The Australian Government has opened the international borders since the 15th of December 2021. Fully vaccinated and eligible visa holders can now enter Australia. However, you must complete a travel declaration if you’re traveling to Australia from overseas.
So, here’re a few steps that you must follow if you’re preparing to travel to Australia from offshore.
Preparing to Travel to Australia from Overseas
People traveling to Australia from other countries must check if they’re exempt from travel restrictions. There’re many other requirements such as vaccination certificate, travel declaration and pre-departure Covid-19 test. So, people who’re traveling from overseas must read the following steps to understand the requirements to enter Australia.
Check if you’re exempt from travel restrictions in Australia
From 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible visa holders in a variety of categories will not be required to apply for a travel exemption to travel to and from Australia.
Check if you have access to reduced quarantine requirements
Your vaccination status will affect your options for traveling to Australia. You may be able to enter Australia with reduced quarantine requirements if you’re fully vaccinated and exempt from travel restrictions. Though, it may differ and depends on the quarantine arrangements in the state/territory you’re traveling to.
Make sure to check the quarantine and other arrangements for the state/territory where you’re traveling before booking your flight. You must be prepared to adhere to all requirements. It includes submitting any required details to the relevant state/territory. Furthermore, you must comply with any required post-arrival tests requirements. It also implies meeting the requirements for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 12-17.
Fully vaccinated and exempt travelers can enter Australia with reduced quarantine requirements.
In case you want to travel to or through a different state/territory when you arrive in Australia, you must check the domestic travel restrictions. If you are traveling to Australia from overseas, you must comply with all the requirements and conditions. Though, if you’re having difficulty understanding the requirements to enter Australia, you can book a consultation with us.
Get your foreign vaccination certificate
If you were vaccinated overseas and don’t have a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate, you’ll have to get one from the country where you received your vaccination. Travelers are advised to keep a hard copy or electronic format of their vaccination certificate. The airline will check your vaccination certificate when you check in to your flight.
Travelers who do not meet the proof of vaccination requirements will not be considered fully vaccinated. You must follow the current border procedures when leaving or entering Australia from overseas.
A COVID-19 digital certificate is acceptable if you’re coming to Australia, not vaccinated for medical reasons, and have a medical contraindication on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Alternately, you may provide your immunization history statement as well.
Unvaccinated travelers who’ve a medical contraindication on AIR can provide a COVID-19 digital certificate.
Airline staff will need to see a medical certificate if your medical contraindication is not listed in the AIR. This medical certificate must state that you’re unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination due to a medical condition.
Fill out Australia Travel Declaration 72 hours before your flight
Before 72 hours of your departure, you must complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD). You’ll be asked to provide critical health information within the ATD. You must show proof of the critical information being completed before boarding the aircraft.
It’s a legal and enforceable requirement. People don’t meet the criteria may be subject to a civil penalty (fine) of 30 penalty units (currently $6,660 AUD). The law is set out in section 46 of the Biosecurity Act (2015). If travelers don’t declare before boarding their flights, they will be delayed when they arrive in Australia.
You must upload your vaccination certificate while completing the ATD. You’re required to;
- Provide your contact information and phone number where you can be reached in Australia.
- Make a legally binding declaration regarding your vaccination status.
- Make a declaration about your travel history during the last 14 days.
- Declare that you’re aware of the quarantine and testing requirements of the state/territory where you’re landing, and you understand the penalties for noncompliance.
If you are checking in for a flight, you must show:
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test within 3 days before flying to Australia unless you are exempt.
- Evidence of a medical certificate showing a negative Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours before your flight to Australia.
Pre-departure COVID-19 test
In order to travel to Australia from overseas, you must have a negative COVID-19 test result. At the time of checking in to your flight, you must;
- Provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test or other Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days of your flight’s departure.
- Show a medical certificate showing a negative Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours before your flight to Australia.
In the event that your flight is delayed, you will still be considered to have completed the pre-departure testing requirements. You’ll not need to take a new test. However, if your flight is postponed or canceled, you’ll be required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or NAAT test taken within 3 days of the rescheduled flight, or a Rapid Antigen Test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours of the rescheduled flight.
At the Airport
Airlines expect travelers to provide the following information, which includes;
- Evidence that you meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated. Provide proof that you’re not able to be vaccinated for medical reasons.
- Proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test before your departure
- Proof of an approved Commissioner’s exemption to travel to Australia where applicable
- Evidence that you’re an eligible visa holder (where relevant)
- Travel documentation which may include your passport, immigration and custom declarations.
- Documentation of approved modified quarantine arrangements (where applicable)
- Proof that you’ve provided critical health information, including your contact information for Australia and a declaration of your vaccination status and your travel history for the last 14 days.
The Department of Home Affairs has introduced a few steps you must follow to travel to Australia from overseas. All travelers must complete the Australia travel declaration, documents to show at the airport, a vaccination certificate and a pre-departure Covid-19 test. We’ve summed up the complete details of these steps. If you still have confusion about it, you can book a consultation with us for more guidance.
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I’m Nasir Nawaz. I’m a registered migration consultant in Australia. I am based in Sydney. I’ve studied Master of Laws at the University of New South Wales. I’m providing immigration services for several years.
Consult with me for legal advice on Australian visas to permanently live, study, and work in Australia.