What International Students Need To Know To Return In 2022

There has been a procession of announcements from Australian states outlining their plans to welcome back international students in 2022 following extended border closures.

But when international students are expected to return and the quarantine requirements upon their arrival differ from state to state.

MBA News Australia has put together an overview of each state’s plan in a bid to help prospective international students quickly get on top of the latest developments and plan ahead for 2022.

It’s important to note first the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for the purposes of travel to Australia:

Currently, TGA approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccinations are:

  • Comirnaty (Pfizer)
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
  • Covishield (AstraZeneca)
  • Spikevax (Moderna)
  • Takeda (Moderna)
  • Janssen-Cilag (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Coronavac (Sinovac)
  • BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm) (for 60 years old and under)
  • Covaxin (Bharat Biotech)

Queensland has released the  Queensland Student Arrivals Plan. It states that with the easing of Australian border restrictions from 15 December 2021, international students and other eligible visa holders may make their own travel arrangements to Australia without requiring a travel exemption. This travel may happen directly into Queensland or via another state. You will need to ensure you comply with the requirements of the state or territory of your arrival, and any other state or territories that you plan to travel to. This includes quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements. Please be aware that restrictions may change at short notice.

As it remains, there will still be a requirement for international travellers to quarantine before 90% of Queensland’s eligible population (aged 16+) is fully vaccinated as per Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families. To enter Queensland, students will need to meet the following criteria:

•  Complete both the Queensland International Arrivals Registration and Australian Travel Declaration

•  Are fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccination

•  Provide proof of vaccination status

•  Provide a negative COVID-19 test taken in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Queensland

When 90% of Queensland’s eligible population (aged 16+) is fully vaccinated, students will have no restrictions imposed upon entry to Queensland and no quarantine will be required if they are fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccination.

New South Wales

New South Wales is supporting the return of international students to NSW, in line with the State’s roadmap to recovery and the National Transition Plan for Australia’s COVID-19 response.

According to Study NSW, from 15 December 2021, international students and other eligible visa holders will be able to return to Australia without having to apply for a travel exemption.

Returning international students will need to:

1. have received a full dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA),

2. provide proof of their vaccination status; and

3. present a negative COVID-19 PCR Test that has been taken within three days prior to scheduled travel to NSW.

Upon arrival in NSW, international students must self-isolate for 72 hours* and until they receive a negative test result from the COVID-19 PCR test taken within 24 hours of arrival.

*From Tuesday, 21 December all fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in NSW will be required to get a PCR test within 24 hours after arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result. They will no longer be required to self-isolate for the full 72 hours.


According to Victoria’s information page on International Student Arrivals, fully vaccinated eligible student visa holders can travel to Australia from Wednesday 15 December 2021 without a travel exemption.

To be able to travel to Australia, students must hold an eligible visa, undertake COVID-19 test requirements prior to departure, and be fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Please refer to the Australian Department of Home Affairs for more information about vaccination entry requirements for Australia.

Fully vaccinated eligible student visa holders are required to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and between day 5 and 7 after entering Victoria.

Western Australia

According to Study Perth, the Western Australian Government has announced that the State’s border will be open to all fully vaccinated domestic and international arrivals without the need to quarantine on Saturday, 5 February 2022 at 12.01am.

By this date, it is expected that 90% of Western Australians (aged 12+) will be fully vaccinated.

This is the news that we’ve all been waiting for – we can’t wait to welcome international students back to Perth!

The Federal Government has also announced it will introduce further support for the international education sector and international students as they return to Australia. These measures include changes to visa settings and post-study work rights, the extension of the temporary graduate visa and more than $37 million to be available to support international education providers most affected by COVID-19.

Refer to the WA Government’s COVID-19 information hub for more information.


The ACT announced will welcome back international tertiary education students who are fully vaccinated with a TGA recognised COVID-19 vaccine for the start of the 2022 academic year.

Students will need to follow all Australian Government vaccination and testing requirements for international arrivals. Quarantine will not be required in the ACT for fully vaccinated students.

Higher education institutions provide a considerable social and economic contribution to Canberra. The return of international students will be very welcome news for our city.

The ACT Government will continue to work with the universities and CIT as they prepare for the return of international students.

South Australia

According to Study Adelaide, from 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated international students, Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders, and some other temporary visa holders can return to Adelaide without requiring a travel exemption.

Every traveller arriving in South Australia from overseas or interstate will need to complete an EntryCheckSA application.

You can complete this form up to 14 days before your planned arrival and it is recommended you complete your application at least 72 hours before your planned arrival.

Doug Estwick
Doug is an author for MBA News and Fixed Income News Australia. Doug has been a media and communications professional for more than 10 years, including working as an editor for News Corp's Quest Newspaper group.