Australia on the Right Track to Reopen Its Borders for International Travelers

Australia has been gradually opening to the rest of the world. Today, the country is welcoming international students and other eligible visa holders.

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Australian borders have remained closed since March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic broke out worldwide. The recent plans to recommence international flights from 1st December had to be postponed due to the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron. 

The day to welcome international students and workers finally came on 15th December. Moreover, a few days later, from 20th Dec., all fully vaccinated travelers regardless of nationality will be able to travel to Northern Territory quarantine-free. The next step on the full reopening path will be welcoming international travelers to Western Australia on 5th February 2022.

Foreign students and workers welcomed in mid-December

From December 15th, international students, skilled workers, and other eligible visa holders can travel to Australia. It is the next major step made on the way to the full reopening of the Australian borders. Last month, Australia already recommenced quarantine-free travel from New Zealand and introduced new travel bubbles. 

Eligible travelers to Australia, however, should check thoroughly the travel and quarantine requirements that may vary according to a certain state and Australian territory. 

Northern Territory entry requirements

From 20th December, in order to enter the Northern Territory of Australia quarantine-free, international arrivals must:

  • fill out a Border Entry Form in advance of  travel to the NT
  • hold a negative PCR test result taken up to 72 hours of arrival
  • take a post-arrival PCR test within 72 hours following the arrival time 
  • take a post-arrival PCR test on the 6th day 
  • stay on the territory of the recognized high vaccination area (Alice Springs, Greater Darwin, Katherine) for 2 weeks 
  • use the G2G Now application  and stay at 4G internet accessed location

Western Australia to reopen in February 2022

We are one of the most vaccinated societies in the world and we have achieved this without having extended lockdowns, virus outbreaks, or any community spread of the virus said, Mark McGowan, Premier of WA. 

Following other states, Western Australia confirmed the reopening of its borders to double-vaccinated international travelers

As of Feb. 5th, 2022, entering WA will be possible under certain conditions:

  • to provide vaccination proof
  • to have a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of a trip
  • to take another COVID-19 test upon arrival
  • to complete a G2G Pass

The quarantine will not be necessary for fully vaccinated visitors.  However, those departing from high-risk areas will need to complete a 14-day quarantine. All of these restrictions are subject to change until February due to the rapidly changing coronavirus situation.

The vaccination rate in Western Australia is expected to reach 90 % by February 2022. Should this rate fails to be achieved before the reopening of the borders, the state is likely to introduce further restrictions. 
The country also plans to introduce a new mobile app in January to facilitate submitting vaccination proof. 

Visa to Australia

International travelers should obtain ETA or eVisitor depending on their nationality in order to enter Australia either for tourism or business purposes.

Both electronic visa types enable multiple entries to Australia lasting maximally up to 3 months while remaining valid for 1 year from the date of issue. All travelers from European countries should apply for eVisitor, while ETA is dedicated to eight following countries:

  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Brunei-Darussalam
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • United States
  • Hongkong

Covid situation and vaccination rate in Australia

Australia is one of the countries in the world that has implemented the most stringent restrictions during the pandemic to minimize the spread of coronavirus. 

The country has fully vaccinated nearly 90% of the entire population aged above 16 and shortened the waiting time to receive booster shots after recording Omicron cases in the country.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has recorded over 230,000 cases, over 2000 of which were fatal.

Katarzyna Żyła

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