Given current border closures, very limited flights and other health requirements, schools are required to read and follow the advice as per below.
Students travelling to their home countries during current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
As per normal circumstances, students can choose to return to their home countries, however, coronavirus (COVID-19) presents additional requirements and travel restrictions. Accordingly, schools are asked to work closely with all students and their parents / legal guardians as they make their travel plans.
Students will find travelling during this time different to earlier periods of pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) travel. School staff are requested to take additional time to discuss this with students and to prepare them for the experience. In order to do this, please confirm whether students have any pre-existing health (physical and mental) issues that may impact their ability to safely return home. If such conditions do exist, the host school must develop a relevant safety plan, in conjunction with the wellbeing team/medical practitioners, for the student during their travel. The student must have a copy of the plan with them during their travel home. In some cases and when students have a history of suffering from a certain condition (for example hay fever or asthma) they should visit their GP and request a letter which outlines the treatment they have been receiving for the condition. They should carry this letter with them at all times throughout their travel.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing
All students should have a coronavirus (COVID-19) test as close as possible to the date of departure (allowing for the time to recieve test results) to ensure they are safe to travel. Check with your local doctor / General Practitioner or coronavirus (COVID-19) testing centre on the turnaround times for test results. For more information,
see: Seeking medical assistance, suspected and confirmed cases
Airport and other health requirements
Many Airports in Australia (domestic and international) are rigorously screening passengers, conducting health and temperature checks, ensuring masks are worn and checking permits (where required). These procedures and requirements may change at short notice and are outside of the Department's control. Students
must not travel if they are unwell. ISCs should advise students of this and regularly check on their health in the lead up to departure.
If students fail airport health checks, they will likely be prevented from embarking on their onward journey and be required to return home or potentially enter a quarantine facility. If this occurs, they must call their ISC immediately. See the next FAQ in this section below for further information.
For more information on individual airport health requirements, see:
Home country re-entry requirements
Most countries have re-entry requirements in place. All students and ISCs must check these details with the relevant Embassy and / or Consulate well in advance before booking tickets. Some of these re-entry requirements may include the need to undertake quarantine and / or other requirements. Students choosing to return to China, should be made aware of the need for a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test result three days prior to departing, effective from 11 September. Please note, these requirements can change at short notice.
To access information about the main Embassies and Consulates for our students, see:
For a list of all overseas embassies and consulates in Australia, see:
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Students should not attempt to embark on their homeward bound journey if they have not completed all their home country re-entry requirements. They should be strongly advised to re-book their flights as they risk being turned away by border security/airline staff and potentially placed in quarantine accommodation (if travelling home via NSW). This may result in a student’s Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) being cancelled which could jeopardise the student’s visa and their ability to return to Australia in the future. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) would also be informed. ISCs must ensure that students' parents are aware of this and provide informed consent for the travel. If a student’s CAAW is cancelled for travel related reasons, schools and the Department will continue to do what we can to prepare students for their departure and support them during their travel.
Returning to Australia
Schools may wish to discuss with their students that returning to Australia to resume learning may not be possible given current coronavirus (COVID-19) related travel restrictions. For more information on current travel restrictions, see:
Travel restrictions and exemptions
Students failing an airport health check
If a student fails an aiport health check, reassure them that you will try to manage the situation. Try to obtain as much information as possible from the student and ask if you can speak directly to the official who is with the student. If the situation cannot be resolved and the student is detained please call your Department International Education Division School Support Officer as soon as possible (during normal business hours) or the Emergency Phone on 0408 515 036 if after hours or at the weekend.
Additional travel documents or travel items
In addition to normal travel documents, students must have their school student emergency / safety card with them at all times throughout the journey. Students should be contactable via telephone (call and/or other platforms such as WeChat) at all times, particularly on the day of departure. Schools should explain what to do and who to call in the event of an emergency.
The Department's International Education Division can also provide a letter for students to carry with them which outlines some of the student's details (i.e. Name, ID Number, Nationality, Age and School) and reason for travel.
For students transiting through Sydney (or other airports), ISCs should remain in regular contact throughout the day to ensure the student is managing with the additional health and security measures in place at the airport. Some students may find this confronting and may require additional support through hourly phone calls. The frequency of contact should be based on the needs of the student.
Students should also ensure they have appropriate supplies of medication with
them. Schools should advise students to also take an adequate supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their entire journey home (including spares). This includes masks, gloves and hand sanitiser. Students should wear masks at all times, including during any overnight periods, and maintain social distancing requirements where possible.
Travelling via Sydney or other domestic airports
Where possible, students should be strongly encouraged to take direct international flights home from Melbourne. All students holding a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) must have their travel plans approved well before travel. If students can only travel via Sydney, those holding a
CAAW must also have their travel plans to Sydney approved before leaving. The Department may advise the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA) of any students travelling without approved care and welfare arrangements. As the failure to maintain approved CAAW arrangements is a breach of their student visa, this could jeopardise the student’s visa and their ability to return to Australia in the future.
Permits to enter NSW
If students must travel via Sydney, they must be granted a border entry permit before commencing their journey to Sydney. ISCs must check that students have applied for, and been granted, a permit within the required timeframe. These requirements can change at short notice and are outside of the Department's control. ISCs should obtain a copy of the permit as a risk mitigation measure. For information on obtaining a permit, see:
NSW Government - Border entry permit
If transiting through Sydney cannot be avoided, then the student’s transit should be for a period of less than eight hours. ISCs should be strongly discouraging parents from booking flights with transit periods of eight hours or more and overnight transits as these necessitate a stay in one of Sydney’s quarantine hotels. ISCs must ensure that parents are aware and understand this. It is strongly advised that the Principal or Assistant Principal also contact the student’s parents to advise them against this travel option.
Schools and the Department will assist students travelling via Sydney, in preparing for departure and to support them throughout their travel and stay in hotel quarantine. The Department can provide text for an email to parents of students travelling home via Sydney with a hotel quarantine stay. Schools should also advise parents that quarantine arrangements in Sydney are managed by the NSW Government and can change at any time. This is outside of the Department’s control. Parents must meet all costs associated with travel and any quarantine accommodation costs
In the current circumstances, schools should not approve an overnight stay / layover interstate for any students. If students and parents book any flights with an overnight stay / layover interstate, the school should contact their school support officer as soon as possible to discuss.
Cancelled international flights (departing from Sydney or other domestic airports)
Prior to departure, the student and parent should be advised to continually check airline websites for any change to departure times or dates prior to leaving Melbourne. Students should not embark on their homeward journey without checking all flights. Please advise the student and their parent / legal guardian verbally and in writing to limit opportunities for confusion.
If the student arrives in Sydney and their international flight is unexpectantly delayed they may be placed in quarantine accommodation in NSW. Schools and the Department will continue to do what they can to prepare students for their departure and support them during their travel and any quarantine hotel stay. The Department can provide text for an email to parents of students travelling home via Sydney.
If a student’s CAAW is cancelled for travel related reasons, schools and the Department will continue to do what we can to prepare students for their departure and support them during their travel. The Department can provide text for an email to parents of students travelling home via Sydney.
If the student’s travel plans are delayed for any reason, they should call their ISC as soon as they learn of any delay. ISCs should try to obtain as much information as possible from the student and ask if they can speak directly to the official who is with the student to better understand the situation. If you require assistance, please call your Department International Education Division School Support Officer or the Emergency Phone on 0408 515 036 if after hours or at the weekend.
Travelling to Sydney or other domestic airports
Students are not to travel by road or rail (i.e. car / taxi / ride share / bus / train) interstate. Driving for long periods may expose students (particularly unaccompanied minors) to high risks. Please contact your Department International Education Division School Support Officer as soon as possible if you have a student wishing to travel via road or rail to Sydney in order to board a flight to their home country.
Vietnam: students need to check with the Vietnamese Embassy regularly for information and registrations to open, see:
China: an increased number of commercial flights fly to and from Sydney and Auckland. For more information, contact:
Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Melbourne