For a long time, Australia remained free of major coronavirus outbreaks due to its zero-tolerance policy. Currently, both the number of coronavirus/Covid-19 infections and the number of vaccinated persons are increasing rapidly. Read on this page when you might be able to travel to Australia with a tourist visa or business visa again. Last update: 20-10-2021.

The course of COVID-19 in Australia

Right at the start of the global corona pandemic, Australia opted for a zero-tolerance policy. This resulted in 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 resulted in an almost negligible number of coronavirus infections. But as soon as the delta variant of the coronavirus became dominant, things started to go wrong.

In the summer of 2021, the number of coronavirus infections began to increase sharply and currently, the daily number of infections observed per 100,000 inhabitants in Australia is comparable to Western Europe. Because Australia initially had few coronavirus infections, vaccination started relatively late. From June 2021, the vaccination rate was greatly increased so that by November, Australia may have a vaccination rate comparable to most countries in Western Europe.

When can I travel to Australia again?

The zero-tolerance policy of the Australian government to prevent a major outbreak of the coronavirus no longer seems to apply. Nevertheless, the borders remain closed to tourists and business travellers for the time being. Given the rapidly rising vaccination rate, the entry ban could possibly be lifted in a few monthsʼ time. In May 2021, the immigration service suggested that the borders would most likely remain closed until mid-2022, but at that time it was not expected that so many vaccinations would have been administered.

Borders not open before Christmas after all

Early October Scott Morisson, Prime Minister of Australia, said that tourists and business travellers would probably not be welcome for the remainder of 2021. However, it is now possible for parents, partners, underage children and dependent children of Australian residents to apply for an exception to the travel ban. A few weeks earlier, the expectation was that the borders would open just before Christmas 2021. As soon as more information is available, this page about the coronavirus in Australia will be updated.

Keep up to date with the latest developments

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Receive an e-mail once Australiaʼs travel ban is lifted

Can I apply for a visa now?

Yes, you can already submit a visa for Australia application. The visa for tourists and business travellers is valid for one year. This means that you can already apply even if you do not know exactly when you will be travelling. However, you will need to make an estimate of your arrival date. Furthermore, the visa applications are not yet being processed, except for travellers who also have an approved travel exemption. Do you not qualify for an exemption? Then your visa application will remain on hold until the travel ban has been lifted. At that time, your application will be processed immediately, so that you can travel as soon as the borders are opened again.
Apply for your Australia visa

The coronavirus (Covid-19) causes major impediments to travel with an Australia visa.Due to the coronavirus/Covid-19, the Australia visa can currently only be used in exceptional situations.

Exceptions to the Australian travel ban

Do you have an urgent reason why your trip to Australia cannot be postponed? There are currently a very limited number of exceptions to the travel ban. You can only apply for this so-called travel exemption on the website of the Australian immigration service, for the situations described below. In addition to a written confirmation that an exemption will be granted to you, you will also need a visa.

  • Persons who have Australian citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Immediate family members of the above persons, i.e. partners, minors and dependent children, and legal guardians of dependent children
  • Persons who are New Zealand nationals and reside in Australia and have only been in New Zealand for the 14 days preceding their trip to Australia
  • Persons who are flying to Australia solely for transit to another country and who are staying in Australia for less than 72 hours and do not require a visa for this purpose because of their nationality
  • Persons who have another compelling reason for travelling to Australia, such as providing specialist (coronavirus-related) care or attending a family memberʼs farewell service, and have obtained a written exemption from immigration in addition to their visa

If you have an exception to the travel ban

All travellers must complete an Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before departure, including those who have received an exception to the entry ban or who are only transferring in Australia. This is used to collect contact, flight, and health information from arriving travellers. After completing the declaration, you will receive a confirmation by e-mail that must be submitted (digitally or printed out) upon arrival. The Travel Declaration cannot be changed after submission. If your flight details have changed or if you have made an error, you must delete the first declaration and submit a new one.

Moreover, since 22 January 2021, a negative PCR test result is mandatory for all travellers older than 5 years (taken up to 72 hours before departure). This also applies to travellers who are only transferring. This does not apply to people who have tested positive and have a medical certificate with them which shows that at least 14 days have passed since they were infected with coronavirus, and that they no longer have a fever or respiratory problems for at least 72 hours, have recovered from the coronavirus and are no longer contagious.

After arriving in Australia, you must always spend 14 days in quarantine to reduce the chance of transmitting COVID-19. Travellers must quarantine in a designated facility such as an airport hotel.

Return to the UK

When returning to the UK from Australia, you must book and pay for a pre-departure COVID-19 test (to be taken in the 2 days before your return flight) and a post-arrival PCR test. You must also complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before your arrival. You must quarantine in your home or the place you are staying until you receive the test result. If the test result is negative, you can end your quarantine. If the test result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days. The day you took the test counts as day 0.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you must book and pay for an additional test (to be taken on day 8 after your arrival) and quarantine at home for 10 days.

Disclaimer: The coronavirus rules and the advice of the English government and the Australian immigration authorities change regularly. Therefore, no guarantee can be given that all the information in this article about using the Australia visa during COVID-19 times is completely up-to-date. However, the article is regularly updated.