Proposal for the potential return of international students to Sydney

7 October 2021

The University of Sydney will participate in a small pilot program to bring some international students back to NSW in late 2021.

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s international borders are still currently closed and entry to New South Wales is restricted.

University of Sydney
University of Sydney is looking forward to bringing international students back to campus

What is the proposal to return offshore international students to the University of Sydney?
The proposal to return some international students to NSW universities is a joint undertaking between the NSW Government, Study NSW and all NSW universities. It aims to progressively, and safely, return international students enrolled in our universities to NSW so they can continue their studies on campus.

Initially the pilot program will welcome two flights of 250 students back to all universities in NSW in December 2021, followed by an evaluation before scaling to larger intakes.

University of Sydney students who must undertake face-to-face learning to complete their degrees will be prioritized as part of this plan. Eligible students will also be required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

This pilot program is supported by the university sector and will be run in parallel to the current arrangements to return Australian citizens to Australia. The proposal has been approved by NSW Health and NSW Police.

Who will be eligible to return?
To be eligible to return to Sydney, students must satisfy and agree to some requirements:

  • Only a small number of students will initially be eligible to return.
  • Students will need a valid Australian student visa.
  • Students will need to return a negative COVID-19 test predeparture.
  • For now, the pilot plan requires all inbound international students to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognized vaccine (listed below).
  • Eligible students will be contacted by the University once the proposal is approved.

Which vaccine will I need to have to be eligible?
For now, the pilot plan requires all inbound international students to be fully vaccinated with a TGA-recognized vaccine. The current list includes

  • SPIKEVAX manufactured by Moderna;
  • VAXZEVRIA manufactured by AstraZeneca – this includes VAXZEVRIA manufactured outside such as Covishield;
  • COMIRNATY manufactured by Pfizer; and
  • Janssen (or Johnson & Johnson) manufactured by Janssen-Cilag.

What happens next?
The University of Sydney sent an Expression of Interest (EOI) Form, via email to students who are eligible to participate in the program. Students with current offers or considering study at the University of Sydney are not eligible to participate in the Arrivals Pilot Program. Please note, completing the EOI form is not a commitment or a guarantee by the university of participation in the Arrivals Pilot nor is it a confirmed registration. This EOI Form is only an expression of students’ interest and preparedness to return.

Even if students are not interested in coming to Australia to continue their studies, completing the EOI Form will help the university with planning and preparation so we can ensure a supported learning experience for both onshore, and offshore students.

How can I register my interest?
At this stage students cannot register their interest for the program. Eligible students will be contacted directly by the university via their official university email, so please check regularly for any updates.


Do you have any questions about studying at the University of Sydney or about this announcement? Let us know by emailing or by calling 1-866-698-7355.