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Travelling to Australia as a Student visa holder – new arrangements from 1 April 2012

From 1 April 2012, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) will implement arrangements that allow Chinese and other nationals in the People’s Republic of China to travel to Australia on a Student visa without a visa label in their passport (a ‘label-free’ visa).These arrangements have been agreed with the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China.

DIAC requires all airlines to undertake an electronic check of DIAC databases that a person holds an Australian visa before allowing a person to board a flight to Australia. This means that airlines should only allow a person to travel on a flight to Australia (whether direct from China or through a transit airport) on the basis they are satisfied a person has permission to travel to and enter Australia as a result of this electronic check.

To ensure that a person understands the validity and conditions of their Student visa, DIAC will continue to issue all Student visa holders with a grant notification letter informing them of these details. DIAC does not consider the letter as evidence of the grant of a Student visa for the purpose of travel. In the absence of a confirmation through the electronic check, airlines have been advised not to rely on any letter as evidence of a person’s permission to travel to and enter Australia.

The Ministry of Public Security has advised that they will only allow a person who has been granted a ‘label-free’ Student visa to depart China in the following circumstances:
- they depart from an airport in mainland China travelling on a flight or flights, directly or indirectly, to Australia and hold a boarding pass for their final flight to Australia; or,
- they depart mainland China transiting by land or ferry through the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in order to travel on a flight or flights to Australia.

The Ministry of Public Security has also advised that any person granted a label-free Student visa travelling to Australia will not be able to transit through the Macau Special Administrative Region, by land or ferry, to board an onward flight or flights in Macau or Hong Kong.

If any person holding a Student visa has any queries about their visa conditions they should follow the advice in their grant notification letter.

Last Updated on 09 August 2012