Australia reopens its borders on 21st February 2022, with the ‘Welcome mat’ out for fully vaccinated travellers holding all classes of visa. The borders clanged shut in March 2020, to all but Australian citizens and Permanent residents. After a brief relaxation in mid 2021, when a travel bubble was established with New Zealand, the gates closed again at the beginning of August.
Australia reopens – two main rules
There are two criteria:
- The traveller must have a visa for the type of travel they are undertaking
- They must be fully vaccinated.
- This currently means completing the full doses of the vaccine you have been given – whether it is a one dose or two dose regimen.
Unvaccinated travellers may be allowed in with an exemption, but be prepared for a period of quarantine at your own expense.
Fully vaccinated international students and eligible visa holders from across the world have been allowed to enter/return from early December, as have tourists from Japan and South Korea. This new move opens up the borders to all countries for quarantine free entry, except in to Western Australia, where quarantine requirements are still in place.
Tourism operators and airlines have reacted positively to the move, with many ready and waiting for visitors. Airlines are expected to look at how they can increase flights, or the capacity on existing services. While it’s likely that family reunions may soak up much of the initial passenger load, this is a sector that has been ready to fly for some time and will welcome the announcement.
Smart traveller is probably your best official source of the latest requirements, so check it out before you book and certainly before you fly, in case of recent changes. Check the visa requirements and apply online for your visa.
If you’re planning a trip the other way (all those planes will have seats both ways, remember!), they also have the lowdown on the procedures for leaving Australia as well. This also involves careful planning, even if you’re thinking of a quick trip to Bali as you’ll need to show a negative covid test before you leave. Pre departure testing is now available at the airport in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.