Arriving in Australia

Arriving in AustraliaArriving in a new country can be a daunting experience. Each country has its own set of laws, regulations and procedures. Here are some tips and step-by-step information to help prepare you for your arrival.


There are very strict rules about what items you cannot bring into Australia. Food, plant material and animal products from overseas could introduce some of the world’s most serious pests and diseases into Australia, devastating our valuable agriculture and tourism industries and unique environment.

For further details see Quarantine Information.

On Arrival

The first step to enter Australia is at the immigration desk. You will need your passport with a visa and the Incoming Passenger Card which you’ll receive on the plane. The immigration official records your arrival and will return your papers to you.

You then collect your luggage. You must do this even if you are making a connecting domestic flight to Canberra. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers may check your bags. They look for prohibited goods or items that have not been declared on the Incoming Passenger Card. You then continue to walk through to the Arrivals Hall where your family, friends or sponsor can greet you. This is where you will be able to get transport and arrange short-term accommodation. You will also be able to change money in this area. Common usage is $20, $10 and $5 notes and $2 and $1 coins. The exchange rate varies often and you will pay a commission. Some Australian airports also have an arrivals information desk to help you with any questions that you might have.

Getting to Canberra

By Air

It is likely that you will fly into Australia via the large international airports in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. If you are connecting to Canberra, you will need to follow the signs in the International Arrival Hall to the Domestic Airport. You will then be able to check in your luggage and take your flight to Canberra.

By Bus

There are two major bus companies that travel between Sydney and Canberra. If you decide to take the bus, most buses depart from Sydney Central Train Station. Some of the buses also stop at the Sydney International Airport terminal but not all of them so please check. Look at the following websites to book tickets and get up to date timetable information.



Pickup from Airport

Canberra Airport is located around 15 minutes from the city so you will need to organise transport to your accommodation. You can arrange airport pickup through CIT.

See Transport in and around Canberra for all your transport options.


Make sure that you know the address of your accommodation. If you are staying at the CIT residences please see Accommodation Options for more information.

Familiarise yourself with Canberra, CIT and the Australian culture

It is important to get familiar with Canberra and your CIT campus so you can settle in easily and feel at home. See the pages below for helpful information on Canberra, CIT’s campuses, student’s experiences and the Australian culture.

Applying for a Tax File Number (TFN)

You should obtain a Tax File Number (TFN) from the Australian Tax Office if you are going to work in Australia. You may also need a TFN to open a bank account. In addition to supplying your name, current address and date of birth, you may also need to supply your date of arrival in Australia, your passport and proof of enrolment.

You do not have to obtain a TFN, however not having one means you could:

  • pay more tax than necessary
  • not be able to get Government benefits that you are entitled to receive, or
  • cause delays in the processing of your documents by the Tax Office.

Click here to find out about Working in Canberra.

Your TFN is valuable. Don’t share it with friends and don’t provide it on the internet when applying for work. Keep it secure.

Opening a Bank Account

In Australia, most income including salary or wages and government benefits are paid directly into a bank account.

See Living Costs, Money and Banking for more information.

CIT International Orientation Day

It is important to attend an orientation session before you commence your studies at CIT. The sessions are run in either February or July. They will give you all the essential information you need plus allow you to meet your Pastoral Care Officers and fellow class mates. See CIT International Orientation for more information.