COVID-19 advice for international travelers to Australia and New Zealand

The pandemic has necessitated many biosecurity measures and travel restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Australia and New Zealand. Here are the latest updates.

Travel into Australia

At present, Australia’s borders are closed. To travel to Australia you must be:

  • An Australian citizen
  • A permanent resident, or
  • Immediate family members of the above
  • A traveller who has been in New Zealand for at least the 14 days before the date of departure. Exceptions are the Realm Countries of the Cook Islands and Niue. The latest update is that due to the unfolding situation in New Zealand, quarantine-free travel from New Zealand is suspended until at least 11:59pm on 14 September 2021.

At overseas airports, Australian Border Force liaison officers will identify those who cannot travel to Australia and will prevent them getting onboard the flights.

From March 2020, foreign-flagged cruise ships have not been allowed to enter Australian waters, and this ban is extended at least till 17th December 2021.

Non-commercial vessels from overseas locations, such as leisure boats, yachts, super yachts, or non-commercial vessels that have been in contact with an international vessel must be aware of their obligations to keep Australia safe from COVID-19.

Travelers to Australia may be:

  • Quarantined for 14 days on arrival
  • Required to comply with other state and territory travel restrictions
  • Asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result at the time of check-in, taken 72 hours or less before flight departure
  • Required to wear a mask during travel and in the airports. Masks are not required for children below 12 and in case the traveller has a medical certificate stating they cannot wear a mask.

All the passengers arriving on a green safe travel zone flight are exempt from pre-departure testing requirements. Those from countries where COVID-19 PCR testing is not reasonably available are also exempt, as determined by the Australian Government.

Note that these scenarios could change in accordance with the emerging situation.

If a traveller has tested positive for Covid-19, all members of the travel party who have been primary close contacts (for example, household contacts) will not be permitted to travel, unless all have tested negative, and are no longer infectious.

There are some exemptions to the above rules:

Exemptions to pre-departure testing:

  • international air crew
  • children who are 4 years or below
  • people with a relevant medical condition with a medical certificate.
  • those entering Australia on a ‘Green Zone’ flight
  • those traveling from countries where no PCR testing is available, as determined by the Australian Government
  • other exceptional circumstances.

Exemptions to masks:

  • children who are 11 years or below
  • people with a relevant medical condition with a medical certificate.
  • other exceptional circumstances.

On arrival in Australia:

You could be health screened on arrival.

If you show any symptoms of an infectious disease, you will be reported to biosecurity officers who will assess you before you leave the plane, and may quarantine you or send you to hospital on landing.

Unless you are traveling from a green zone or are exempted in other ways, you might be required to go into government approved mandatory quarantine for 14 days from arrival, in the city you arrive in and not elsewhere. You might have to submit to being tested for COVID-19 in the first 48 hours and then between days 10 to 12 of quarantine.

Australia-New Zealand Green Zone

The Australia-New Zealand Green Zone with quarantine-free travel has been temporarily suspended at least till 11.59 p.m. on 14th September 2021. This could be further extended at short notice.

NOTE: The safe travel zone does not apply to:

  • Any New Zealand citizens who are outside New Zealand territory, such as those in the Realm countries of the Cook Islands and Niue.
  • Any New Zealand citizens who have not been in New Zealand territory (New Zealand and Tokelau) for at least the 14 days immediately before the date of departure.

Check with your airline before purchasing your ticket, to find out if your zone is a Green zone or not. You will be required to complete the Australia Travel Declaration prior to check-in, and should not have any signs or symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with a confirmed case.

Travel from Australia to New Zealand

Starting from 11:59pm 23 July 2021, quarantine free travel to New Zealand is suspended for a minimum of 8 weeks.

Apply for a quarantine exemption

For a quarantine exemption based on compassionate or medical grounds, you must apply to the state or territory you will arrive in well before you travel in Australia.

In case you are applying for an exemption and must travel through more than one state or territory within the 14 day mandatory quarantine period, you will have to apply for a quarantine exemption from each state or territory.

In all these cases, you might still have to self-quarantine at home or in other accommodation.

Travel out of Australia

Currently, there is a ban on all overseas travel, unless travelling to New Zealand or if an exemption has been granted.

For more information, please view the official website of for FAQs for international passengers or international airlines operating to Australia.

Also subscribe to Smartraveller and Travel Zones web page for the latest travel advice and updates on Australia-New Zealand travel.

For the latest information on the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) – New Zealand – situation update.

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