As of today, the requirement for international passengers to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to Australia has been dropped. This is fantastic news for avid explorers who are ready to release their inner travel bug, with Australia’s widespread travel bans and restrictions now coming to an end.
The federal government officially ended the Biosecurity Emergency Period yesterday, 17 April 2022, an order initially imposed on 15 March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic decimated the travel industry. Much like the frustrating way in which airlines delay flights, the Australian government then continuously extended this period for a total of 25 months. But now, it’s finally over.
In an earlier press conference, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the plan was to progressively remove restrictions that are no longer required.
“Given that the vaccination requirements remain and the masking requirements, the strong medical advice is that (pre-departure testing) would no longer be required,” Mr Hunt said.
While some restrictions remain, we have certainly come a long way from just six months ago, when Australians were banned from travelling within their own country. Here’s everything you need to know about Australia’s latest changes to travel restrictions.
In this post:
Pre-departure COVID-19 Tests Scrapped
Until today, anyone travelling to Australia from overseas were required to take a COVID-19 before boarding their flight. This requirement has now been scrapped, making it far easier and less expensive to travel to Australia.
You will still need to meet the requirements of the state or territory in which you plan to arrive, which may include COVID-19 test after arrival. Hopefully, states drop this requirement over the coming weeks.
Removal Of Travel Restrictions For Unvaccinated Australians
Australian citizens and permanent residents who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer require a travel exemption to depart Australia. The same group may also return to Australia unvaccinated, although overseas tourists and visa holders must still show proof of vaccination.
Returning Australians will be subject to the quarantine requirements of the state or territory where they arrive.
Ban On Cruise Ships Lifted
The ban on international cruise ships ended yesterday, and it is now up to individual state and territory governments to allow the return of such vessels to their state.
NSW, Victoria and Queensland have removed their bans, with the first cruise ship in over 760 days docking in Sydney Harbour today. The WA government also began a staged reopening of cruising in that state with small interstate vessels now permitted in WA waters.
Passengers arriving in Australia by sea are now required to complete the new Maritime Travel Declaration (MTD) form 3 to 10 days before boarding their ship. The online form is similar to the Digital Passenger Declaration required for passengers arriving by air.
Digital Passenger Declaration A Requirement For International Arrivals
In February of this year, a new digital system replaced the previous Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) form. The newly minted Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) requires most of the same information, plus a few additional health questions.
The DPD is now a requirement to enter Australia, meaning all International travellers must complete the form before boarding a flight down under.
Want to know more? Check out our comprehensive guide to Australia’s Digital Passenger Declaration!