Australian Borders Opening for Workers, Students and Graduates from 15 Dec 2021

Update 15 February 2022

The Australian Government announced on 7 February 2022 that Australia’s international borders will open to all visa holders from 21 February 2022. Further updates have been provided regarding the opening of Australia’s international borders to all fully vaccinated travellers.

Related: Australian borders open from 21 February 2022

Travel Exemptions

From 21 February 2022, all fully vaccinated visa holders can travel to Australia without being required to apply for a travel exemption. This includes the following visa types:

  • Bridging visas
  • Visitor visas
  • Any other visa types that are not currently listed as eligible visa holders

Unvaccinated visa holders are required to hold a valid travel exemption to travel to Australia.

Vaccination Requirements

To be considered fully vaccinated to travel to Australia, you must have completed a course of a COVID-19 vaccine that is approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This includes mixed vaccine doses. The following vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA:

  • Two doses at least 14 days apart of:
    • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
    • AstraZeneca Covishield
    • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
    • Moderna Spikevax or Takeda
    • Sinovac Coronavac
    • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
    • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for people under 60 years of age on arrival in Australia)
    • Gamaleya Research Institute Sputnik V
    • Novavax/Biocelect Nuvaxovid.
  • Or one dose of:
    • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

At least 7 days must have passed after your final vaccine dose for you to be considered fully vaccinated.

The Australian government has announced that from 15 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can now travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Eligible visa holders are people who hold the following visas:

International students and skilled migrants to re-enter some states from 15 December
Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed international students and skilled migrants will be able to enter some states from Wednesday, 15 December 2021. The long-awaited return of visa holders was paused for two-weeks earlier this month, amid concerns about the global spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19. 
Since that announcement, Australia’s booster rollout has been fast-tracked and medical experts now believe the variant may be milder than the Delta strain. Mr Hunt says it is now safe to slowly open the international border.
“That reopening is scheduled, will be going ahead, and has been reaffirmed over the weekend after consultation with the prime minister, with the national cabinet meeting, and with advice form the chief medical officer,” he said.

Note: Additional visa subclasses may be added over time.

This is in addition to the exemptions outlined on: Travel restrictions and exemptions.

To be considered an eligible visa holder you must hold one of the following visas. If you have applied for the visa but it has not yet been granted, you are not an eligible visa holder.

Note: Temporary visa holders who are not included in the new arrangements for eligible visa holders, may apply for an inwards exemption before they leave.

Under these arrangements, travellers must:

  • Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
  • Hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses above
  • Provide proof of their vaccination status
  • Present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of
    departure.

Travellers to Australia must comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territory to which they plan to travel.

Related:

From 1 December 2021, Australia will also welcome back fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and the Republic of Korea. Under these arrangements, citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea who hold a valid Australian visa will be able to travel from their home country quarantine-free to participating states and territories, without needing to seek a travel exemption.

Under these arrangements, travellers must:

  • Depart from their home country
  • Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by the TGA
  • Hold a valid Australian visa
  • Provide proof of their vaccination status
  • Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of departure.
28 November 2021 update (Omicron Variant)

Travel restrictions are now in place for people who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mozambique, or Malawi in the last 14 days.

Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate family members entering Australia who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mozambique, or Malawi in the last 14 days must enter supervised quarantine for 14 days in line with state and territory requirements, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Any other travellers who have been in these locations in the last 14 days are not permitted to enter Australia, even if they hold a travel exemption, eligible visa or are seeking to enter under a Safe Travel Zone arrangement.

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