allow you to check in at places like supermarkets or restaurants and receive COVID-19 updates while living in NSW. You can add proof of your Covid-19 vaccination to the Service NSW app. Please note that each state may use different apps.


Update from 29/11/2021 (source: Study NSW/NSW Government)

Changes in international arrivals from 28 November 2021 due to Omicron variant

  • International arrivals into Sydney must test and self isolate for 72 hours

  • From 28 November 2021 all fully vaccinated travellers arriving in NSW who have been in any overseas country must get a COVID 19 PCR (nose and throat) test and self isolate at their accommodation or place of residence for at least 72 hours. Information on self isolation for international arrivals in NSW

  • Vaccinated travellers can transit beyond Sydney to another NSW region or state to self isolate and test. Follow the rules for people in NSW who are fully vaccinated.

  • Read information from the Australian Government on travelling to Australia.

  • Victoria has similar 72 hours quarantine requirements in place due to the Omicron variant


If you are looking to study in Australia, contact Study in Australia Group now for a free consultation! We look forward to welcoming international students back to Australia.


The information on this page was obtained from the following sources on 22 Nov 2021 and updated on 14 Dec 2021. The information is subject to change. Content on this website is not intended for use as immigration advice and does not replace professional migration advice.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page