Australia re-opens borders to fully vaccinated skilled visa holders

australia border reopens

Covid-19, immigration, skilled migrants,

1071 views

Australia continues to take further steps to safely reopen to the world, with additional changes to international border arrangements coming into effect on 1 December.

From 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can come to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Eligible visa holders include skilled and student cohorts, as well as humanitarian, working holiday maker and provisional family visa holders.

Fully vaccinated

Australia considers you to be fully vaccinated if you have completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine. This includes mixed doses. Current vaccines and dosages accepted for the purposes of travel 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:
    • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

The TGA is evaluating other COVID-19 vaccines that may be recognised for the purposes of inbound travel to Australia in future. The most up-to-date information on approved and recognised vaccines is available on the TGA website.

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. Mixed doses count towards being fully vaccinated as long as all vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA.

If you have not been vaccinated with the above doses or schedule, you do not meet Australia’s definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ This includes instances where the dosing schedule or vaccine eligibility differs in your country of origin. There are some exceptions to this as outlined below.

Under these arrangements, travellers must:

  • Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
  • Hold a valid visa for one of the eligible visa subclasses
  • Provide proof of their vaccination status
  • Present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of departure.

Travellers to Australia must comply with the quarantine requirements in the state or territory of their arrival, and any other state or territory to which they plan to travel.

Vaccination exceptions and arrangements for children

Travellers with acceptable proof they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and children under 12 can access the same travel arrangement as fully vaccinated travellers.

Arrangements are also in place to allow unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 12-17 years to travel with a fully vaccinated parent or guardian. For quarantine arrangements check state or territory information for travellers.

If the child is travelling with unvaccinated adult family members, then the entire family group will be subject to managed quarantine and passenger caps.

Children aged under 12 years count as fully vaccinated for travel purposes. Their passport will be used as proof of age.

Passports will also be used as proof of age for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated 12-17 year olds.

Proof of vaccination when leaving or travelling to Australia

If you were vaccinated in Australia, you will need to show airline staff your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC). The ICVC will be provided in PDF format for you to print or hold electronically on your phone.

If you were vaccinated overseas and do not have an ICVC, you will need to present a foreign vaccination certificate that meets all of the requirements outlined on the Australian Passport Office website.

Getting a vaccination certificate, including the International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate, does not mean that you are fully vaccinated. For example, your vaccination certificate may show that you have only had one dose of a two-dose vaccine. If your vaccination certificate does not prove that you that you meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated, you cannot use it for leaving or entering Australia. It is your responsibility to know your vaccination status and ensure your vaccine certificate supports your eligibility to travel to and from Australia. 

You must also comply with all other requirements for coming to Australia.

If you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons

If you are a traveller who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, you will need to provide proof of a medical exemption. You should also check any requirements, particularly quarantine requirements, in the state or territory to which you are travelling.

Departing Australia

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident departing Australia you need to show evidence that you have a medical contraindication reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) for all COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia. As proof you should provide your Australian COVID-19 digital certificate. You can otherwise provide your immunisation history statement.

If a temporary medical contraindication has been recorded on the AIR, the COVID-19 digital certificate will display a ‘valid to’ date. After this time, you will need to either:

  • check with your doctor to see if you can now get a COVID-19 vaccine; or
  • ask your doctor to update your status on the AIR if your medical contraindication is still valid.

If you cannot provide evidence that your medical contraindication has been listed in the AIR, you will need to apply for an exemption to leave Australia.

Only eligible health professionals as defined on the Department of Health website can report medical contraindications to the AIR. If you cannot demonstrate that your medical contradiction has been reported to the Australian Immunisation Register, you will need to apply for an exemption to leave Australia. 

Coming to Australia

You should check any requirements, particularly quarantine requirements, in the state or territory to which you are travelling as this will impact your travel arrangements. You will need to provide a medical certificate that indicates you are unable to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine because of a medical condition; the medical certificate must include the following information:

  • your name (this must match your travel identification documents)
  • date of medical consultation and details of your medical practitioner
  • details that clearly acknowledge that you have a medical condition which means you cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccination (vaccination is contraindicated).

People who have received non-TGA approved or recognised vaccines should not be certified in this category and cannot be treated as vaccinated for the purposes of their travel.

If you are planning on travelling onwards to or through a different state or territory when you arrive in Australia, you need to check domestic travel restrictions. States and territories can apply their own travel restrictions.

You are responsible for complying with travel restrictions and requirements that apply to you.

Quarantine

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

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. Restrictions may change at short notice.

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.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet entry and quarantine arrangements for each state or territory that you intend to travel to. You may be responsible for costs of quarantine if you arrive in a state or territory without meeting entry requirements.

To check quarantine arrangements, see State and Territory Information for travellers

New arrangements for eligible visa holders

From 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders can now travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption. Eligible visa holders are people who hold the following visas:

Visa
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

Note: Additional visa subclasses may be added over time. 

This is in addition to the exemptions outlined on: Travel restrictions and exemptions

From 1 December 2021, Australia will also welcome back fully vaccinated citizens from Japan and the Republic of Korea. Under these arrangements, citizens of Japan and the Republic of Korea who hold a valid Australian visa will be able to travel from their home country quarantine-free to participating states and territories, without needing to seek a travel exemption.

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.

Source: The Commonwealth of Australia, Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Last updated: 25th November 2021


ConsultANZ disclaims and excludes all liability for any claim, loss, demand or damages of any kind whatsoever (including for negligence) arising out of or in connection with the use of either this website or the information, content or materials included on this site or on any website we link to.

If you need professional advice, including advice about your legal obligations, you should see a professional adviser and not rely on the information, content or materials included on this site or on any website we link to.

^ Back to top