Australia Reopens Its Borders to International Travellers

Australia will reopen its borders for fully vaccinated international travellers this month! Arrivals will need to follow the entry requirements of a particular state or territory.

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Australia has announced that the country will welcome international travelers from 21st February. Fully vaccinated business travelers and tourists will be allowed to travel to Australia after nearly 2 years of strict national lockdown. 

International visitors will need to provide vaccination proof, while those who cannot take vaccination due to medical reasons will have to obtain a travel exemption and undergo a hotel quarantine upon arrival in Australia.

Approximately, one million tourists are expected to visit Australia once the borders finally reopen.

Who can now enter Australia?

Australia has been maintaining one of the strictest border measures implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic around the world. Currently, only tourists from Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea can enter Australia quarantine-free. 

The potential reopening has been announced along with the reopening plans of Australia's neighboring country - New Zealand. The latter country plans to welcome Australians and visa-free travelers no later than in July.

When can tourists travel to Australia?

As of February 21st, all fully vaccinated holders of a valid Australian visa, including tourists, will be allowed to enter Australia without an exemption. 

International travelers will be subject to arrival caps as well as the quarantine requirements applicable to the particular territory or state. 

Australian reopening step-by-step approach

Australia takes a step-by-step approach to fully reopen its borders. Since 1st November 2021, Australian citizens, permanent residents as well as their family members, have been already allowed to enter Australia.

In December, Australia also reopened its borders to overseas students and foreign skilled workers. This move was aimed at boosting industries dependent on seasonal labor due to the shortage of foreign workers.

While some eligible vaccinated travelers will be allowed to enter Australia quarantine-free, some Australian states, with lower vaccination rates, continue to impose some restrictions. 

All travelers must remember to check the specific entry regulations for a given Australian state or territory. 

Reopening of West Australia

Western Australia started executing its Safe Transition Plan to facilitate border controls while still ensuring the safety of visitors and Australian citizens. 

As of February 5th, 2022, WA's borders were reopened to students returning to WA to start their school year. They are, however, subject to self-quarantine for 14 days as well as meet some other entry requirements.

From February 9th, the state limited the international arrivals to 530 people per week. All international arrivals to WA must complete a G2G Pass, undergo quarantine, and perform a COVID test. 

COVID-19 vaccine to travel to Australia

All international arrivals to Australia must be fully vaccinated unless they are able to provide a medical exemption. A fully vaccinated person is one who has received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, some states and territories may require two doses and a booster.

The Australian government recognizes the following vaccination manufacturers (mixed doses are accepted):

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Moderna Spikevax or Takeda
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people under 60 years of age on arrival in Australia)
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Gamaleya Research Institute Sputnik V
  • Novavax/Biocelect Nuvaxovid
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen-Cilag (one dose)

The final dose must have been administered at least 7 days before the planned trip to Australia. COVID-19 vaccination certificate will be checked before boarding the flight.

Testing requirement

International travelers must present one of the following when checking in for the flight to Australia:

  • a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours of departure 
  • a NAAT taken within 72 hours of departure
  • a medical certificate confirming a negative RAT performed under medical supervision within 24 hours of departure

Australia and COVID-19 situation

As for now, the US CDCP classifies Australia as a 'Level 4' destination, which means that Australia is considered a very high-risk country in terms of coronavirus transmission. 

Countries classified as 'Level 4' have more than 500 coronavirus cases reported per 100,000 people over the last 28 days.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has reported over 2,68 mln cases, of which over 4000 were fatal

78,9% of the entire Australian population has been already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Visa-free travel to Australia

Foreign travelers arriving in Australia from visa-free countries need to obtain either an Australian ETA or eVisitor- depending on the traveler's nationality. 

Both e-Visa types allow entering Australia numerous times for tourism or business purposes. Holder of ETA or eVisitor can stay in Australia for up to 3 months, while both electronic authorizations remain valid for 1 year from the date of issue.

An application form must be completed and submitted at least 3 business days before the planned trip to Australia. 

Katarzyna Żyła

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