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The Australian Border Is Opening Here’s What We Know

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Immanuel Debeer | 01/10/2021

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Today Australian the Australian PM announced the plan to re-introduce international travel to and from Australia without exemption and hotel quarantine for those fully vaccinated. The plan is welcome news, but before you rush off to buy tickets, here’s what we know so far:

  • While we have no specific date, the international border will reopen next month for those states that have reached 80 percent vaccination rates starting with NSW and followed by SA once they reach 80%
  • Fully vaccinated Australians and permanent residents arriving in NSW will be able to home quarantine for a week. If you’re unvaccinated, the current 14-day hotel quarantine process will continue. Home quarantine will also be available for those under the age of 12 or with a medical condition.
  • Commercial flights out of Australia will be accessible again for fully vaccinated Australians (no need for an exemption which is currently the case).
  • Quarantine free travel between select countries will continue once it’s considered “safe” to do so…
  • Sinovac and the Covishield vaccines will be recognised in Australia to allow travel from India and China, where these types of vaccines are the norm. This should be welcome news for international students.
  • Pre-departure tests and arrival tests will still be a thing of the procedures, but PCR will most likely be supplemented with rapid antigen tests, which are cheaper and faster.
  • Tourism will not be allowed at this stage. Travel will only be possible by residents of Australia. It’s unclear at this stage if this will include visa holders, but they will likely be part of the allowed inbound travellers.
  • If you live in another state, you would only be able to fly back via NSW if you had a home there in which you could quarantine for 7 days. Staying with friends would not be an option.
  • All going well; there will be more restrictions eased come November. Hopefully, at that time, we will see a more precise roadmap for hermit states such as Queensland and Western Australia, who have locked themselves off from the country and the world.

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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  1. Thankyou! I wonder if air bnb will class as a “home” quarantine
    Desperately trying to get back to QLd and then will my 7 day quarantine be enough to get me to QLD quarantine free????

    • I am trying to get home to qld my 12 daughter is up there and I am in Melbourne and I can’t fly and the will not let me drive. I have my needles and try everything to get home. But my car is Vic rego so I can’t go home.

  2. Great news at last! Quantas is offering its long haul London toPerth flight in January. Does anyone know what that means for Victorians travelling back to Melbourne via Perth? Presumably they pass through and quarantine back home in melbourne?

  3. I want to travel to Fiji or Dubai in November

    What are the quarantine laws for these countries understand we have a 7 day home quarantine when we return but what is the point of going overseas if the countries you go to make you quarantine for 14 days in one of their facilities.

    Can you please advise on This or point me in the right direction who we can contact regarding this

    • I don’t think you would need to quarantine in Fiji if fully vaccinated. There aren’t many countries left that require quarantine.

  4. im hoping that theres some company hiring a carpenter civil . i came from philippines and have a experience as a civil construction worker in new zealand almost 7 years it’s because i cant go back in new zealand im searching a job now.

  5. We are South Africans desperately wanting to visit out family in Queensland. We are aware that a valid visa is needed as we have visited Australia 28 times in the last 30 years. Our enquiry is Qantas announcing that they would only start the Johannesburg route in May 2022 now amended to March 2022, what about travelling on other airlines such as Emirates or Singapore airlines. We would be able to arrive in Austalia on any earlier date

    • Currently, you won’t get in on a tourist visa and there’s been no announcement as to when tourism will be allowed again. In regards to airlines, yes there are plenty who currently fly to Australia and have been doing so during the pandemic. Emirates, Qatar or Singapore Airlines would be the most reliable.

  6. I lived in Melbourne but my sister in Sydney could arrange a good place for me in her house to consider it as home quarantine . Would it be an option for me? What documents should I prove NSW goverment for that?

  7. Hi I live in QLD and desperate to go and see my family in Japan due to my dad’s illness. In November as soon as border is open am I allowed to fly out from Brisbane without exemption?

    • Brisbane won’t be opening the border next month so you might need to leave from Sydney. However, you might need to quarantine in Brisbane when you return depending on the situation.

  8. Me and my parents have been stuck oversease, in Ethiopia. I am Australian citizen and my parents are both permanent residents. We are not vaccinated. Our intial flight to come back to Melbourne was on the 13th July with Qatar airline but got cancelled. Ever since we have not able to get a seat due to the restriction. What can we do to get back to home and when?

    • I suspect there will be plenty of flights into Australia next year when restrictions ease further. I’d wait for those unless you’re in a hurry in which case you will need to pay for business or first class to have a chance.

    • Yes currently only NSW. It all comes down to the politicians in charge. States, where Labour is in charge, are slower to open compared to states where the Libs are in charge.

  9. I note you never mentioned Tasmania or South Australia as hermit states. Am I to assume that both those state will be opened to international travel.Presently my understanding is both those states are also closed.

    • QLD and WA, both states have no timeline on when they will reopen. Probably sometime next year. As for SA, they will open after NSW and TAS will be closed as far as I can tell.

  10. They say this will also allow Australians currently overseas to return home. But according to your article it sound alike this only applies if you RESIDE normally in Australia. I am so waiting to hear if home quarantine or self isolation can be carried out in air bnbs or own selected hotel apartments if you dont have a home in Aus AMD are fully vaccinated. also what if you have to fly onto another state (like Tasmania) to visit family. If this isn’t the case Australia are still discriminating against their citizens who usually reside overseas and preventing them from coming to see family without jumping through huge hoops or spending ridiculous amounts of time and money. I def waiting for more clarity before even thinking about travelling “home”.

    • If you’re a citizen, you can always come back to Australia. There are no restrictions stopping you. You should know that each state has different rules so even if you can home quarantine in NSW, that might not be the case for Tasmania.

  11. How about for us vida holders here in Fiji,i have a tourist visa which was granted Feb last year,expires Feb 2023,multiple entries for 3months..when can we visut Australia!???

  12. What about temporary visa holders? I have a temporary visa and have been living in Melbourne for 6 years and would like to go and see my family overseas. Im worried that they won’t let me come back, even though Im fully vaccinated and have my house here where I could quarantine.

    • I’m a temporary visa holder too. Just left and came back (see my previous posts). It all depends on what type of visa you hold. I would suggest getting an exemption to return before leaving, that way you know for sure.

  13. My wife is in fiji. She holds 600 visa currently and also applied 320/100 partner visa which is still in process
    She booked ticket from fiji to Sydney to Brisbane on 20th December
    Is this gone work or should we change our ticket
    She is fully vaccinated

  14. I’m considering travelling to London via Tokyo on ANA in January and stopping over for a week. Is quarantine a requirement in Japan and if so, for how long and what cost? Also, what about PCR tests in and out of Australia, Japan and the UK?

    • Hi Paul, I don’t think Japan currently allows tourists. Of course, this could change by January but I wouldn’t count on it. Transit is ok as long as you don’t exit the airport.

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