Check that your passport is valid for the entire length of your stay overseas plus an extra six months. If your passport is due to expire within six months of returning from overseas, you should apply for a new one before you depart.
When the partner university agrees to your exchange proposal, they will send you an official letter of acceptance and visa application documents. You should contact the country’s consulate in Australia well in advance to find out what other documents you need to submit to obtain a student visa, and how long the application process takes.
If you’re an international student, you need to notify the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that you are going on exchange. Visit the Global Education and Student Exchange Office to obtain a letter of support for exchange, and consult DIAC at least 28 days before you leave.
While you’re on exchange, you need to meet the conditions of your Australian student visa. This includes maintaining your overseas student health cover (OSHC).You may be able to claim credit for your heath cover while you are overseas. Ask your insurance provider about this.
The UNSW travel policy automatically covers you while on exchange. This insurance is free, and no registration is required. However, you need to read the terms and conditions to confirm that the insurance meets the requirements of you and the partner university.
Many of our partner universities require that you take out travel insurance while on exchange. In some cases these are compulsory insurance plans that are not negotiable. In these cases you are required to pay the additional fee at the partner university even if you are covered by UNSW insurance.
While UNSW aims to assist you with cost-effective insurance, the coverage may not meet your personal requirements. You should consider arranging your own insurance. If you need to take out your own travel insurance, you may want to check that it includes:
- serious accident and illness cover
- medical evacuation/repatriation
- any sporting activities in which you plan to participate, such as diving or skiing
- unlimited medical and dental cover
- optical, if applicable
- pre-existing conditions and specialist care needs.
Some of our partner universities require that you have a full medical check-up before you enrol with them. We too recommend that you have a check-up before you leave, including dental and optical examinations. Ask your GP about any vaccinations you may need.
Preparing for departure
It can take several months before you receive your official acceptance from the partner university. Don’t plan to travel too early before the start of your exchange semester. Otherwise you may not receive your visa documents in time.
Apply for your visa as soon as you receive your acceptance.
After we nominate you for exchange, the Global Education and Student Exchange Office holds a pre-departure briefing. This is compulsory for all exchange students. At the briefing, we discuss scholarships, insurance, visas, enrolment, credit transfer, and settling in. We also give you a pre-departure pack and pre-departure booklet. The pre-departure briefing is held in the last week of the semester before your exchange. Please contact the Global Education and Student Exchange Office for details.