Customized Sydney Pre-Departure


Studying abroad comes with a lot of steps and can be overwhelming at times. Use this checklist to make sure you aren’t missing any important steps and you have an understanding of what you must complete prior to departing. We will send you e-mail notifications for when to begin/complete these steps. Complete these items as soon as you receive notice from CAPA or your home institution.

Apply for a passport
Notify CAPA if you have academic accommodations at your home university
Notify CAPA of concerns about managing your health
Register with STEP (US citizens only)
Apply for Visa (We will send detailed instructions)
Book a flight (Sooner rather than later to avoid expensive fares)
Share flight details with CAPA when requested (3 weeks prior)
Complete CAPA registration for courses (3 months before program)

In addition to the items above that must be completed as programmatic requirements, the following is a list of other to-dos that you should be taking care of prior to departure.

Apply for scholarships
Create a budget
Notify your bank that you’ll be out of the country
Meet with your academic advisor to plan coursework for the program and for the semester you return to campus
Talk to your doctor about prescriptions and maintaining your well-being abroad
Review the Pre-Departure website in entirety
Attend an orientation (in-person through your university and CAPA webinar)
Join CAPA Facebook group
Consider if you’ll bring a smart phone or leave it
Download relevant apps
Obtain local currency
Purchase travel items
Begin learning useful phrases in language
Think about housing for return to US
Check in periodically with home campus study abroad office
OTHER (vote, register, taxes, what else to be taken care of from a distance?)

Passports and Visas


Register with US Department of State (US Citizens Only)


All international travel requires a valid passport – without one you will not be allowed to fly to or enter another country. To study abroad, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the end of the program. If you don’t already have a passport (or your passport will expire within 6 months after the program), you need to start the process to obtain a passport immediately. US citizens can check the US Postal Service website for more information about the passport application process.

We recommend:

  • Upload a copy of your passport to your CAPA application.
  • Leave a copy of your passport with a trusted friend or family member at home.


All students traveling to Australia will need a visa in order to enter the country.

E600 Tourist Visa:

  • Students planning to stay in Australia for more than 90 days or planning to intern for any period of time.
  • Costs over $110, pending the exchange rate.

ETA Visa:

  • Students staying in Australia for less than 90 days and not interning
  • Costs approximately $25

See below for instructions about both visa processes. Both visas can be applied for online and are linked to your passport number, so you will never need to send in a physical passport for a stamp. Once your visa is approved, you will arrive at the airport on the departure date ,and they will scan your passport. They will then see your visa electronically in their system.  We recommend students give themselves at least 6 weeks between the time that they apply and depart for Australia, should any difficulties arise with your visa. Please read over your visa instructions carefully and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

NON-US citizen: Please note that you many have a different visa process than US citizens. It is VERY important that you bring this to the attention of your CAPA Program Manager as soon as possible. While we cannot advise you on situation specific requirements to submit your application under these circumstances, we may be able to point you towards the appropriate resources.

Students with a Criminal Record: Please note that the visa instructions are specific to US citizens traveling to Australia who do not currently have a criminal record, or open charges against them. There could be complications to your visa process if you have a criminal record. It is VERY important that you bring this to the attention of your CAPA Program Manager as soon as possible.

600 Online Tourist Visa

ETA Visa Instructions

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our Student Service hotline at 800-793-0334.

Register with US Dept. of State (US Citizens Only)

Please take a moment to visit the website below and register your information by clicking on “Create an Account.”


  • U.S. embassies and consulates assist nearly 200,000 Americans each year who are victims of crime, accident, or illness, or whose family and friends need to contact them in an emergency.
  • Provide assistance and information when:
    • There is a personal emergency
    • Natural disaster
    • Terrorism
    • Civil unrest strikes during your foreign travel
  • By registering your trip, the embassy or consulate can locate you when necessary.

Registration is voluntary and costs nothing!

Booking Your Flight

Purchasing your Ticket
Sydney’s Airport


You should book your flight to arrive into Sydney on the first day of the program as indicated in your CAPAcket.

For example: If your program runs from March 1 until April 13, that means you are to arrive in Sydney ON the 1st, and depart ON the 13th.

We do NOT recommend that you book a one way ticket into the country in which you are studying, as this could result in you being denied entry.

If you arrive into Sydney before these dates or stay in Sydney beyond them, your housing will not be available and you will be responsible for your own accommodations.



Check-in: 8:00 am until 7:00 pm at your residence on your arrival date. We highly recommend you arrive in the morning as an orientation session begins around noon.

Check-out: 10:00 am on your departure date.  

It’s advised to pick an overnight flight that arrives into Sydney in the morning, rather than a daytime flight for which arrival arrangements will be trickier, and you are likely to get into Sydney late in the evening.

If your flight arrives in Sydney earlier than 8 am, you will still have plenty of time to make it to your residence.

  • For example: If you arrived at 7 am, between going through immigration, collecting your luggage, and traveling to your housing you are still not likely to get to your residence/homestay until 9 or 10 am.

If your flight arrives after 7 pm, CAPA will be in touch you with you separately to advise you on what you should do.


Your homestay family will pick you up at approximately 3pm on your arrival date from the CAPA Sydney Center. We highly recommend you arrive in the morning as a homestay orientation session begins around noon. You will be taken to your homestay after the homestay orientation.

Check-out: 10:00 am on your departure date 

It’s advised to pick an overnight flight that arrives into Sydney in the morning, rather than a daytime flight for which arrival arrangements will be trickier, and you are likely to get into Sydney late in the evening.

If your flight arrives in Sydney earlier than 7 am, you will still have plenty of time to make it to your residence.

If your flight arrives after 3 pm, CAPA will be in touch you with you separately to advise you on what you should do.

Purchasing your Ticket

There are a number of options out there for finding discount airfare, and even more options if you are a student/under 26. It’s important to be aware that the least expensive plane ticket will generally also be the least flexible. Be prepared to pay high fees to change your return date, and even higher fees should you need to change your outgoing date. and

These companies offer airfare deals especially for students. Often they are able to contract specific rates with the airlines that are not published for other travelers. Additionally, some of these fares have more flexible approaches towards changing your return date, in case you decide to stay on after your studies.

**Traveler’s Tip: It never hurts to get an agent from both companies on the phone, as occasionally they can find even better deals.,,,,,, and

These are all search engines that allow you to sift through offers from numerous airlines and consolidators to check for the best deal.

**Traveler’s Tip:

  • Check the airline’s website after finding a good deal on these websites. Sometimes you will be able to get a better schedule at the same price, or find an even better discount. Airline websites can surprise you with a good deal from time to time and it never hurts to check.
  • Remember that booking airfare over the phone will usually carry a surcharge, but if you feel more comfortable talking through the investment, it can be worth it.
  • Look for travel predictor apps and websites – they can give you an idea as to where prices are going to go in the next few weeks – such as if prices are expected to rise, drop or stay the same. It’s not error-proof, but if you are deciding when to take the plunge and purchase your ticket, it can be helpful.
  • Sign up for price alerts on flight comparison sites (e.g. Kayak and Skyscanner) so you can get real-time updates when prices are getting lower or higher for your destination on a specific date.
  • Always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode to see the lowest prices. Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices increase when a particular route is repeatedly searched, as the site wants to scare you into booking the flight quickly before prices get even higher.

Sydney’s Airport

We will provide you with instructions for getting from the Sydney Airport to your accommodations. You can also look at our Getting Around section to find out more about how to get to and from the airport.


You’re probably beginning to wonder how you can fit everything you need into just a couple of suitcases and are trying to figure out what you need to take care of before you leave. Here are some tips on what to pack and what to do before leaving for your semester in a convenient PDF format.

CAPA Sydney Packing List

CAPA Sydney Documents List

Important Note: You will want to look into the baggage restrictions for the airline you are taking. Some airlines will allow you to check two large suitcases for international flights, but you definitely want to find out the size and weight restrictions so that you don’t end up having to pay extra for heavy baggage.


Sydney Must-Dos by Sydney Program Coordinator, Tamara Sales:

Go snorkeling at Shelly Beach – it is the most active in regards to sea life of all of Sydney’s 100+ beaches. Shelly Beach is next door to the famous Manly Beach and is home to sting rays, schools of fish and countless other sea creatures.

Sydney cafes and restaurants are always trying to outdo each other when it comes to quirkiness – so check out as many of the unique eateries the city has to offer such as Catmosphere (the cat café), N2 Extreme Gelato (they make their gelato with liquid nitrogen) or Butter (they sell shoes and fried chicken, both of which are served in a shoe box… not together though, don’t worry).

Check out an Australian Rules Football game, which is a sport specific to Australia and is more popular than rugby. Known as “AFL” or “Aussie Rules” to locals, it has the fourth highest domestic attendance than any other sporting league in the world and is non-stop action for 80 minutes.

Have Questions?

CAPA Pre-Departure Services Team

+1 (800) 793 0334


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