The new rules explained for flying in and out of Australia
From Monday 1 November, vaccinated Australians will be able to fly in and out of Sydney International Airport without having to undergo any form of hotel or home quarantine.
Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 12 and over who have received two doses of an approved or recognised vaccine — such as Pfizer (Comirnaty), AstraZeneca, (Vaxzevria) or Moderna (Spikevax) — will be able to leave Australia without needing an outwards travel exemption.
Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without an exemption, and return without needing to endure any form of quarantine.
But while the ban has been lifted, that doesn’t mean travel will be as simple as it was prior to the pandemic.
Do I need a COVID-19 test before flying out of Australia?
While it depends on the country you are travelling to, the general answer is yes.
But be warned – these tests are not the same as the free ones you get around the country.
Each destination has a special requirement for entry, being a COVID-19 PCR tests for travel.
Generally they will cost around $150 each per test — but depending on how quickly you need the results or which private clinic — that cost can increase to $400 per person. — are needed for many places.
These tests provide each person with a certificate with your details, rather than a text message.
Do I need to get a Covid test on arrival to my destination?
Some countries, along with a negative test before departing Australia, will require one on arrival.
In the UK, for example, you don’t need one before flying but you need a $40 rapid flow test two days after arriving, arranged through the UK government.
Fiji, which will open the border to Australians from December 1, requires a negative test before leaving the country and requires all visitors to go to an approved resorts for three nights upon arrival. Then, after doing a rapid test and providing a negative result, vaccinated visitors can roam freely around the islands.
Do I need a COVID-19 test before travelling back to Australia?
To board a plane back to Australia, you will need a negative Covid-19 PCR test.
It has to be done less than three days before your flight and like when you leave Australia, you will have to fork out anywhere between $150 – $400 for a test before boarding the plane.
The test results can be digital — such as in an email, or on paper — but must show your full name, date of birth and passport number as well as the result and testing method and time/date of the collection.
Are exceptions for overseas travel gone for good?
From November 1, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will no longer need an exemption to leave the country.
You will need to provide proof of vaccination when checking in at the airport.
Australian airline Qantas announced their new app to help travellers navigate the requirements for ease of travel, and have encouraged passengers to arrive at the international terminal 4 hours ahead of your flight to make time for the additional checks.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, you still need to apply for an exemption to leave Australia.
Australians are free to travel wherever they like, however it’s important to check with the destination about whether they are allowing Australian residents in without having to quarantine.
Do I have to quarantine outside of Australia?
This comes down to the destination. Fiji, for example, requires the three nights of quarantine at an allocated resort.
While Bali is not yet open to Australians, is currently letting other countries in — however required visitors to stay at a quarantine hotel for five days upon arrival.
The USA, which hasn’t ever banned Australians from entering throughout the pandemic, is opening to the world on November 8. As a result, visitors will now need proof of vaccination — however no quarantine measures will be required.
Singapore will also allow vaccinated Australians back — and no need to quarantine either.
Do I have to quarantine when I return to Australia?
If you’re unvaccinated, the short answer is yes and it will need to be at a hotel.
Otherwise, quarantine rules for returning travellers remain up to individual states and territories. From November 1, only NSW, Victoria and the ACT will not require any quarantine for vaccinated people from. The other states and territories have eased restrictions later in the year and into 2022.
How do I get the International Vaccine Passport?
Getting the passport is relatively simple.
To obtain a certificate, you must first have your Medicare account linked to your MyGov account on your smartphone device. This is already done for those using the digital Vaccination Certificates locally here in Australia.
When you click the “Proof of Vaccinations” page, there is now an option to “Request a Certificate” for International validation of your COVID-19 Jabs.
Obtaining the certificate happens in just four steps, after you check your vaccination data and add in your valid Australian Passport information. The system will validate almost on the spot, and produce a certificate you can print out for your next international trip.
What if I want to travel overseas, but I’m not vaccinated?
While the international travel ban has lifted, only vaccinated citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family — which now includes parents — can come into Australia. Tourists, students and others are still barred. Proof of vaccination must be shown in English.