Students travelling to their home countries during current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions
Students must speak to their school before making any travel plans because coronavirus (COVID-19) has created additional requirements and travel restrictions.
Travelling during this time different to earlier periods of pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) travel. School staff will 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 safety plan, in conjunction with the wellbeing team / doctor / medical practitioner. Students 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 doctor 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. Students must check with their doctor / medical 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.
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, students must call their International Student Coordinator (ISC) immediately.
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 need 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 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.
Students must also be aware that returning to Australia to resume learning in 2021 may not be possible given current coronavirus (COVID-19) related travel restrictions.
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.
Students should also ensure they have appropriate supplies of medication and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their entire journey home. This includes masks, gloves and hand sanitiser (including spares). 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 are 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 by their school well before travel. If students can only travel via Sydney, those holding a CAAW must also have their travel plans to Sydney approved by the school 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. The Department strongly discourages parents from booking flights with transit periods of eight hours or more and overnight transits as these require a stay in one of Sydney’s quarantine hotels.
Cancelled international flights (departing from Sydney or other domestic airports)
Prior to departure, student and parents should 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 as delays in Sydney may means that students are placed in quarantine accommodation in NSW.
If student’s travel plans are delayed for any reason, they should call their International Student Coordinator (ISC) as soon as they learn of any delay.
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.
Vietnam: students need to check with the Vietnamese Embassy regularly for information and registrations to open, see: Vietnamese Embassy.
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