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When will Australia open its borders? Latest travel news

Latest travel advice: Australia has lifted its federal ban on travel as of 1 November 2021. Read on for the latest travel requirements.

Looking forward to when you can collect passport stamps again? We’ve compiled the latest information from official government sources and airline announcements for the latest travel requirements now that Australia has lifted its federal travel ban. That way, you’ll be equipped to figure out where and when you can travel from Australia.

This guide was accurate as of 12 January 2022. Please note that travel restrictions and government recommendations may change quickly and without notice.

Australia border opening news

Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to travel abroad as of 1 November 2021, and will no longer need an exemption. Note: Even though the federal travel ban has lifted, states and territories have enacted their own travel restrictions.

These are the requirements that must be met:

  • Travellers must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19
  • Travellers must take a COVID-19 PCR test within three days of their return flight’s departure to enter Australia
  • Quarantine requirements upon return to Australia are subject to each state and territory’s guidelines
  • Travellers who have been to destinations defined as high-risk may be subject to additional quarantine requirements.

Qantas is planning their international flight schedule to resume to Sydney:

  • Flights have resumed from Los Angeles
  • Flights have resumed from London
  • Flights have resumed from Singapore
  • Flights have resumed from Delhi
  • Flights have resumed from Fiji
  • Flights have resumed from Vancouver
  • Flights have resumed from Tokyo
  • Flights have resumed from Honolulu
  • Flights have resumed from Johannesburg
  • 15 January 2022 from Bangkok

To Melbourne:

  • Flights have resumed from London (Heathrow)
  • Flights have resumed from Singapore

Singapore Airlines has resumed flights between Sydney and Singapore. Australians are allowed to enter Singapore without quarantine but must be on a Vaccinated Traveller Lane approved flight.

Emirates has resumed flights between Sydney and Dubai.

Australia entry requirements

  • Check the latest entry requirements on the Department of Home Affairs website as these can change without advance notice
  • All arrivals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Arrivals must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours
  • Arrivals may be subject to additional quarantine measures depending on the state, territory or origin of travel

How can I show proof of vaccination?

Travellers will now need to show proof of their vaccination status against COVID-19 to travel. The easiest way to obtain a valid proof of vaccination is through the MyGov website or Express Plus Medicare mobile app 

Some states and territories will require quarantine upon return to Australia no matter the vaccination status.

What if I’m not vaccinated?

Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are subject to stricter border restrictions than vaccinated travellers. This includes applying for an exemption to travel and undertaking mandatory 14 days managed quarantine.

When can Australians travel interstate?

States and territories are making their own calls on how many of the restrictions they are lifting. So, it’s important to check conditions before booking anything. It’s also wise to book flexible accommodations that offer free date changes or cancellations just in case borders close or restrictions are enacted without notice.

Please be aware that some states may restrict travel or close their borders to interstate travel. You can find the latest information on travel within your state, and advice on inter-state travel at the following government websites:

State and territory border openings may only be one way. This means that you might be able to enter another state or territory, but you may not be able to return without quarantining.

Latest news on Australia travel bubbles in the Safe Travel Zone

Singapore

Australians can now travel to Singapore without needing to quarantine

Australians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are allowed to enter Singapore without quarantine but must be on a Vaccinated Traveller Lane (VTA) approved flight. Because Singapore Airlines may operate both VTA and non-VTA flights, its essential to book a ticket onboard a VTA flight.

Travellers must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19, present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of departure, and take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Travellers must self-isolate until the airport test comes back negative. Singaporeans are able to visit Australia as of 21 November.

Japan

Citizens and residents travelling from Japan can now enter Australia without needing to quarantine.

South Korea

Citizens and residents travelling from South Korea can now enter Australia without needing to quarantine.

When can Australians travel to New Zealand?

A one-way travel bubble has formed between Australia and New Zealand as of 1 November 2021. New Zealand travellers vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter Australia (NSW, ACT, VIC), though they will need to quarantine upon return to New Zealand.

Qantas does not plan to resume flights to New Zealand until at least mid-December 2021. We’ve compiled the details of this travel arrangement in our article “When can Australians travel to New Zealand?

Where can Australians travel to now that the border is open?

Every country sets its own rules on who is allowed through its borders. The following countries allow Australian travellers so long as they meet the country’s vaccine and testing requirements. Note: Restrictions can change at any time. Please consult official government advice for the latest information.

  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Fiji
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Upcoming travel bubbles from Australia

On 29 November 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia is working on establishing a travel bubble with Indonesia, though no firm date has been set on when it will open.

What does non-essential travel mean?

Non-essential travel isn’t outlined by the government as being necessary. To be able to travel overseas you must meet one of the following requirements, and provide evidence of your claims:

  • your travel is a direct response to the coronavirus pandemic, which includes providing aid.
  • your travel is essential to critical business industries
  • you need medical treatment that is not accessible or available in Australia
  • you need to travel on urgent (and unpreventable) personal business
  • you need to travel on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • your need to travel is in Australia’s national interest.

What if I need to travel back to Australia from overseas?

Australian passport holders, residents and immediate family members are allowed fly back to Australia. However, it’s imperative to check with the local authorities and the airlines first. This is to ensure flights are still available, and to check the rules around using this mode of transport.

Some states in Australia have set a daily cap on how many people can fly into the territory, so services are limited.

All passengers entering Australia will need a negative pre-departure COVID-19 PCT test result, taken within 72 hours of departure, to enter Australia. Quarantine requirements are subject to the government guidelines of each state and territory.

Australians that are overseas will also be subject to restrictions placed by the country they are currently in. It is also important to check whether you can legally enter a country as part of a layover.

When can those overseas fly to Australia?

Tourists are not currently allowed to enter Australia. Australian citizens, residents, and immediate family members* are permitted to travel to Australia. However, as conditions are subject to change, and can change at short notice, we advise that they contact their nearest Australian consular service for the latest information and advice.

Note that flights may be limited, and travellers entering Australia may be subjected to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

*To find out who qualifies as an immediate family member, call the Home Affairs Global Service Centre on 131 881.

looking out plane window

Will I have to quarantine if I am travelling from overseas?

As of 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated arrivals from overseas will not need to complete a quarantine if arriving into New South Wales, ACT or Victoria. Each state and territory has formed its own quarantine requirements and may require you to fill out a health declaration.

The cost of quarantining in Australia depends on the state or territory you enter into. You may be responsible for paying all or part of the costs associated with your isolation. Prices typically range from $1500 to $3000 AUD per adult and about $1000 for each additional adult in the room. Additional children cost about $500 AUD each.

What can I do to stay safe while travelling?

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help stay healthy if you’re going to travel domestically.

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with water and soap for 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitiser before and after coming into contact with high-touch areas, such as door handles. Also use it before eating and drinking.
  • Stay 2 metres away from people who are not in your household.
  • Wear a face mask on transport, in airports, stations, and in busy areas.
  • Do not travel if you are exhibiting any symptoms.

Discover more tips in our guide: Is it safe to travel?

Useful COVID-19 Travel Resources

  • Smart Traveller – Publishes up-to-date travel information and restrictions on overseas destinations.
  • Health Direct – Provides health information and contacts. This website also has a restriction checker for every state and territory in Australia, so you can check what activities you can and can’t do.
  • Department of Home Affairs – Provides support and information for Australian citizens needing to travel or return home.

Discover where you can travel from Australia

Are you making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map. Sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

Common questions about travelling during Coronavirus

Australia’s borders are currently closed to tourists outside from the Safe Travel Zone. Vaccinated travellers from Singapore, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea may enter Australia without quarantine.

Australian residents and citizens who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are able to travel overseas as of 1 November 2021. There is no definitive date on when Australia’s borders will open to international travel worldwide. Each state and territory sets its own entry restrictions.

The best place to find the latest travel advice and travel warnings through the Australian Government’s official website, Smartraveller.gov.au. Here, you’ll find the most up to date information about travelling to and from Australia as well as specific travel warnings related to countries all around the world.

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