COVID-19 advice for international students

Keep yourself updated with the latest travel advice, support services and FAQs.

Last updated: 04.20pm, 26 November 2021

New arrangements for eligible visa holders

From 1 December 2021, eligible visa holders, fully vaccinated with a recognised vaccine, can travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. The list of eligible visa holders can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. The University welcomes this news, and this webpage will continued to be updated as more information becomes available.

If you are currently unable to travel to Melbourne, we hope for your safe return to campus when travel restrictions permit. No matter where you are located, find the advice and support you need to make informed decisions.

Visa advice

Visit our COVID-19 student visa FAQs for the latest advice about how your student visa may be affected.

Travel advice

  • International students outside Australia

    If you are waiting to travel to Australia to commence or resume your studies on-campus, please note that Australian Government restrictions prohibit non-Australian citizens travelling to Australia at this time. We continue to follow the advice of the Victorian and Australian Governments regarding travel restrictions into and out of Australia.

    The Victorian Government's Study Melbourne service has an online resource that may help you to understand the latest advice on travelling to Victoria, with a list of FAQs and support programs. We highly recommend reading this information in detail and returning to the page for further updates.

    We will contact you as soon as we know more about the possibility of travel to Australia to commence or resume your studies on-campus.

    Travel exemptions

    Current PhD candidates should refer to the Graduate Research FAQ for current information.

    For all other students, we are not able to facilitate any travel exemptions at this time. We recommend you continue to monitor the Department of Home Affairs website for further Government advice. Documentation relating to your studies, including an Evidence of Enrolment letter that confirms your enrolment at the University, can be obtained upon request via the Academic transcripts and statements page. Please note, any such documentation is currently unlikely to result in a successful application for a travel exemption due to the Government restrictions in place.

    If you are a student in your final or penultimate year of study in a medical, nursing or allied health profession university degree and have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice commencing within the next two months, you may wish to contact the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs to discuss whether or not your circumstances meet the requirements for an individual exemption. Once again, please note that while the University of Melbourne can provide documentation as evidence to support eligible exemption applications, we cannot facilitate or guarantee a travel exemption request.

  • International students in Australia

    If you are an international student currently in Australia, and you wish to return to your home country, you can continue your studies remotely if your subjects allow this. You need to stay enrolled to maintain a current CoE. If you choose to return home to study, you must ensure you are able to actively participate in required learning activities, noting this may include classes scheduled at AEST times which require virtual attendance.

    International students who wish to return home and take a leave of absence can apply to have this assessed as compassionate and compelling if they have appropriate circumstances and supporting documentation.

    You should be aware of any possible restrictions or risks with returning to home countries, as well as the Australian Government’s travel advice and restrictions, which may prevent you from returning to Australia. We will continue to monitor this situation and how it might impact students’ ongoing enrolment. For any visa enquiries, you should contact the Department of Home Affairs.

Accessing healthcare, counselling and other services

  • International students outside Australia

    Healthcare and counselling

    Doctors  practicing in Australia are restricted to providing health care services only to people located in Australia. If you are outside Australia, you will need to access your local health services for support and treatment.

    If you are experiencing issues related to your mental health and wellbeing, you can book an initial consultation with Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to explore available support options.

    There are also a range of wellbeing related student workshops and sessions that you can participate in which may assist you with some of the problems you might be experiencing.

    There are also a range of wellbeing related student workshops and sessions that you can participate in which may assist you with some of the problems you might be experiencing.

    For information on OSHC refunds for periods of study not completed in Australia, check our student visa FAQs.

    Study Hubs

    A global network of Study Hubs can be accessed in multiple locations around the world to help you study and connect with other University of Melbourne students, local staff, alumni and advice. You can find the support you need at a Study Hub in any one of these locations:

    • Nanjing, Shenzhen and Shanghai, China
    • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    • India (virtual)

    Check all the locations to find a Study Hub near you.

  • International students in Australia

    Your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) will cover equivalent health care to the Medicare Benefits Scheme. This means that you can access a doctor (General Practitioner, or GP) and seek a referral for pathology, psychology, psychiatry or a mental health nurse through the University Health Service without incurring any out-of-pocket expenses if using BUPA, the UoM preferred OSHC provider. BUPA, Medicare and Allianz all direct bill for consultations you receive. For specific questions about what your insurance will cover, please contact your insurance company. For advice on what health and wellbeing services are available to you, contact the University Health Service. You can continue to access regular GP appointments via telehealth (by phone).

    Even for those who do not have adequate insurance coverage, Victorian hospitals will waive the costs of treatment associated with COVID-19. This includes waiving payment and debt recovery procedures for ambulance transfers of people suspected to have COVID-19, who are taken to Victorian hospitals for assessment. These arrangements have been put in place to ensure payment issues are not a barrier for people from overseas with COVID-19 symptoms seeking early medical advice.

    If you're an international student studying and working in Australia, you may be able to access financial assistance from the Australian Government if you are:

    You can also contact our Financial Aid team if you require financial assistance.


Studying remotely

  • As I started my course online, can I finish it online?

    At this stage, the mode of delivery for subjects beyond Semester 2, 2021 has not been decided. If the Australian Government maintains current border restrictions and students are not able to come to Australia, subjects will be offered online. When the current health crisis ends, we hope to welcome all students to campus for their studies. Find out how subjects are being delivered in Semester 2.

  • What is blended learning?

    Blended learning refers to a mix of online and face-to-face education delivery that is being offered by the University this semester. Students based in Melbourne will be able to take subjects online or on-campus. While you are not in Melbourne, you will be taking your subjects online only. COVID-19 course and subject delivery information has further information on how subjects will be taught this semester.

  • What support can you offer me as an online student?

    No matter where you are located, the University wants you to engage in an inclusive study environment. You can make the most of being a student while studying at home with resources and programs that can be accessed online. Visit the Online opportunities and support services page to access the support you need.

    Look out for new programs being announced during semester, including programs provided by the Victorian Government Study Melbourne Centre.

  • Can I continue studying online even after I come back to Australia as it is more convenient for me?

    The University plans to offer more teaching on campus when the health situation permits. This means that we hope to be able to welcome all students to campus. Online subject delivery will continue while the border remains closed. Once the border opens and students can return, we will be able to advise options for online learning in the future.

  • How do I meet other students outside of my classes if I am not in Melbourne?

    You’ll be able to connect online with your friends and peers through various social events and programs. Find out more about social breakouts and events by visiting the Online opportunities and support services page.

  • I want to keep working on my English language skills while I am studying. How can the University support me to do this?

    The University offers a diagnostic test called DELA – the Diagnostic English Language Assessment. You can take DELA and then receive a custom plan that will support your English language skills development.

    There are also a range of subjects and programs you can take to develop your communication skills.

  • Can I undertake an internship in my home country?

    If your course has a for-credit internship opportunity, you can work with your faculty internship coordinator on gaining approval to undertake your internship in your home country. Some opportunities are also being advertised through faculties. For some professional programs, it may not be possible to undertake practicum requirements outside of Australia.

  • Do I need to have a student visa to undertake an internship while I am not in Australia?

    You do not need an Australian student visa to undertake an internship, either in-person or remotely, while you are outside of Australia. However, you should think about obtaining a visa so that your time studying remotely is counted towards your study period for your post-study work visa application.

Admin and enrolment

  • Do I need to take a full study load (50 points) if I am not in Australia?

    Student visa holders are subject to visa condition 8202, which requires you to maintain a standard study load of at least 50 points in each half-year period and make satisfactory course progress. While the COVID-19 health situation is impacting on our community, we recognise that you may have unique circumstances which affect your ability to engage with your studies.

    By reducing your study load, you may take longer to complete your degree. This may mean you need to apply for a new student visa and there may be costs involved. You will be responsible for any costs that may be incurred at that time. Also, the University cannot guarantee a new visa will be granted.

    To help you to meet your visa requirements, we will continue to monitor your study load and your progress each half-year period. To reduce your study load, you need to provide us with more information about how COVID-19 has impacted your individual circumstances, and receive confirmation that a reduced study load has been approved.

  • Can I take a leave of absence this semester?

    A Leave of Absence means that your course is put on hold for you to re-commence and complete after you've returned from leave. Coursework students may request a Leave of Absence for one or two half-year periods. Graduate research students can apply for a Leave of Absence for periods of two weeks or more.

    Student visa holders are required to enrol in at least 50 points in each half-year period or have an approved Reduced Study Load.

    In 2021, if COVID-19 continues to have an unforeseen and unmanageable impact on your ability to study you can apply for Leave of Absence with supporting documentation. Review the criteria required to be approved for compassionate and compelling leave.

    Student visa holders can also apply for Leave of Absence when compelling and compassionate circumstances aren’t the reason leave is sought. There are however important visa implications that should be considered before requesting leave for non-compassionate or compelling reasons.

    If you wish to take time off from your course but are ineligible for a Leave of Absence, book a course planning appointment to discuss your options.

  • What if I cannot return to Melbourne at all? Can I still graduate?

    If you complete all of your course requirements, you will be eligible to graduate regardless of where you are located.

    We can confirm that all students who graduate in 2021 will:

    • Receive their qualifications and graduation certificate (testamur) shortly after their degree is conferred, and
    • Have the opportunity to attend a graduation celebration in 2021 when it is permitted by Victorian public health policy.

    Find out more about graduation arrangements in 2021.

  • Can you explain, in detail, why my fees have not been reduced to study online? 

    Although your learning experience will be different during this unique period of time, most students will have the opportunity to complete their studies on time, and most importantly, receive a fully-accredited University of Melbourne degree. All services and most programs have been made available to all students, regardless of their studies and the University has provided a range of additional financial and social support services during the COVID-19 health emergency.

    The University has implemented a large-scale exercise to transfer teaching, learning, assessment and student support into formats that can be accessed effectively at a distance. We are doing this in a way that maximises the opportunities for you to study effectively and successfully, and to graduate on time, while maintaining the vitally important quality and standards of our degrees. Our staff have adapted teaching materials, student services and library services to online channels. We are maintaining connectivity and community between students, and with your academic staff.

  • How do I replace my student card?

    If your student card has expired you can order a new student card online and it will be sent to you. Even if you are studying online, you must have a valid student card for identification in online exams. See Replacement student cards for information on how to order.

Other support services

Here are some useful resources and services that you can access from anywhere:

Further support

The University has a range of support services available to you. If you require further assistance, you can also submit an enquiry to Stop 1 for advice, or get in touch with UMSU or the GSA.