Australia travel rules: entry requirements for UK visitors - and what are Covid restrictions in the country?

Australia has finally reopened its borders to vaccinated international travellers for the first time in almost two years

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Australia has reopened its borders to vaccinated tourists and other visa holders for the first time after almost two years of restrictions.

The country has faced some of the strictest border controls in the world throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with the government closing the borders back in March 2020.

Australia will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers on 21 February (Photo: Getty Images)Australia will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers on 21 February (Photo: Getty Images)
Australia will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers on 21 February (Photo: Getty Images)

The travel ban prevented most foreigners from entering the country as part of the effort to control the spread of the virus, but Australia has been gradually relaxing its rules since November through travel initiatives with New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Japan.

Some international students and skilled migrants have also been allowed to enter since last December.

When did Australia reopen its borders?

Australia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers on Monday 21 February.

More than 50 international flights landed in the country through the day, reuniting hundreds of people with family and friends.

Travellers can enter all states except Western Australia, which remains closed until 3 March and will require three jabs.

What are the entry requirements?

From 21 February, all fully vaccinated visa holders will be able to travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

Those who are unvaccinated will still need a valid travel exemption to be allowed into the country and will be required to quarantine at a hotel.

Speaking outside parliament in Canberra earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “The National Security Committee and Cabinet has decided today that Australia will reopen our borders to all remaining visa holders on the 21st of February.

“The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia. That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.

“If you’re double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back.”

In January, world tennis number one Novak Djokovic had his visa cancelled following scrutiny over his vaccination exemption status and he was ultimately deported from the country, preventing him from competing in the Australian Open.

Mr Morrison added: “Your visa is one thing, but your entry into Australia requires you also to be double vaccinated and I think events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message, I think, to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter into Australia.”

As well as proof of vaccination status, travellers to Australia must also complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure.

This includes a declaration regarding your vaccination status and you will be asked to upload your vaccination certificate. Those who are not vaccinated may require an exemption to enter Australia.

A negative Covid-19 PCR test result is also required for travelling to, or transiting through, Australia.

Unless you are travelling on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand, evidence of a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure must be provided to airlines on check in.

To enter Australia you must hold a valid visa. The latest Covid-19 guidance on visa conditions and details on how to apply for a visa is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Travellers to Australia also need to comply with requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, which may include quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements. Quarantine requirements in Australia are determined by State and Territory governments.

What Covid rules are in place in Australia?

Social distancing restrictions and other local Covid-19 measures are still in place across Australia with a number of variations.

Such rules include limits on the number of people who can gather at most non-work related gatherings, in shops, cafes and restaurants, and other places of public gatherings. Restrictions also apply to the number of visitors to private residences.

Wearing face masks is also mandatory in some public spaces in Australia, including in airports, travelling on aircraft and on public transport, although rules can differ depending on which part of the country you are visiting.

Rules may change at short notice so travellers are advised to monitor State and Territory websites for the latest information about the arrival destination and the rules in place.

Information is also available on the Australian Department of Health’s COVID-19 Restriction Checker.

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