Arriving in Australia

You must prepare to move to Australia once you have received your visa. To give yourself time to settle down before courses begin, aim to arrive two to three weeks before the start of the term. To get ready for your trip, follow the steps below and the pre-departure checklist.

At the Airport

Australian Immigration

The following details will make sure your arrival in Australia is quick and simple, from airport procedures to university orientation. You must go through immigration and customs clearance when you arrive at an Australian airport. Simply ask a member of the airline crew or a border official in the arrivals area for assistance if you need it. After a clearance officer has verified your identification and visa, you can get your bags and proceed with clearing customs and quarantine. 

You must submit your passport, passenger card, and proof of your student visa to Australian Immigration when you land at any Australian airport. The passenger card is often issued to you on the flight before landing.

You will proceed to baggage claim to get your checked bags after finishing the entry stamping (luggage). 

Information you should have before visiting Australia

Incoming Passenger Card (IPC)

According to Australian legislation, arriving travelers must complete a passenger card to identify themselves and submit specific information. 

The Migration Act of 1958 (the Migration Act) and the Migration Regulations of 1994 establish Australian law for the completion of a passenger card (the Migration Regulations).

 

What is a passenger card?

A passenger card is a record of a person’s arrival into Australia and a means of passenger identification. Passengers entering Australia must fill out an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC). 

  • A declaration regarding the character and fitness standards for non-Australian citizens is made on the passenger card. 
  • a visa application form for those seeking Special Category Visas as well as Permanent Residents of Norfolk Island.

Who needs to complete a passenger card?

When entering Australia, the majority of travelers are required to fill out and submit a passenger card. But some individuals are excused from filling out a passenger card (as prescribed in regulation 3.06 and schedule 9 of the Migration Regulations). 

IPC refusal by Australian nationals may result in punishment. Foreign nationals may face penalties and be denied immigration clearance.

Completing a passenger card in English

English must be used to complete an IPC. Passengers who need help filling out a passenger card can download printable examples of the IPC, which includes translations (see Passenger Card Samples section below).

Front:

Back:

In addition to correctly answering further questions on their immigration status, health, and any prior criminal convictions, passengers are asked to sign and date the IPC. False information can have an impact on a non-Australian citizen’s visa status. 

When a traveler is being watched over, an IPC can be finished on their behalf. This includes caregivers for travelers with special needs as well as parents or legal guardians of minors. When a passenger card is filled out on behalf of a non-Australian citizen, that person is deemed to have completed the card. 

The Department of Home Affairs website has more details on what to expect when you go to the airport.

Australian Customs and Quarantine

One nation with stringent legislation and severe on-the-spot fines is Australia. Every piece of luggage may be screened, and you must disclose any potentially prohibited items you may be carrying. You could face legal action, a fine of more than AU$60,000, and a 10-year prison sentence if you fail to declare any items, neglect to dispose of any items, or make a false declaration. Additionally, every foreign mail is examined. 

To make some products safe, they may need to be treated. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service will seize and destroy items that are prohibited due to the possibility of pests and illness (AQIS).

Quarantine detector dogs may be used by the Department of Immigration and Border Patrol (DIBP) to search through luggage for food, plant material, or animal items.

Documents

You should prepare a folder with your official documents to carry with you to Australia, including:

  • Valid passport 
  • Offer Letter
  • Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE) 
  • OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) policy. You are not permitted to arrive in Australia without Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). If you arrive in Australia before your policy start date, you may be prevented from entry. If you need to arrive before your OSHC policy commences, ensure you change the start date to match your arrival. 
  • We recommend you arrange your accommodation before you arrive in Australia, even if it is just for the first few days.
  • Receipts of payments (e.g. tuition fees, OSHC, bank statements etc.)
  • Original or certified copies of your academic transcripts and qualifications
  • Other personal identification documents, e.g. birth certificate, ID card, driver’s license
  • Medical records and/or prescriptions

What can I bring in?

If travelers fail to accurately declare high risk biosecurity products when they arrive in Australia, they will face severe penalties under Australia’s strict customs and biosecurity rules.

Customs

Knowing what you may and cannot bring into Australia will help you decide what to leave out of your luggage. Drugs like marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines are prohibited both inside and outside of Australia. You must declare a variety of things when you arrive in Australia, including:

  • All food, plant material and animal items.
  • Firearms, weapons and ammunition.
  • Currency amounts of A$10,000 (or foreign equivalent).
  • Some medicines.

You should be aware that Australian Border Force agents routinely question travelers about their whereabouts, and that they may also use trained dogs to look for contraband or illegal imports. Declare your products or seek guidance from an Australian Border Force officer if you are unsure. Even if you declare items, your luggage might not even be inspected.

Biosecurity

When packing your personal belongings, it’s crucial to review Australia’s biosecurity regulations. Some goods are prohibited from entering the nation, while others have stringent import requirements. You can search the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) to find detailed import conditions under which various commodities may be brought into Australia. 

Do not bring fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry, pork, eggs, dairy products, live plants or seeds. These items have the potential to bring dangerous pests and diseases into Australia, destroying both our unique ecosystem and our key agriculture and tourism sectors. 

You are required by law to list any risk commodities on your incoming passenger declaration, including some foods, plant materials, and animal products.

You may face consequences if you make a false or incomplete declaration. An infringement notice, for instance, could cost you up to A$2,664. Additionally, your visa could be revoked, in which case entry to Australia might be denied and you might be detained in immigration detention until your departure from the country. Declare any items you are unsure of, or leave them at home.

You can find more information on what you can bring or send to Australia on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.

You can manage, access, and move your money with the help of a variety of banking options in Australia. Get more information about the system and the ideal solution for your requirements. 

When it comes to managing your money, Australia offers a variety of options, from national banks to regional credit unions and building societies. Here are a few quick hints for opening bank accounts.

  • You can set up a bank account before or after you arrive. 
  • To open an account you will need to have your Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE), passport, Letter of Offer and other forms of identification
  • You may also need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN). You can find information about getting a TFN at the Australian Tax Office website.
  • Financial or student support officers at your university or college will be able to give you information on how to set up a bank account. 
  • You can also read advice from the Australian Government’s Moneysmart website.

Banking

Australian currency

The basic unit of Australian currency is the dollar (AUD) (AUD). One dollar ($1) contains one hundred pennies. Dollar bills in Australia are available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, and $2 coins are available. In stores and supermarkets, prices are rounded to the nearest 5 cents. For instance, you would pay $2 for a $1.99 item but only $1.95 for one that was $1.97.

Accessing your money

Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are available all over Australia, where you can withdraw cash. The majority of the time, using an ATM connected to your financial institution is free. Be aware that if you use another provider's ATM they will usually charge you a fee. The ATM will advise you of the fee at the point of withdrawal. Most ATMs accept international cards, so you can use your credit or debit card from home even if you haven't opened a bank account before arriving.

Moving money overseas or to Australia

Australian banks offer various services for moving money to and from Australia. For all these services, fees and charges will apply. These can be found on financial provider websites. You can have funds electronically transferred into your Australian bank account from overseas banks. You must provide the recipient's banking information in order to send money to another country. The money will then be electronically transferred from your account to the account of your financial service provider.

Financial complaints

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority assists individuals and small businesses to resolve complaints concerning all financial services provided by banks. For example, there may be an instance where you see that money has been withdrawn from your bank account without your consent. For more information visit: https://www.afca.org.au/ or call 1800931678.

Phone and internet

Australia has many phone and internet services available, including fixed (landline) phones, mobile and internet.

Mobile phones

It is best to purchase a SIM card or Australian mobile number when you arrive in Australia, as using your home phone number will incur high costs. There are two types of mobile phone accounts you can choose from.

Contract

If you will be using your mobile a lot, and will be in Australia for a fixed period of time for study, a contract might work out cheaper for you. There are numerous mobile phone operators in Australia, and you can choose from a range of phone plans where you can get the handset with little (if any) up-front cost; you then pay a fixed price per month for a certain amount of calls, text messages and data.

Internet

Many internet providers in Australia are also mobile or fixed phone carriers, and they offer pre-paid or contract internet plans similar to the above. If you choose a contract service, you will receive a modem, and pay each month for a certain data allowance. Ask the providers you are considering for details of plans that might suit you.

Prepaid

A prepaid service gives you flexibility because you control how much you spend and can stop using the service any time. Pre-paid SIM cards are sold in many shops and supermarkets, as well as by mobile phone providers. After an easy set-up process with the provider, you will have a working Australian mobile number which you can top up with credit as needed. You can usually top up your prepaid service online or at a range of retail outlets. Your mobile phone provider can provide details on how you can top up your service.

Making international calls

To make international telephone calls from Australia, dial 0011 followed by the country code, the area code (if required) and the telephone number. To call Australia from overseas, dial 61 followed by the area code and telephone number. To make calls from one location to another within Australia, dial the area code (if required) followed by the telephone number. You can read more about telephone, internet and mobile phone services in Australia at: www.communications.gov.au

Transport

Transport options available in Australia include buses, trains, trams and ferries, while you can also drive yourself.

The transport options available in Australia include buses, trains, trams and ferries.  Your access to these transport services will vary depending on where you live.  You will also be able to access private and public car services from taxis to hired limousines, available to take you from door to door.

Some larger education providers will also have their own in-house transport system, especially useful if you have to leave your campus late at night or live in a hard-to-reach area.

Public transport costs vary depending on where in Australia you live and the type of transport you are using. You should look at the relevant state or territory government website for where you are living to see the full range of services available, timetables, and the costs associated.

You can use an Opal card for an Opal fare on metro/train, bus, ferry or light rail services in Sydney and surrounds. Opal is the smartcard ticketing system used to pay for travel on public transport in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, the Hunter and the Illawarra. You can also use your Opal card on some private services where you can see ‘OpalPay accepted here’. With OpalPay, just tap with your Opal card for fast, convenient way to pay your fare. More information can be found here: https://transportnsw.info/tickets-opal

International students are generally not entitled to transport concessions in NSW. More information on on getting around Sydney and New South Wales is available on the Transport NSW website.

A small number of international students whose study is fully-funded under certain Australian Government scholarships may be eligible for transport concessions. Contact to your education provider directly for details on eligibility.

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Ask us anything about studying in Australia, how to get a Student Visa, or information about our courses (it’s free!). We’re always ready to help.

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