Australian Borders to open on 1 December 2021

Australia Borders open 1 December 2021

The Australian Government has announced plans to significantly loosen restrictions on international arrivals as of 1 December 2021. Under the new rules, fully vaccinated holders of proscribed visas will be allowed to travel to Australia.

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Conditions of Entry 2021

To qualify for entry into Australia under the 1 December entry rules, incoming travelers must:

  • Be fully vaccinated with an approved or recognised vaccine.
  • Complete an Australian Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before your flight.
  • Present a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 3 days of your departure.
  • Hold a proscribed subclass of Australian visa.

It appears that existing rules and exemption criteria will continue to apply to travelers who fail to meet the aforementioned criteria.


Vaccination Requirements 2021

The eligible vaccines for inbound entries without exemptions include:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV
  • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine

With the exception of Johnson & Johnson, two (2) doses of one of the recognised vaccines is required, with at least seven (7) days needing to have elapsed between your final dose and your departure. Mixed doses are acceptable.

Note that Sinopharm is only recognised for persons between the ages of 18 and 60.


Unvaccinated Travellers 2021

Exemptions to the vaccination requirements are only applicable for unvaccinated travelers where:

  • The traveler is younger than 12 years old
  • The traveler can prove they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons
  • The traveler is between 12 and 17 years old and is travelling with a vaccinated parent or guardian. Note that in this case, the whole family unit will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine.


Australian Travel Declaration

All travellers to Australia must complete an Australian Travel Declaration, or ATD, at least 72 hours before their departure. Penalties of up to AUD$6,660 apply for travelers above the age of twelve (12) years and three (3) months old. 

This criterion also applies to Australian citizens, permanent residents and those automatically exempt from Australian travel restrictions. Only flight crew, diplomatic, military and maritime arrivals are exempted.

The ATD may be completed via the ATD Online Form or via an app obtained through the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.


Proscribed Visas

Only holders of the following visas may enter under the revised rules:
H3: Protection and Refugee Visas

Protection and Refugee Visas

  • Subclass 200 – Refugee visa
  • Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa
  • Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa
  • Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa
  • Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa
  • Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa
  • Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa
  • Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa

Family-sponsored Visas

  • Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa
  • Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa
  • Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa

Employment Visas

  • Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
  • Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)
  • Subclass 407 – Training visa
  • Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa
  • Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa
  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa
  • Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa
  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa
  • Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa
  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

Student and Graduate Visas

  • Subclass 500 – Student visa
  • Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)
  • Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa
  • Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa
  • Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa

Other Visas

  • Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Bridging Visa B

As at the time of writing, it has not been confirmed by the Department of Home Affairs whether Bridging Visa B holders will be permitted to enter Australia under these new rules.

State Travel Restrictions 2021

Despite easing of the national borders, most Australian jurisdictions will continue to impose state and territory level border closure and other such measures upon international arrivals. This is particularly important for those exempt from vaccination requirements, as some states may forbid entry by unvaccinated persons or impose heavy restrictions on entry.

Currently, vaccinated international travellers will only be permitted to enter and travel freely between Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory without undergoing periods of mandatory quarantine. 

Those seeking entry to other Australian States and Territories must ensure compliance with all laws of the destination jurisdiction, including any applicable pre-approval process or quarantine requirements. 
The Australian Government has created a useful information page outlining the requirements of each Australian jurisdiction. This page may be accessed through this link.


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