Arriving and settling in
You’ve accepted your offer to study at UTS, and are gearing to go. The excitement is high, so here are some practical things to keep in mind before you board your flight to Sydney and for when you touchdown at the airport.
Watch this animated video for information about preparing for your arrival, from Sydney airport to the city and UTS：
Prepare for your arrival - from Sydney airport to the city and UTS
The video lasts for three minutes and eighteen seconds and is fully animated. Against a black background, the red and blue circles of the University of Technology Sydney logo and CRICOS code are displayed, followed by an animated shot of a globe, which spins to centre on Australia. The title card is displayed: ‘UTS: Your future starts here’. The globe zooms in to show the Sydney cityscape and the UTS tower appears in the foreground. An international flight lands at Sydney Airport. ‘Welcome to Sydney’. We zoom in to focus on a single window of the aeroplane, out of which a girl is looking and smiling.
‘Arriving at Sydney Airport: what to expect’. A group of students with their carry-on baggage travel through the terminal. They arrive and queue at Customs. ‘Customs: have your passport and incoming passenger form ready’. The girl passes her documents to a Customs officer. ‘What should I declare? Most medicine and packaged foods are OK, but you need to declare them. Declare food and plant matter, firearms and currency of A$10,000 or more’. A passport and incoming passenger card are shown in close-up with an immigration stamp overlaid. ‘DECLARE OR BEWARE. Fines are from $340 to A$66,000 or up to ten years in jail’. The girl approaches the baggage claim area. She checks the baggage carousel number from the list of arriving flights on an information screen. We see various suitcases moving along on the baggage carousel. ‘Collect your baggage and proceed to the quarantine inspection’. The girl lifts her suitcase onto the x-ray table and her bag is x-rayed. The contents are shown in silhouette: an apple, a blister pack of medicine, and two small pieces of natural foliage. An alert appears on the x-ray machine. ‘Illegal items including food will be taken from you’. A sniffer dog led by a customs officer inspects two women’s suitcases. ‘Our dogs sniff luggage for high risk items’. A hand reaches down to pat the dog on the head, and a red cross is overlaid upon the scene. ‘Please do not touch the dogs while they work’. The girl approaches the terminal exit.
‘Getting to UTS’. We see a desk staffed by a man and a woman, who wave. A banner above the desk reads: ‘Royale Limousines Sydney Airport’. ‘FREE shuttle service to UTS and city for two weeks before orientation, for newly commencing students’. A bus pulls up alongside the UTS tower. ‘Check uts.edu.au/international for more information’. ‘Other transport to UTS’. The train, a taxi, and an airport bus are listed. A train travels across the shot with the accompanying text: ‘Train is the easiest option’. The girl looks at a clock, with accompanying text, ’15 minute ride to Central Station (approximately A$17). We see a queue of people and their luggage with the text, ‘Or… if there are more than two people’; then a shot of a lady standing by a large pile of suitcases, one of which falls to the floor with, ‘Or… if you have lots of luggage’. The line of people queue for a taxi. ‘Catch a taxi (around A$30-A$50). In the taxi, ask the driver for the fastest route’. A group of people queue for a bus. ‘Or… take an airport bus to UTS or Central Station’.
‘Paying for transport’. Images of different sources of money appear: an ATM machine, a Currency Exchange desk, a Credit card, and bank notes are shown. ‘You will need a small amount of money for transport. The exchange rate is more expensive at the airport. So just exchange what you need or use an ATM or credit card’. At the airport train station, the girl operates a ticketing machine and selects ‘Central’. A simplified map of the airport to city-circle train route is shown, running via the Airport, Central Station, Museum, St James, Circular Quay, Wynyard, and Town Hall. The train travels past the UTS tower with the girl onboard. A simplified map of the walking distance between Central Station and the UTS tower appears. A group of people hold up a banner enscribed, ‘Welcome to UTS’. On a black background, the UTS logo and ‘copyright 2018 University of Technology Sydney’ appear.
Preparing to enter Australia
The Australian government has strict rules about what you can and cannot bring into Australia. Check before departing what you can legally bring into Australia and never carry any prohibited materials for anyone else.
There are severe penalties for bringing prohibited materials into Australia, which may affect your freedom to travel to and study in other countries. If you are unsure whether the material you wish to bring into Australia is safe, always declare it and check with the Immigration and Customs officers at the airport on arrival.
If you want to check what you can bring before getting on the plane, please visit the website of the Department of Home Affairs (opens an external site).
During your flight to Australia, Immigration and Customs declaration forms are handed to each passenger. Complete this on the plane before joining the queue at immigration at the airport. When you go through the arriving passenger desk, an Immigration Officer will check your passport and the immigration form you filled in on the aircraft. You will then head to the baggage claim area to collect your luggage.
If you have stated that you have nothing to declare, the Customs Officer will tell you to follow the green route, which takes you through to the entrance hall outside.
If you have stated that you have goods to declare, you will be directed to the red route where you will be asked about the goods you declared. In either case, your bags may be searched, so always declare anything you are unsure of.
You are not allowed to bring any foodstuffs, spices, plants, animal or wood products into Australia. If you do, they must be declared on the Customs declaration form. If you do not declare these items, they may be confiscated and you could be fined. For important things you should know about travelling to Australia, visit the Department of Agriculture and Water resources website (opens an external website)
Free airport shuttle service
Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, the free airport shuttle from the airport to UTS or a convenient location will not be operating for Spring session. Please check back with us on details for Autumn 2021 session closer to the time.
When you exit the Terminal 1 Arrivals Hall, turn left and look for the Royale Limousines Concierge desk at Arrivals Gate B located next to the Virgin Domestic transfer area and near the Travelex Currency Exchange (see map). The concierge desk is open daily from 6am until 10pm.
The friendly staff will give you your free shuttle ticket and organise your transport on the next available shuttle. All you will need to do is show the staff your passport to confirm you identity and a copy of your UTS CoE (Confirmation of Enrolment) to confirm your university place. You may even meet some other UTS students on your trip!
If you arrive at Sydney Airport before 6am or after 10pm, please see other transport options below.
Note: those students who arrive at Sydney Airport outside of the period when the shuttle operates can visit the Welcome desk for international students.
Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, the International Student Welcome Desk is temporarily closed. Please check back with us on details for Autumn 2021 session closer to the time.
Upon arrival in Sydney, international students can visit the International Student Airport Welcome Desk located directly opposite Arrivals Hall A in Terminal 1 at Sydney International Airport.
The welcome desk offers guides and maps together with information on iPads and LCD screens and is staffed by dedicated student volunteers on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7am-12pm during off-peak periods and 7 days a week from 7am-11 am and 6 -9pm during peak periods.
Transport from Sydney Airport
New international students who arrive when the free airport shuttle service from the airport is operating can take advantage of free transport to either UTS or a convenient Sydney CBD location.
When the airport shuttle is not operating, you can take the train from Sydney Airport directly to the city for A$17.38. You will need to purchase an Adult Opal single trip ticket (opens an external site). Note: International students are not eligible for student transport concession and fines apply.
You can check the train times and fares on the Trip Planner site (opens an external site). From Central Railway Station, it’s ten minutes’ walk to the UTS campus.
All Sydney train lines connect at Central. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, which will cost between A$15 and A$50 depending on where you travel to (or more if you are travelling beyond the inner city area). There are also privately run minibuses to take people to inner-city hotels.
Purchasing an Opal card
When you arrive at Sydney Airport, we recommend you purchase an Opal card (opens an external site) from selected Sydney airport retailers (opens an external site). You can use the Opal card to travel from the airport to the city, and then continue to use it on public transport across Sydney. Once you have used your Opal card for eight trips in a week (calculated Monday to Sunday), the rest of your travel that week will be half price.
If you require short-term accommodation there are other options such as hostels like YHA (opens an external site), and Bounce Sydney (opens an external site). You can also visit UTS Housing in Building 6, level 2 for more information about living and renting in Sydney.
It is a good idea to have sufficient funds ready for the first few weeks of your stay. You can change money at the airport. You may receive a better rate in the city so only change enough to last you a few days. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available at the Sydney Airport, and throughout Sydney, and they accept most of the major card systems (Mastercard/VISA etc.).
On campus - 24 hour emergency number
UTS has 24-hour security staff patrolling at the campus. In an emergency, you can dial 6 from any campus phone or 1800 249 559 from any phone to contact Security. Program this number into your mobile phone. You can, and should ask for help at any time if for any reason you feel unsafe or unsure of your surroundings. Carry the Safe at UTS card with you. You can pick one up from the International Student Centre.
Safety off campus
Sydney is a fairly safe city; however, you should be aware of your surroundings especially if you travel at night. You should make sure you keep all you belongings in a secure place and do not leave them unattended. If you travel at night by public transport, it is best to travel with someone or wait in well-lit areas when waiting for the bus, train or ferry. If you need to contact the Police, Ambulance or Fire Department you should call 000 any time of the day or night. You can call this number from any phone free of charge.
While you make the most of your time in Sydney, trying new activities and experiences, it’s important to keep these safety tips in mind.
On the beach
Swim only between the flags on patrolled beaches. Do not swim at night, and remember to wear sunscreen!
Inform someone if you set off on a bushwalk and make sure you take a map, plenty of water, wet weather gear, warm clothes and a phone. It is preferable to walk with a few friends and take an emergency beacon, available from camping stores. Always inform someone of where you are going and when you intend to be back.
Driving and alcohol
In Australia, it's illegal to have more than a small amount of alcohol before driving. Don’t drink and drive or get into a car with a driver who has been drinking. Share a taxi home instead.