Everything you need to know about Australia’s new travel rules

Nov 22, 2021

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Throughout the pandemic, Australia has kept a tight seal on its borders, even barring its own citizens from leaving the country at one point in its attempts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For almost all of the last two years, the border has been closed off entirely in an effort to execute the so-called ‘zero-covid’ strategy and keep life as normal as possible for the countries citizens. From 1 December onwards, some foreign travellers are once again allowed into the country again, but the rules remain very strict. Let’s take a look at how the rules will change.

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First and foremost: regular tourism will still not be possible for countries that don’t have travel bubbles with Australia (currently limited to Singapore, South Korea and Japan).

The first worldwide group allowed back into the country will be comprised of fully vaccinated visa holders. This includes skilled workers and migrants, as well as students and young people on working holidays.

Per the Australian government, arriving visitors must comply with five demands before being allowed into the country.

1: Vaccination record

Travellers need to be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). These vaccines include:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria;
  • AstraZeneca COVISHIELD;
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty;
  • Moderna Spikevax;
  • Sinovac Coronavac;
  • Bharat Covaxin;
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for ages 18-60 only); and
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

Proof needs to be shown in the form of an Australian vaccine certificate or an overseas one.

2: Valid visa

To enter the country, one must hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses. These subclasses include student visas, working visas, refugee visas and more. The full list is found on the website of the Australian Government. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said he expects some 200,000 travellers to fall into these categories in the upcoming months.

3: Negative test result

Travellers must present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days (72 hours) of departure. In case of a delayed flight causing an overshoot of the 72 hour period, the test is still accepted. In case of a rescheduled or cancelled flight, the new flight departure time is used. Keep that in mind when booking a test before you travel.

4: Travel declaration form

Any traveller over 12 years of age must fill out the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before departure. Failing to do so may incur a fine or delay or even refusal of admittance into the country.

Related: Why you might want to wait before booking a trip to Australia this Christmas

Quarantine requirements in Australia are arranged on the state level, which means they are not the same countrywide. Arrival in the country is currently best done in Victoria (for example Melbourne) or New South Wales (for example Sydney) since no quarantine is required there.

If you are planning on travelling to Australia, remember to re-check all requirements a couple of days before your actual trip as they might be subject to change on short notice.

Featured photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images



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