Australia’s International Borders full reopening by February 21

Almost two years after the government closed Australia to the world, the international border is set to reopen to those who are fully vaccinated. Here's who can travel, and when.
Australia Intl Border

Australia’s tourism industry is rejoicing at the news that tourists will soon be allowed into the country after almost two years of border restrictions.

The changes will also allow people to reunite with loved ones who were unable to get a visa under previous entry requirements.

However, strict COVID-19 rules will still apply.

When can tourists come to Australia?

All fully vaccinated visa holders, including tourists, will be allowed to travel to Australia without an exemption from February 21.

International arrivals will be subject to arrival caps and the quarantine requirements of each state or territory.

Australian citizens, permanent residents, their family members, and some vaccinated visa holders are already allowed to travel to Australia.

 

Is Western Australia open to tourists?

WA is open to travelers who arrive from overseas, however, from February 9, the state’s limit on international arrivals will be capped at 530 people per week.

International arrivals to WA must complete a G2G Pass declaration, undergo quarantine and COVID testing.

australian airline - qantas crew
International COVID-19 border closures to end, full reopening by February 21

Do tourists need a COVID-19 vaccine to travel to Australia?

All international arrivals to Australia — including tourists — are required to be fully vaccinated unless they have proof of medical exemption.

The federal government defines fully vaccinated as two doses, for most vaccine brands, and does not require international arrivals to have a booster shot.

However, the Victorian government has flagged it may require international arrivals to have had two doses and a booster.

Other states and territories may follow suit if the government’s vaccine advisory body ATAGI changes the definition of “fully vaccinated” to mean three doses.

In announcing the border reopening, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said people would not need three doses of a COVID vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.

“It will be two [doses]. There are various arguments around the world for three doses. Two doses is what the Chief Medical Officer says is sufficient,” Mr. Morrison said on February 7.

Can unvaccinated people travel to Australia?

Unvaccinated travelers will need to provide proof that there is a medical reason that they cannot be vaccinated in order to travel to Australia.

They must also apply for a travel exemption to come to Australia.

If they are granted permission to travel, they must undergo mandatory hotel quarantine upon arrival.

Australian ALps
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What COVID-19 vaccines does Australia recognise?

International travelers to Australia are considered fully vaccinated if they have received COVID-19 vaccines recognized by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

That includes receiving two doses (mixed doses are accepted) of:

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

The final dose required to be fully vaccinated must have been received at least seven days before traveling to Australia.

Travelers must show airline staff their International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) or a foreign vaccination certificate.

Can unvaccinated children enter Australia?

Children under 12 do not need to be vaccinated to travel to Australia.

However, if the child is traveling with an unvaccinated adult family member, the entire family group will be subject to arrival caps and have to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine.

Some states and territories allow for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 12 to 17 to travel with a fully vaccinated adult.

Do tourists need to prove a negative COVID test?

When checking in for their flight to Australia, international travelers must present either:

  • A negative PCR test was taken within three days of departure
  • A negative Nucleic Acid Amplification Test has taken within three days of departure
  • A medical certificate as evidence of a negative RAT taken under medical supervision within 24 hours of departure
COVID19 Injury claims

Are cruise ships allowed?

There is currently a ban on international cruise ships in Australia. The ban came into effect in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been extended until mid-February 2022 due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The cruise industry says ships may not return to Australian waters until April or May this year.

Australia's International Borders full reopening by February 21
Australia’s Largest Cruise Ship – the 88,500-tonne Carnival Legend.

NOTE: This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication.

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