Updated on Monday, January 24th, 2022 to reflect the changes The Australian Government announced for Negative pre-departure COVID-19 tests:
A negative COVID-19 PCR test is required no more than three days before the scheduled departure time of your flight. You must provide evidence of an accepted negative nucleic acid amplification (NAA) test, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR, or RT-PCR) test, transcription mediated amplification, loop-mediated isothermal amplification or a rapid antigen test (RAT). Serology tests will not be accepted as acceptable evidence of a negative test. A RAT must be done within 24 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure time and must be undertaken by, or under the supervision of, a medical practitioner.
Test results can be paper-based or electronic and must contain the following information:
- Your name and date of birth;
- The test result (such as ‘negative’ or ‘not detected’);
- The method of test conducted (e.g. NAA test or RAT);
- If a RAT, the brand and make of the test;
- The date (and also the time for RATs) of specimen collection;
- That the specimen for the test was collected, and the test was carried out by, or under the supervision
If this information is not provided, you will not be able to check in and board the aircraft.
There are some exemptions from pre-departure testing for certain limited categories of travelers, which require documentary evidence that the traveler falls within the relevant exempt category. For further details on these exempt categories and documentary evidence required, see: https://www.health.gov.au/health-alerts/covid-19/international-travel/inbound#1.1
What do you need before traveling to Australia?
Before traveling to Australia, you will need to have each the following:
- A valid visa.
- A travel exemption, unless you fall within an exempt category of persons, including certain temporary visa holders, such as temporary workers and students.
- Proof of vaccination.
- Evidence of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test within 3 days of your flight to Australia.
- A completed Travel Declaration.
Do I need to be fully vaccinated to enter Australia?
All travelers to Australia must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless medically exempt.
“Fully vaccinated” is defined as having completed the full dose(s) of vaccines approved or recognized by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). For approved brands, doses and schedules, please see: https://www.passports.gov.au/guidance-foreign-vaccination-certificates. Travelers who have not been vaccinated with the doses and/or schedules prescribed by the TGA do not meet Australia’s definition of “fully vaccinated.”
If you are not able to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because of a medical condition, you will need to provide a medical certificate from a qualified health professional who meets certain criteria. The medical certificate must include particular specified information, together with details that clearly outline that you have a medical condition that results in not being able to have a COVID-19 vaccine. Acceptable reasons for a medical exemption are very limited. It is important to note that previous infection with COVID-19 is not considered a medical contra-indication for COVID-19 vaccination.
What is valid proof of vaccination?
If you have been vaccinated outside of Australia, you will need to present a foreign vaccination certificate to airline staff that meets the following criteria:
- Issued by a national or state/provincial-level authority or an accredited vaccination provider.
- Written in English or accompanied by a certified translation.
- Containing at a minimum:
- your name, exactly as it appears in your passport;
- either your date of birth or passport number;
- the vaccine brand name; and
- the date of each dose or the date on which a full course of immunization was completed.
Paper and digital certificates are equally acceptable.
Negative pre-departure COVID-19 test
A negative COVID-19 PCR test is required no more than three days before the scheduled departure time of your flight. You must provide evidence of an accepted negative supervised laboratory COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test using a respiratory sample or saliva. Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and serology tests will not be accepted as acceptable evidence of a negative test. You must present a negative test result to check-in to your flight.
Completed Travel Declaration
Travel Declarations must be completed 3 to 7 days before you travel to Australia. The Travel Declaration requests critical health information. You must be able to provide evidence of the critical information provided in the Travel Declaration before boarding your flight. The information that you provide in the Travel Declaration assists to determine your quarantine arrangements (if required) and to allow State or Territory health departments to contact you if someone you traveled with tests positive for COVID-19. Before traveling, check the quarantine requirements of the State or Territory in which you arrive, as requirements differ for each State or Territory and may require you to self-isolate and/or undertake additional COVID-19 testing.
It is important to note that the Travel Declaration is a legal document. Providing false or misleading information in the declaration to the Australian Government is a serious offence.
Upon arrival in Australia
Immigration officials may check evidence of your vaccination or medical exemption, negative PCR test and/or answers provided by you in your visa application and/or Travel Declaration before providing you with immigration clearance to enter Australia. A valid visa, travel exemption and evidence of compliance with COVID-19 related requirements does not provide you with an automatic right to enter Australia. You may still be refused entry at the border if there are any issues with information provided.
After being immigration cleared to enter Australia, you must get tested for COVID-19. Currently, you are required to undertake a COVID-19 PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and again on day 6 after you arrive. These requirements may change from time to time, so always check the requirements closer to your arrival date at: https://www.australia.gov.au/quarantine.
Need more information?
Australian immigration has certainly been in the news a lot recently and, therefore, we thought that the information below regarding that country’s Covid-related travel restrictions may be of interest. If you have any questions about this or anything related to global mobility/international immigration matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The information contained in this article is general in nature and should not be considered advice.