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Major Announcement – Eligible Visa Holders Permitted to Enter Australia without Travel Exemptions and Quarantine Requirements

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Updates as of 27 November 2021:

Following the announcement made by the federal government on 27 November 2021 in response to the new COVID-19 ‘Omicron’ variant of concern, the National Security Committee has made the decision to pause the easing of border restrictions to international skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker, provisional family visa holders and travellers from Japan and the Republic of Korea from 1 December 2021 until 15 December 2021.

Any reference to 1 December 2021 in the below previously published article should be read as 15 December 2021 in consideration of the recent announcement.

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The Australian Government has announced that fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can travel to and from Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption from 1 December 2021.

This follows earlier changes in place which permitted fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members to travel without needing to apply for an exemption since 1 November 2021.

It also follows the commencement of the Singapore safe travel zone yesterday.

Recognised Vaccine

The Australian Government will consider a person to be fully vaccinated if they have completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine and have received the following vaccines and dosages (includes mixed doses):

Two doses at least 14 days apart of:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for 18-60 year olds)

OR one does of:

  • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine

At least 7 days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation for you to be considered fully vaccinated.

The TGA will also continue its assessment of other COVID-19 vaccines that may be recognised in the future for the purposes of inbound travel to Australia.

Proof of Vaccination

Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be required to show their vaccination status to airline staff in the form of either an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate or a foreign vaccination certificate that meets the requirements outlined on the Australian Passport Office website.

Your proof of vaccination must show that you meet Australia’s definition of being fully vaccinated and you must comply with all other requirements for coming to Australia.

Medical Exemptions

Travellers who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will need to provide proof of a medical exemption.

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident departing Australia, you will need to show evidence that you have a medical contraindication (medical condition which prevents you from receiving a COVID-19 vaccination) reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) for all COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia. A medical contraindication can only be reported by eligible health professionals as defined by the Department of Health.

Travellers coming to Australia must provide a medical certificate that indicates they are unable to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine because of a medical condition. The medical certificate must include:

  • Your name as it appears on your travel identification documents
  • Date of medical consultation and details of your medical practitioner
  • Details that clearly acknowledge that you have a medical contraindication

Arrangements for Children

Children under 12 will be able to access the same travel arrangements as fully vaccinated travellers.

Children aged 12-17 years, who are unvaccinated, can be permitted to travel with a fully vaccinated adult or guardian.

Eligible Visa Holders

From 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders will be able to travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption.

Eligible visa holders are considered those who hold:

Note: Bridging Visa B (subclass 020) Holders are not currently listed as ‘eligible visas holders’ and still require approved travel exemptions.

Travellers from Japan and South Korea

From 1 December 2021, citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea who hold a valid Australian visa will be also be able to travel from their home country quarantine-free to participating states and territories, without needing to seek a travel exemption regardless if they hold an ‘eligible visa’ or not.

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

Travellers Who Do Not Meet the Eligibility Requirements

Travellers who do not meet the eligibility requirements must continue to follow the current border processes when leaving Australia or coming to Australia.

This includes holders of Bridging Visa B’s

Quarantine and Entry

You may be eligible for reduced quarantine requirements when you return to Australia depending on which state or territory you are travelling to.

You need to comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of your arrival, and any other state or territories that you plan to travel to.

Travellers returning to Australia may only enter and travel between NSW, Victoria and the ACT without quarantining.

If you wish to travel on to another state or territory you may not be allowed to enter, or may be subject to a quarantine period.

Further Information

For a full overview of the current travel restrictions and exemptions available please visit our Travel Restrictions page.

If you would like any further information regarding the travel exemption updates or for assistance with your travel exemption matter, please contact our office.

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