Returning to UOW Australia

UOW knows many international students have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to continue or commence their studies in Australia and enjoy the benefits of the UOW on-campus learning experience.

UOW welcomes the Australian Federal Government's recent announcement that people who have been fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recognised or approved vaccine and hold a valid visa will be allowed to enter Australia from 15 December 2021 without a travel exemption. Valid visa categories include: skilled visas, student visas, refugee visas, humanitarian visas and working holiday visas. 

For more information and the latest advice, please visit the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) website. You can also visit the Study NSW website for information about the announcement.

The Department of Home Affairs has a checklist that helps fully vaccinated people work through what they need to do to enter Australia – you can view the DOHA checklist here. Isolation / quarantine requirements may apply – you can find the latest information on the NSW Health website.

UOW very much looks forward to seeing more international students return to our Australian campuses. 

Returning to Australia

From 31 December 2021, all fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in NSW are no longer required to undertake a PCR (nose and throat swab) test within 24 hours of their arrival.

International arrivals must now:

  1. Travel directly from the airport to their home or accommodation. A face mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times must be worn. They must remain 1.5 metres away from other people as much as possible.
  2. Self-isolate until they receive a negative result from a COVID-19 rapid antigen test taken within the first 24 hours of arrival (they may leave self-isolation to get a COVID-19 test.)
    - Rapid antigen tests can be purchased from pharmacies and retailers including major supermarkets such as Woolworths and Coles.
    - Typically, results from rapid antigen tests (RAT) are known within 15 minutes of taking the test.
    - Availability of RAT tests in Australia is currently very limited. Students should consider bringing a TGA-approved Rapid Antigen Test Kit from their home country when they travel.
  3. Comply with the testing requirements as described on the NSW Health website.
  4. Not enter high-risk settings such as (aged care, disability care, healthcare, and correctional facilities) for 7 days after arrival.
  5. Undertake another rapid antigen test on Day 6 after arriving in NSW.

For more information please visit the NSW Health website.

International students who do not meet eligibility requirements to travel to Australia can consider the information on the Department of Home Affairs website to see if they are able to request a travel exemption.

In order to apply for a travel exemption, you will need to meet the criteria outlined by the Department of Home Affairs and provide appropriate evidence to support your request.

You may also require a letter of recommendation from UOW to accompany your application for an exemption. If you require a letter of recommendation, you can request one as follows:

Please note that it may take up to ten working days for you to receive a response.

FInd out more

Please note:

  • If you are not granted an exemption, you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia.
  • If you are granted an exemption, you will need to take evidence of the exemption decision to the airport with all other documentation, and travel as soon as is practicable. You should also contact UOW to advise of your travel plans. Please note that you are responsible for your own travel and may be required to quarantine on arrival at your own expense.

Information updated 29 November 2021

UOW is participating in a pilot program to bring a small number of eligible international students back to NSW/ACT in late 2021 and early 2022. The pilot plan is a joint undertaking between the NSW Government, Study NSW and all NSW and ACT universities and will see 500 fully vaccinated students return in December 2021.

While the pilot will initially only bring a small number of eligible international students back to Australia, it's an important milestone that will lay the foundation for the safe return of more students in the future. For overseas international students who are unable to participate in this initial pilot, UOW will continue to provide remote online learning options, where possible.

If you would like to know more about the Pilot program, you can visit the Study NSW website. You can also find a range of frequently asked questions on the FCM Travel website.

Update 1 December

The Australian Government has announced that from 15 December 2021, international students who have been fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recognised vaccine and hold a valid student visa will be allowed to enter Australia without having to apply for a travel exemption.

However, following the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the New South Wales (NSW) Government has introduced changes to quarantine arrangements for international arrivals. Read more about guidelines for recent fully vaccinated arrivals here.

Update 5 November

Additional COVID-19 vaccines recognised for travellers

As of 1 November 2021, Bharat (Covaxin) and Sinopharm (BBIBP-CorV) vaccines will be recognised by the Australian Government for the purpose of travel to Australia. Students who have been fully vaccinated with the above-mentioned vaccines, as well as any other Australian Government recognised vaccine, will now meet vaccination requirements for the Pilot program.

Expressions of interest (EOI)

The second round EOI is now closed.

Expressions of interest may be reopened if more flights become available. To be invited to participate in this initial Pilot, students must have a valid CoE and student visa in place.

Students eligible to participate in the first and second round of applications were sent an email from UOW. If you did not receive an email, unfortunately you were ineligible to participate in the program at that time. Should you meet the visa and CoE requirements in the future, you may be invited to participate at a later date.

Information for successful applicants

Students who have been accepted into the Pilot program need to start preparing for travel to Australia.

For steps that you need to take to prepare, as well as FAQs and other information, please refer to the FCM travel website.

International students are reminded that entry to Australia will require a valid Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and an appropriate student visa. Read more about visas on the Home Affairs website.

If you have questions about the pilot program, please refer to the FAQs on the FCM Travel website, or contact UOW Student Service