Arriving in Australia
Get a head start!
When you first land in Australia, you will pass through a number of security checks. This guide will help you understand the process and ensure that you adhere to the relevant rules.
Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO)
Once you have been granted a visa and arrived safely in Australia, make sure you check that your visa details and conditions are all correct (including your passport details, date of birth and class of visa).
Unique Student Identifier (USI)
Whether you are an international student or a domestic student who is undertaking nationally accredited training (including a vocational course such as a Certificate or Diploma course), you will need a USI number with effect from 1st January 2015. After you are granted a student visa, please register and ensure you have a number.
When you arrive into any Australian airport, you must present your passport, incoming passenger card (usually given to you on the flight before landing) and student visa evidence to Australian Immigration. When you have completed the entry stamping, you will then move to baggage claim to retrieve your checked-in bags (luggage).
Australian customs and quarantine
Australia is one of the countries that has strict quarantine laws and tough on-the-spot fines. Every piece of luggage could be screened and it is mandatory to declare certain goods that you may be carrying. If you fail to declare or dispose of any quarantine items or make a false declaration, in addition to on-the-spot fines, you could be prosecuted and fined more than AU$60,000 and risk 10 years in prison. All international mail is also screened.
If you wish to see what is on a passenger card for Australian arrivals and departures, an example is on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Some products may require treatment to make them safe. Items that are restricted because of the risk of pests and disease will be seized and destroyed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). The Department of Immigration and Border Patrol (DIBP) could use quarantine detector dogs to check through baggage for food, plant material or animal products.
You should prepare a folder with your official documents to carry with you to Australia, including:
- valid passport with student visa copy
- offer letter from Acknowledge Education
- Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE) issued by Acknowledge Education
- OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) policy
- receipts of payments (e.g. tuition fees, OSHC, bank statements etc.)
- original or certified copies of your academic transcripts and qualifications
- other personal identification documents, e.g. birth certificate, ID card, driver’s licence
- medical records and/or prescriptions
If you are travelling with your family you will need to include their documents as well. Keep all documents in your carry-on luggage. In case you lose the originals, make copies that can be stored digitally on a hard drive or in an email that you send to yourself.
Driving in Australia
If you are an international visitor on a student visa, and you hold a current overseas drivers licence you do not have to obtain an Australian drivers licence so long as:
- You remain a visitor
- Your overseas licence remains valid and current
- You have not been suspended or disqualified from driving in Australia or elsewhere
- You have not had your licence suspended or cancelled or your visiting driver privileges withdrawn
- Your licence must be either written in English or, if the licence is not in English, you must carry an authorised English translation.
Road laws in Australia are very strict and can differ from state to state. Before attempting to drive on any road in Australia make sure that you have a valid licence and you know the road rules.
There are certain criminal offences, such as drink driving, where the police can suspend your licence on the spot. You cannot drive while your licence is suspended. We drive on the left-hand side of the road in Australia and it is a legal requirement that seatbelts must be worn by the driver as well as all passengers.