Change to Australian border restrictions after COVID

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Slowly and with great care Australia has been working toward allowing those within the country to travel to the various Australian states as well as leave the country to travel abroad. In addition, Australia is now feeling readier than ever to welcome back tourists. Now many people from outside of Australia can begin planning family reunions and holidays to explore and enjoy all that Australia has to offer.

With the excitement that comes with the easing up of travel restrictions, it is always important to remember to verify, prior to traveling, for the most up to date information and travel requirements. However, that being said, as of 21 February 2022, Australia looks to welcome back those from abroad.

The following restrictions and requirements are currently in place for travel to and from Australia;

  • All travelers must be fully vaccinated via proof of vaccination
  • Fully vaccinated includes two vaccines with verification of the same. The exception is those who have received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination protocol
  • For the moment, fully vaccinated does not require a traveler to have proof of a booster shot, with the exception of Victoria. The Victoria government is considering asking international arrivals to have two doses of the vaccine and one booster shot
  • Unvaccinated people will only be permitted to travel to Australia with proof of exemption
  • Proof of exemption will require quarantine

In addition to showing proof of vaccination all inbound international travelers must who proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The test must meet the following criteria;

  1. A nucleic amplification test (NAA) or
  2. A rapid antigen test (RAT)

Please be sure that your test meets all of the necessary requirements including containing the following information

  • Name, Address, Birthdate
  • Result of your COVID-19 test
  • Type of test given
  • The brand and the make of the test
  • The date and time the specimen was collected
  • Test was administered and carried out by an authorized person

If you choose the NAA then it must be performed three days prior to departure. If you choose a RAT then it must be performed 24 hours prior to your flight’s departure.

If you are traveling with children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination, then the balance of your party must be fully vaccinated or all persons will be subject to quarantine.

In general, if you are unvaccinated you will not be permitted to travel to Australia. However, there are some exceptions which include;

  1. Travel by Australian government invitation
  2. Provision of critical medical services in Australia
  3. Working in a critical sector
  4. Possession critical skills
  5. Sponsorship by a priority employer
  6. Students depending upon their status
  7. Compassionate and/or compelling travel
  8. Some holders of a Prospective Marriage

Before an unvaccinated individual plans to travel to Australia, it is imperative that they make an application for an exemption under one of these categories.

There are some situations which will allow for an unvaccinated Australian citizen to be excused from the vaccination requirement and still travel to/from Australia. These exceptions include;

  1. Traveling to provide COVID-19 aid or relief
  2. Business- and work-related travel
  3. The need to receive urgent medical care that cannot be provided in Australia
  4. Leaving Australia for a compelling reason in excess of three months
  5. For compelling or compassionate grounds
  6. In the National interest of Australia
  7. If you are a resident of another country

Again, prior to making plans to travel, please be sure to secure your exemption.

While the reopening of Australian borders has been a long time coming, it is important to remember that even as the country reopens, vaccination and ongoing vigilant testing is both required and necessary to keep everyone safe. In addition, be sure to always check for the most updated travel information and requirements prior to departure as circumstances can still change quickly. With all of this in mind, we wish you safe and happy travels to and from Australia.

In the event that you find yourself in need of assistance regarding Immigration or Australian Border information, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 780 770.

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