After more than 18 months since the abrupt closure of our international border, Australians wanting to leave the country will soon be permitted to travel without an exemption.
The international border slammed shut in March 2020, at the same time banning citizens from leaving the country without an exemption. But on Tuesday, Health Minister Greg Hunt signed off on a policy change that will allow fully vaccinated Australians to travel internationally without approval from 1 November (this means you can fly out of any Australian state but returning will depend on specific state border policies).
Mr Hunt said that fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to travel overseas as they wish. But first, you’ll need to provide proof of vaccination with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccine. The TGA has approved four vaccines for use in Australia – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (rebranded as Vaxevria) and Johnson & Johnson.
“We want Australians to be able to reunite with their loved ones, whether it’s for births, weddings or just to visit family,” he said.
The changes do not affect children under the age of 12 who are are exempt from vaccination rules and will not need to quarantine on arrival, provided their parents are fully vaccinated. Children are required to return a negative test result before entry.
Kids aged between 12 and 17 who aren’t vaccinated will have the following rules applied in NSW and VIC: The affected adolescents will be required to undertake a test within 24 hours of arrival into Australia and quarantine at home for 7 days. A second test will be required on day 5 prior to completion of quarantine. They may attend school after completing 7 days home quarantine. Additionally, 12–17 year olds not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to visit other high risk settings such as disability facilities, aged-care residential facilities and hospitals until 14 days after arrival.
You can find info on this new rule here.
If you’re confused by the mishmash of border policies, we’ve compiled this state by state guide to Australia’s international border reopening to help simplify the news.
Tip: Do you need a PCR test before flying? We’ve partnered with Healius Pathology to offer readers a $20 discount on their travel PCR test. Simply visit https://consumer.healius.com.au/ and enter promo code “flthacks” to get $20 off your test.
In this post:
New South Wales
Australia’s most populous state is due to accept overseas arrivals from 1 November 2021.
Travellers arriving in NSW who are fully vaccinated won’t need to quarantine but are required to undertake a COVID-19 test after arrival, and prove proof of full TGA recognised vaccination.
International travellers arriving in NSW who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for 14 days. A cap on arrivals who are not fully vaccinated will apply.
Fully vaccinated international travellers can enter Victoria without quarantine from 1 November. The state will also remove its arrival cap on fully vaccinated returning Australians.
You’ll need to demonstrate full vaccination status with a TGA approved vaccine, and have returned a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure. International arrivals must complete an additional test within 24 hours of arrival into Victoria.
From 1 November, Victoria will cap the number of unvaccinated or unverified international travellers at 250 arrivals per week.
Queensland’s plan to accept international travellers takes a more conservative approach, with three stages as 70, 80 and 90 per cent of the eligible Queensland population is fully vaccinated.
At 70% fully vaccinated (19 November or earlier):
Passengers arriving on a direct international flight into Queensland will be required to undertake 14 days quarantine in a government-nominated facility. These arrivals will be subject to Queensland’s international air arrivals cap.
Passengers arriving from another state or territory who have been overseas in the previous 14 days, will need to meet the relevant requirements for entry to Queensland. This includes 14 days quarantine in a government-nominated facility.
At 80% fully vaccinated (17 December or earlier):
Travellers arriving on a direct international flight may enter Queensland if they:
- are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- are fully vaccinated
- have returned a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departure
- undertake a period of home quarantine
These arrivals will be uncapped.
If you are arriving from overseas via another state or territory, you may enter Queensland provided you:
- are fully vaccinated
- have undertaken the Queensland-specified period of quarantine in another state or territory at home or in a government-nominated facility
Passengers who do not meet these criteria will need to enter within Queensland’s international air arrivals cap and undertake a period of quarantine in a government‑nominated facility.
At 90% fully vaccinated:
No restrictions apply to fully vaccinated travellers on entry to Queensland and no quarantine is required.
If you are not fully vaccinated you will need to meet the relevant requirements for entry and will be required to quarantine.
South Australia will take a two-step approach to overseas arrivals.
From 23 November (expected 80% fully vaccinated):
Fully vaccinated international travellers will require 7 days quarantine, while unvaccinated authorised arrivals must complete 14 days quarantine.
At 90% fully vaccinated:
Borders will open to all fully vaccinated international arrivals without quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers will require 14 days quarantine
The island state is set to accept international arrivals from 15 December, or earlier with a quarantine period.
At 80% fully vaccinated (expected early November):
Returning international travellers must undertake 14 days of hotel quarantine, with home quarantine being trialled based on risk.
From 15 December:
No quarantine for fully vaccinated international arrivals who return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before travel.
WA, NT and ACT
Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are all yet to reveal plans to accept international arrivals. Of course, entering via another state can provide a quarantine free loophole.
How can I get a vaccination certificate?
A digital vaccination certificate is generated following your second dose. The easiest way to find this is via a Medicare account linked to myGov. See Services Australia for full instructions on how to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations.
The vaccine passport can be printed out or accessed on a smartphone and is also compatible with travel apps such as the IATA Travel Pass.