Australia reopened its borders today © Shutterstock
Australia reopened its borders today © Shutterstock

Australia fully reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers worldwide

TripFalcon February 22, 2022

Last Update: 2023-12-31 20:53:20

Australia fully reopened its borders today to vaccinated travelers worldwide for the first time in two years, reuniting family and friends and allowing tourists and visa holders to visit without mandatory hotel quarantine. If you're planning a visit, here's what you need to know about the latest entry rules.

"The wait is over," prime minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Melbourne on Monday as borders reopened with some 56 international flights scheduled to land from the USA, Japan, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and Fiji. The first arrived in Sydney at 6.20am, a Qantas flight from Los Angeles, as 704 days of border restrictions came to an end.

"The tourists are coming back and my message to them is, to tourists all around the world, pack your bags, come and have one of the greatest experiences you could ever imagine," Morrison said.

Australia's borders have been opening in phases since November and almost 580,000 passengers have arrived. That includes fully vaccinated Australians living overseas and eligible visa holders such as working holidaymakers, international students and skilled migrants.

Allowing tourists in was the final step and the decision to fully reopen borders to them today, provided they're vaccinated, comes as Australia records a significant decline in hospitalizations due to COVID-19. People who are not fully vaccinated require an essential reason to visit Australia and will still be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.

New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, said it's been a long journey "but having our borders open, not just here, but around our country will make a real difference in people’s lives; we’re seeing families being reunited… international students return."

"Today we rejoined the world, and what a positive thing it is."

What vaccines are accepted for travel to Australia?

To be considered fully vaccinated, arrivals must have received at least two doses (including mixed doses) of an approved vaccine which includes AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Covax, Coronavac, Sputnik, Sinopharm, or Novavax, or one dose of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. At least seven days must have passed since the final dose. A booster dose is not required for entry at this stage.

Do children have to be vaccinated to travel to Australia?

Children over the age of 12 are expected to show proof of full vaccination to travel to Australia. Though arrangements are in place in some states and territories to allow unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 12-17 years to travel with a fully vaccinated adult. Children aged under 12 years are exempt.

How to present proof of vaccination to travel to Australia

People who were vaccinated in Australia can present their International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) to airline staff before boarding their flight. Overseas travelers can present their own official vaccination certificates.

Are COVID-19 tests required?

Yes, everyone over the age of five must present a negative PCR test result before flying to Australia. The results can be uploaded online, or presented to airline staff, during the check-in process. The test must be taken no later than 72 hours "before the scheduled departure of your first international flight", according to the Australian Embassy.

Do arrivals need to quarantine?

Unvaccinated arrivals are required to qaurantine, though quarantine has been scrapped for fully vaccinated arrivals in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territoryand the Australian Capital Territory. However, some states and territories have at-home quarantine measures in place for children aged between 12 and 17 who are not fully vaccinated.

Western Australia is lagging behind vaccination targets and will not open its borders until March 3. At present, anyone arriving into Western Australia is required to quarantine for around 14 days with the first seven days spent in a government-designated quarantine hotel.

Major airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Etihad, Emirates and Air New Zealand have been ramping up operations since Australia started to reopen in November. Qantas Airways, Australia's national carrier, is operating three weekly return flights between Sydney and London and three weekly return flights between Sydney and Los Angeles to meet "pent up demand". Expect more to announce new schedules.

Source: lonelyplanet