Australia’s Borders Are Opening: Student Arrival Plans & Updates

The news we’ve been wanting to hear for (almost) the past 2 years is finally here. The months spent studying through a screen, having to face technical difficulties, unable to meet our friends and lecturers in person; all these will finally come to end. Because Australia’s international borders will soon be opening!

Starting from 1st December 2021, Australia will be welcoming fully vaccinated students into the country. Your student visas can finally be put to use now! Read on below to learn more:

Plan your travels ahead

Although Australia’s borders are opening soon, only certain states will be allowing fully vaccinated arrivals depending on the state’s vaccination rate. It would be wise to make plans ahead depending on the state you are looking to travel to.

  • Fully vaccinated arrivals into the Northern Territory will no longer need to quarantine from 20 December 2021, however they will still be required to undergo a rapid antigen testing
  • Until late January or early February 2022, travel restrictions to Western Australia will not ease
  •  Good news for medical and/or allied health students, Queensland will be welcoming fully vaccinated international students from early 2022. More info on this here.
  • Fully vaccinated arrivals will be welcome to South Australia without a quarantine period but only once 90% of South Australians are fully vaccinated, which is estimated to be achieved by late December 2021. More info can be found here.
  • For international students looking to go to Victoria, Victoria’s International Student Arrival Plan has been endorsed by the Australian Government and will provide a safe pathway to the state. Priority will be given to university students who need to do practical work, such as health and medical students, and postgraduate research students. More info here.
  • In Tasmania, travel restrictions will be relaxed from 15 December 2021. International students arriving before 15 December will have to undergo hotel quarantine for 14 days. For those arriving after 15 December, no quarantine will be required for fully vaccinated with a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before flying to Tasmania
  • For the start of 2022, the Australian Capital Territory will be welcoming fully vaccinated international students with a Covid-19 vaccine recognized by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration
  • From 6 December 2021, New South Wales will be welcoming back international students via a pilot program of 250 students every 2 weeks continuing into 2022, beginning with student visa holders who are enrolled in an NSW education provider. Good news is vaccinated students will not be required to be quarantined. More info on the pilot program here.

Australia Travel Declaration

Starting from 1 November 2021, all individuals travelling to Australia should complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) 72 hours before departure, which contains a declaration on the individual’s vaccination status considered as a critical health information. Evidence must be provided and that this declaration has been made before boarding the aircraft.

From mid-December the ATD will change to the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD). More details to come.


i) Is the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) mandatory for inbound and outbound travel, and what if I cannot make one?

International students will be told to complete the ATD 72 hours before departing into Australia. Should in any case evidence of a completed ATD cannot be produced at check-in or a student chooses not to complete an ATD, a manual declaration will be undertaken. The student will then be asked to retain their declaration to be handed to relevant authorities on arrival in Australia.

ii) Will the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) verify a traveler’s vaccination status automatically?

No, airlines must verify the traveller’s vaccination status. Automation of vaccination status will be possible via the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) to be implemented in December 2021

iii) What methods of vaccine verification are there?

The Australian Travel Declaration (ATD) is used for passengers to provide their health information until the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) is live in mid-December 2021

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