Australia to Introduce New Travel Bubbles

Singapore, South Korea, and Japan will soon be allowed to travel to Australia under the new travel bubbles. Singaporeans will be welcomed in Australia as early as this week!
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After the prolonging coronavirus-caused lockdown imposed in the country, Australia has started reopening to the rest of the world. The first step to be made was to allow fully vaccinated Australians to travel overseas and return to Australia quarantine-free as long as they have a negative COVID-19 test result.

Following the increasing vaccination rate in the country (nearly 90%), Australia has also recently announced plans to open new travel bubbles with South Korea, Singapore, and Japan. It will be another major step of the gradual reopening path of the Australian border.

Earlier this month, Australia introduced a quarantine-free travel lane with New Zealand.

According to the statement of the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, the travel bubble  with Singapore is to open on November 21st. Korea and Japan are next in the line. Morrison also said that they plan to open even more travel bubbles till the end of 2021.  

What are the new Australian travel bubbles to be opened?

The coronavirus pandemic gave rise to the new concept of traveling. Namely, travel bubbles, also known as corona corridors, travel corridors, or travel lanes. They are a partnership established between two countries (or more) in order to enable traveling between their borders simultaneously following the COVID-19 protocols.

The idea of establishing travel bubbles is now gaining popularity and more countries have started to open their own ones with other countries. Currently, Australia has one active travel lane with New Zealand introduced on Nov. 1st, 2021.

Australia - Singapore

The next travel bubble whose exact date, 21st November 2021, was revealed is to be  introduced with Singapore. Fully vaccinated Singaporeans departing from Singapore will be able to enter some Australian states (Sydney and Melbourne) without quarantining. There will be no requirement to spend the last 14 days in Singapore. However, the pre-arrival testing requirement is still in force.

Introducing a travel lane with Singapore means that visitors from two out of the top ten Australian travel destinations (another is New Zealand) will be allowed to visit Australia again. It will be a great boost for the Australian tourism sector and the winds of new travel bubbles opened in the near future.

Singapore is another country that has established many travel bubbles with some countries in the world. The Singaporean authorities also opened the borders of Singapore to fully vaccinated visitors from Australia this month.

Australia - South Korea and Japan

The recent travel lane agreements between Australia and South Korea and Japan assume that traveling between these countries will be possible within the next few weeks. The exact date has not been revealed yet.

Japan is still remaining close to the foreign visitors, while the Japanese returning to their country need to be fully vaccinated and undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival. In turn, South Korea has already started to relax its domestic coronavirus restrictions.

Approved vaccines in Australia

To be considered fully vaccinated by Australian authorities, a person needs to receive the full dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the TGA. A mixed dose of two manufacturers is also accepted.

Currently, Australia approves the following:

  • Moderna Spikevax
  • Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV
  • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag

It must have passed at least seven days from the final dose to be recognized as fully recognized.  

All travelers who wish to enter Australia must provide a vaccination certificate issued in the country where they have taken the COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, it is required to confirm the vaccination status by filling out an Australian Travel Declaration and Digital Passenger Declaration.

Pre-departure testing requirements

Travelers to Australia must provide a COVID-19 PCR test confirming the negative result. The test must be taken within 72 hours of the planned departure flight (or the first flight scheduled time if your trip to Australia covers more than one flight). Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) or serology tests are not accepted.

The PCR test result record must include the following information:

  • name and date of birth of a traveler (if the date of birth is not listed, passport number or age at the time of taking a test will be accepted)
  • the result (negative or not detected)
  • the method that was used to take a test (e.g. COVID-19 PCR test)
  • the exact date of collection

Please note: PCR test records missing some pieces of the above-listed information can result in problems during check-in for your flight to Australia.

There is no official requirement to print out the PCR test result as electronic records are accepted. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to print it out and have its paper copy throughout the entire journey.

Other requirements

Apart from being fully vaccinated and having a negative PCR test, travelers departing from Japan, Singapore, and South Korea arriving in Australia under the travel bubble will need to obtain the Australian ETA. Citizens of all of these three countries can do it entirely online.

ETA enables visiting Australia either for business or tourism purposes. As a multiple-entry permit, it allows entering Australia numerous times and staying up to 90 days each time

Katarzyna Żyła
2021-11-17

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