Essentials: Australian customs and airport arrival
Australia’s various regions might make arriving in the country and getting to where you need to be a little intimidating; being stranded in the desert (with Australia’s well-known wildlife keeping you company) is a thought you’d like to ideally avoid! But don’t worry; getting to where you need to be is simple provided you do a little research beforehand. Let’s help get you to where you need to be!
Australia has seven airports which are designated as “major airports” according to the Australian Government: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney. This is great news as one of these will most likely be near where you are studying. There are also a number of alternate or restricted use airports too. Plus you have the option of a number of trains and coach options to get from an airport to your final destination – just make sure you have details of where you need to get to written down!
You’ll be asked to complete a Passenger Card when you arrive at Australian border control – but don’t worry too much about this. These will either be handed to you on the plane or as you arrive at border control. You’ll be asked to provide basic details about yourself, as well as the circumstances around your stay in Australia (such as your address and contact details during your stay). You may have to answer a few additional questions about your health status (remember, you need to have health cover as part of your visa application) and any prior criminal convictions. As long as you have obtained the correct visa and you have on your the necessary documents we’ve recommended, this will be no problem.
Remembered everything? Read our guides, ‘40 Questions international students should ask before they leave’ and have our checklist of essential documents close by.
More often than not, foreign students manage to navigate customs in Australia without much trouble; but just in case something does go wrong, it is always helpful to be able to contact your place of study so that they can clear up any concerns passport control may have about your time in the country. Think to yourself, ‘How would I prove to a stranger that I am who I say I am (i.e. a border agent)?’
Of course sometimes there may be some smaller uncontrollable glitches with your journey such as a flight delay, or simply your baggage going missing. If any unavoidable issues do arise during your journey, then the worst thing you can do is panic. The airport staff are there to help you and will be more than happy to help solve any problems that you may have. This is another reason why you should keep all essentials on you in your hand-luggage, rather than checking everything in on the plane.
You probably aren't thinking of bringing a pet with you but if you are, then don't! Australia has very strict laws about what animals can enter the country (and it's costly). So it's best to leave any pets at home.
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Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.