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Travel restrictions

Relaxed travel exemptions from 1 December 2021

By 22 November, 2021April 28th, 2023No Comments4 min read

travel exemption

On 22 November 2021, the Prime Minister announced the removal of travel exemptions for certain temporary visa holders who are fully vaccinated to take effect from 1 December 2021.

This predominantly applies to Students, certain skilled visa, Working Holiday visa, and refugees. It does not apply to tourists.

Importantly, this simply removes the need for travel exemptions, and mandatory quarantine arrangements still remain in certain States/Territories.

What visas do this apply for?

The following visa holders can travel to Australia without a travel exemption from 1 December 2021:

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 300 – Prospective Marriage visa

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 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa

Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa

Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa

Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa

Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa

Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa

Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa

Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa

Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

Subclass 500 – Student visa

Subclass 580 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)

Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa

Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa

Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa

Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa

Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

Notable absences are Visitor visas (including eVisitor / ETAs), and Bridging Visa holders. The Department have indicated that additional visa subclasses may be added over time.

What is considered to be fully vaccinated?

Australia considers individuals to be fully vaccinated if they have completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine (including mixed doses). Current approved vaccines are:

  • 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 dose of:
    • Johson & Johson / Janssen-Cilag COVID vaccine.

It does not current include the Sputnik V, Novavax, or Convidecia vaccines yet.

At least 7 days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine for you to be considered fully vaccinated, and you must provide a foreign vaccination certificate that meets all of the requirements outlined on the Australian Passport Office’s website.

Travellers with acceptable proof that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and children under 12 can access the same travel arrangements as fully vaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated (or partially vaccinated) children aged 12-17 may still travel with a fully vaccinated parent/guardian.

Do I still need to quarantine?

Each State / Territory still make their own rules regarding quarantine, so we strongly recommend double checking the relevant requirements before purchasing any flights.

Presently, fully vaccinated travellers to the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria do not need to undertake any quarantine on arrival.

Travel Bubble Arrangements with fully vaccinated Japanese/South Korean citizens

Additionally, from 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and Korea who hold a valid Australian visa will be able to enter Australia quarantine free to relevant State/Territories (please see section above regarding quarantine).

Travellers must:

  • Depart from their own country;
  • Be fully vaccinated (per above) and have proof of their status;
  • Hold a valid Australian visa.

What do I need to do before flying to Australia?

Before travelling to Australia, all passengers must undertake the following:

  1. a negative PCR COVID test (taken 72 hours or less before your scheduled departure) which you will need to show to your airline; and
  2. complete an Australian Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before your departure to Australia.

Next Steps

We’re extremely pleased to see the relaxation of travel restrictions into Australia. Contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 if you have any further queries.

This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information.
Jordan Tew

Author Jordan Tew

Jordan is one of less than 50 lawyers who are Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law by the Law Institute of Victoria, and less than 100 nationally. Accredited Specialists undergo a vigorous assessment process, and make up about 1% of all registered migration agents.

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