Australia Awards Scholarships FAQs for Pre-Arrival

Please be aware!

Before leaving your home country you should have been given a guidebook called "On Track for Australia!" during your pre-departure briefing. If this is not the case, please contact your DFAT in-country office (Program Area) and/or their Managing Contractor immediately.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for foreign nationals requires that they provide their Tax ID number (TIN) when they open new bank accounts.  This effects all international students, so please make sure you bring your TIN confirmation. CRS is a regulatory requirement and all financial institutions in Australia will be collecting this information. Every customer has to provide their tax residency information.

When should I arrive?

We recommend you arrive in Sydney one (1) week before the start of your Introductory Academic Program (IAP). This will give you time to arrange some practical matters e.g. opening a bank account, activating your OSHC, finding long-term accommodation, familiarise yourself with public transport and your surroundings, introduce yourself to your supervisor if you are a research student etc.

If you choose to arrive earlier, you may; but please be aware that entitlement to the Contribution to Living Expenses (stipend) commences only fourteen (14) days prior to the start of IAP.

Can I arrive on a weekend or a public holiday?

We recommend you arrive Monday to Friday so we can welcome you on your day of arrival or the day after at the latest. Please note we do not work on weekends and/or public holidays. If there is no alternative but to arrive on a weekend or public holiday, we will see you on the next business day. Please be aware that we will not be able to process payment of your Establishment Allowance until we have meet with you and you provide us with your bank account details.

When will I meet my Student Contact Officer?

Once you have settled in your accommodation and stored your luggage, we ask that you come to campus to meet your Student Contact Officer (SCO). The SCO will personally welcome you either on your day of arrival (weekdays only) or on the next business day, depending on what is most appropriate for you. The Welcome meetings are always at 12:00noon sharp. If you cannot be there on time, we ask that you return the next day.

We will advise you of the meeting room closer to your arrival.

What shall I bring to Australia?

We urge you to arrive with a laptop. A laptop is vital so you can actively and successfully participate in IAP from Day 1. Other items you might like to bring to Australia include: alarm clock, dictionary (bilingual), sporting equipment, toiletries, photos of family and friends, scientific or graphics calculator, camera, micro recorder for lectures, your optical prescription, small gifts from home. (Some of these items can be purchased in Australia). The standard voltage for electrical items in Australia is 240V. Electric plugs have three (3) flat pins, one of which is an earth pin. You may need to buy an adaptor or have the plugs changed when you arrive.

How much money should I bring?

We recommend that you bring at least AU$500 in cash to pay for incidentals until you receive your establishment allowance. The $5,000 establishment allowance will be transferred into your bank account after the Welcome meeting with your Student Contact Officer (SCO). This means there will be a gap of a few days before you have access to that money.

You can also find general information about the cost of living on our website.

When should I open an Australian bank account?

You need an Australian Bank Account while you stay in Sydney and to receive your Contribution to Living Expenses and Establishment Allowance.

If you would like to open a Commonwealth Bank account before you arrive, please follow this link to apply for an account online.

When completing the online account application, you must enter an arrival date within 3 months. You cannot open an account if you put in a date outside of 3 months.

If your arrival is delayed, the account will remain open for up to 6 months. If you do not arrive within 6 months, the account will be closed automatically.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for foreign nationals requires that they provide their Tax ID number (TIN) when they open new bank accounts.

This effects all international students, so please make sure you bring your TIN confirmation. CRS is a regulatory requirement and all financial institutions in Australia will collect this information. Every customer has to provide their tax residency information.

All banks must be compliant regarding collecting tax residency details from customers. They must collect this information face-to-face along with sighting your identification during your first visit to the bank. Once the account is active, you will have access to transact in this account, including receiving deposits.

If you need to make a deposit before your arrival in Australia, you must contact the bank to arrange a phone call to advise the TIN numbers from your country. Once set up, you will can deposit money into the account, however, you can only withdraw the funds after you arrive in Australia.

What should I not take into Australia?

Australia has very strict laws about what you can and cannot bring into the country. If you are in doubt about whether your goods are prohibited or not, declare it anyway on the incoming passenger card you receive on the plane. Visitors have received on the spot fines for not declaring items. For more information please visit the Australian Government Office.

What do I do if my flight has been changed/cancelled/delayed?

If possible, please send an email to: [email protected] to let us know. If you had requested Airport Pick-Up, please also inform the Airport Pick-Up Service provider quickly. If you had requested temporary accommodation, please inform them too. We are more than happy to do that on your behalf if you wish to lessen the stress for you.

Will you arrange my Airport Pick-Up?

We can arrange an Airport Pick-Up Service for you which will pick you up from the Kingsford Smith Airport in Sydney.

Please note: The Airport Pick-Up Service can only take you to our office and to accommodation in the Randwick area. If you have arranged your own accommodation, and that accommodation is not in the local Randwick area, you will have to make your own way at your own cost to your accommodation.

We highly recommend that before you leave your country, you check how far away the accommodation you have arranged is from UNSW and how much it will approximately cost for you to travel there.

If you would like to access this service, please email us at [email protected] with the email subject line: "I will be using the Airport Pick-Up Service".

If you have already organised your own transport, please email us at [email protected] with the email subject line: "I have organised my own Airport Pick-Up".

Will you arrange my temporary accommodation?

If you request temporary accommodation, we will organise a single occupancy room either on or very close to UNSW campus for the first 7 nights (AAS Policy Handbook, Paragraph 11.3.1). We will book accommodation subject to availability and the rates may vary. Payment for temporary accommodation is your responsibility.

If you requested Airport Pick-Up, you will be taken directly to your temporary accommodation. If timely possible and convenient, you may come onto campus on the same day for the 12:00noon Welcome. Alternatively, we expect to see you the next business day at 12:00noon.

Our address is: The University of New South Wales, International Student Compliance Team, John Goodsell Building (F20), Ground Floor, High Street, Kensington NSW 2052.

If you would like us to organise temporary accommodation, please email us at [email protected] as soon as possible with the email subject line: "I wish UNSW to book Temporary Accommodation" together with your contact details, a copy of your vaccination certificate and the details of your arrival.

If you have already organised your own temporary accommodation, please email us at [email protected] with the email subject line: "I have organised my own Temporary Accommodation".

I arranged my own accommodation

If you arrange your own temporary accommodation, please note that you will have to bear the cost of travel to get there if it is further away from the accommodation we would have arranged for you (which would have been on or very close to UNSW campus). We recommend that you ask your accommodation provider how far they are away from UNSW. That will give you a good idea about travel time and cost.

How will I receive my establishment allowance?

The $5,000 establishment allowance will be transferred into your bank account after the Welcome meeting with your Student Contact Officer (SCO). This means there will be a gap of a few days before you have access to that money.

Can I defer my Australia Awards Scholarship?

A deferral may occur once you have accepted your scholarship and before you arrive in Australia. Deferrals are available to awardees who are unable to fully commit to the academic program for the time the UNSW offer is made and may be approved for a variety of reasons. If you would like to defer, you need to contact your Post and/or their Managing Contractor. Once the scholarship deferral is approved, we will defer your UNSW offer accordingly.

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