Since february of 2022, the Autralian borders have reopened for tourists and business travellers. Since the 18th of april, fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to test for Covid-19 before departure. However, a visa is required for travel to Australia. Here you can read about the steps you need to take in order to be able to travel to Australia. Last update: 15-06-2022.
The course of COVID-19 in Australia
From the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, Australia opted for a zero tolerance policy. This led to strict lockdowns and an almost completely closed border. Because the island has no land borders, this policy was easier to enforce than in most other countries. For a long time, this led to an almost negligible number of coronavirus infections. But after the summer of 2021, the number of infections rose sharply. With the emergence of the omicron variant, infection rates rose particularly rapidly by the end of 2021. Despite this, Australia decided to reopen its borders to travellers in February 2022, and infection rates are now falling again.
Vaccination started relatively late because Australia seemed to be escaping the large number of infections for a long time. From June 2021 onwards, the vaccination rate was stepped up significantly, as a result of which Australia now has a vaccination rate comparable to most countries in Western Europe.
Entry ban lifted
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was a strict entry ban in place in Australia for almost two years. By the end of February, the entry ban was finally lifted, which has made travelling to Australia possible again for most people. The English government has declared Australia a safe country for travel. However, a number of COVID-19 rules are still in force. Here you can read about what you need to bear in mind before you leave for your holiday or business trip to Australia.
Australia will open its borders to international travellers on 21 February 2022 after a long period of strict entry bans due to the Coronavirus / COVID-19.
Apply for an Australia visa
You must apply for an Australia visa before you leave. For holidays and business trips, an eVisitor visa is usually sufficient. This e-visa can be applied for completely online and is valid for a period of 12 months. Within this time, you may travel to Australia as often as you want. However, each consecutive stay may not exceed 3 months.
Apply for your Australia visa
Fully vaccinated travellers, or those who fall under one of the exceptions, can travel to Australia. A coronavirus test before departure is no longer required since 18 April. You are considered to be fully vaccinated if you have received two COVID-19 vaccinations and the date of the second vaccination is at least 7 days before arrival. If you have received the Janssen vaccine, then one vaccination is sufficient. You must carry a vaccination certificate with you during your trip. The European digital vaccination certificate, i.e. the international QR code in your COVID-19 app, is valid. Also valid are digital and paper vaccination certificates issued by a national or provincial authority, written in English and containing the following information:
- Name of the traveller as it appears in the passport
- Date of birth, passport number or Citizen Service Number of the traveller
- The brand of the vaccination
- The date of each vaccination or the date when full immunisation was achieved
Exceptions to the vaccination requirement
There are a number of exceptions to the vaccination requirement. Children under 12 can freely travel to Australia, even if they are not vaccinated. Unvaccinated youths between the ages of 12 and 17 can also travel to Australia under certain conditions, but this varies by province. In some cases, there is a quarantine requirement. Are you travelling with young people aged between 12 and 17 who have not been fully vaccinated? Then you are advised to consult the regulations of the provincial authorities.
Furthermore, there is an exception for people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. In this case, a medical certificate must be presented containing the following information in English:
- Name of the traveller
- Date of medical examination and details of doctor/office
- Explanation of the medical condition that prevents the traveller from receiving the coronavirus vaccine
Travellers who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons are also advised to consult the local regulations of the travel destination. Some provinces have special measures in place for these travellers.
Unvaccinated travellers aged 18 and over who wish to travel to Australia and who do not have a medical certificate of exemption from the vaccination requirement must apply for a travel exemption. These are only granted in very few exceptional cases and must be applied for at the Australian immigration services.
Completing the Digital Passenger Declaration of Maritime Travel Declaration
All passengers who travel to Australia by plane or (cruise) ship must fill in a declaration. Those who travel to Australia by ship must fill in the Maritime Travel Declaration, a minimum of three days and a maximum of ten days before departure. If you are travelling to Australia by air, you must complete the Digital Passenger Declaration within seven days before departure and provide the following information:
- Your contact details, including a phone number in Australia
- Your vaccination status
- A summary of the countries you visited in the past 14 days
- A confirmation that you are aware of all the COVID-19 rules with regard to your trip to Australia
After you have applied for your visa, the status page of your visa application will tell you exactly where and how you can fill in the declaration. After completing the declaration, you will receive a confirmation by email that must be submitted (digitally or printed out) upon arrival. The Passenger Declaration cannot be changed after submission. If your flight details have changed or if you made a mistake, you must delete the first declaration and submit a new one.
After arrival in Australia
If you meet the above requirements for travelling to Australia, you can enter the country. However, different COVID-19 rules apply on arrival, depending on which province you are travelling to. Rules can also differ depending on whether you are travelling to Australia by air or cruise ship. The rules in the different provinces can change quickly and different rules apply for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, so you are advised to keep up to date with the local COVID-19 measures for international travellers.
The following rules apply to vaccinated travellers arriving by plane only. Are you travelling to Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, or the Northern Territory? If so, you do not need to undergo quarantine or testing upon arrival. Are you travelling to New South Wales, Queensland, or South Australia? If so, testing is required on arrival. You must go into quarantine on arrival, but may leave as soon as you have received a negative test result.
Returning to the UK or Ireland
When returning to the UK or Ireland, you will not need to take a COVID-19 test or quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. You also do not need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form.
Disclaimer: The COVID-19 measures and the advice of the British government and the immigration authorities of Australia change regularly. Therefore, no guarantee can be given that all the information in this article about the use of the Australia visa in times of the coronavirus is completely up to date. However, the article is regularly updated.