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Travel advice and restrictions related to COVID-19

10-minute read

IMPORTANT: If you have severe difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival about your recent travel history and any close contact with a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19.


The government has banned all overseas travel, unless it is necessary for business, aid assistance or compassionate reasons. For more information, go to the government’s Smartraveller website.

What is 'non-essential travel'?

Non-essential travel in Australia includes unnecessary travel within your own area, visiting other towns and cities, and journeys interstate. The states and territories have different rules about what travel is allowed.

For more information about your state or territory’s travel restrictions, follow the links below.

All international travel is banned, unless necessary for business, aid assistance or compassionate reasons.

You can travel to undertake activities that are required in everyday life, such as shopping for essential supplies, accessing medical services, exercising and going to work (if you can’t work from home).

Changes to travel restrictions form part of the Australian Government’s ‘Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia’, a 3-step plan to reopen the Australian economy. It’s up to the states and territories to decide when they begin each step.

These steps are in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19, along with other physical distancing guidelines that Australians need to follow.

For information on the easing of restrictions in your state or territory, visit Australia.gov.au and look for ‘State and Territory Government Information’.

Can I travel to other states and territories in Australia?

Some states and territories have border closures, allowing exceptions only for emergency services, freight delivery, medical appointments, employment and for compassionate reasons. Some do not have border closures while others have plans to lift them.

You can find out more about which states and territories have closed their borders here:

Can I travel overseas?

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Australian Government has banned overseas travel, unless necessary for business, aid assistance or compassionate reasons. This is because:

  • there may be a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 overseas
  • healthcare systems in some countries may be under pressure and may not be equipped to support foreigners
  • overseas travel has become complex and unpredictable. Many countries are introducing entry or movement restrictions. These are changing often and quickly, and your travel plans could be disrupted.

For more information about restrictions on travel to Australia, visit the Department of Home Affairs.

I have just come back from overseas. What do I need to do?

Everyone arriving in Australia — including Australian citizens — must quarantine for 14 days from the date of their arrival.

When you arrive, you will be quarantined in a state or territory-designated facility, such as a hotel. Travellers will be transported directly to the designated facility after clearing immigration, customs and health checks. The facility will be in the city where you enter Australia, so you won't be able to catch any connecting domestic flight straight away.

If you are completing mandatory quarantine in a state or territory where you don’t normally live — or that’s not your end destination — you'll be required to organise and pay for your own domestic travel arrangements.

While you are in quarantine, seek medical help if you experience any flu-like symptoms, such as:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • sneezing or runny nose
  • headaches
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain (myalgia)
  • loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
  • distortion of your sense of taste (dysgeusia)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite

If you have quarantined for 14 days, and don't show any signs of illness, you can return home.

If you’re quarantined in New South Wales or Victoria, you’ll be asked to take a COVID-19 test on day 10 (NSW) or day 11 (Vic) of your quarantine. If the test is negative, you'll be allowed to leave once the 14 days of quarantine is completed.

If you refuse the test, you'll be quarantined for a further 10 days.

If your home is not in the state or territory where you were quarantined, you will still be allowed to travel home. You may need to self-isolate for a further 14 days depending on the border restrictions that are in place in your state or territory.

You should continue to monitor your health once you’re home. Use the healthdirect Symptom Checker below if you develop symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.

If the Symptom Checker indicates you should contact your GP, please make sure you call your doctor to describe your symptoms and any contact with a confirmed or probable coronavirus (COVID-19) case. You can also attend a COVID-19 clinic in your area.

Will I have to pay for the cost of quarantine?

Some states and territories are passing on the cost of mandatory quarantine for returned international travellers.

What should Australians do if they are overseas but want to come home?

All Australians who are overseas and wish to return to Australia should first contact local authorities and their travel agent or transport provider to see if commercial flights to Australia are available.

Australian airlines are currently running limited services from several countries.

Some states and territories have capped the number of international travellers that can arrive each day. This to ensure that hotel quarantine is manageable and effective.

  • NSW — 50 people per flight, with no more than 450 passengers allowed each day
  • WA — 525 people per week, around 75 people a day

However, many countries have closed their borders and commercial flights have become very limited. Because of this, you may have to stay in the country you are in until restrictions lift or flights become available.

Travel regulations may change with little warning, so make sure you pay careful attention to airport and government announcements, especially if you have connecting flights. Also keep in contact with your airline or travel agent.

Australians are advised to contact the local Australian consulate or embassy if they have concerns for their safety or require an emergency passport.

If you are concerned about a person who is overseas, you can call Emergency Consular Assistance on 1300 555 135 from within Australia. For more information on who may or may not be denied entry to Australia, and who is classified as immediate family, call the Home Affairs Global Service Centre on 131 881.

For more information on travel-related issues, visit the government’s Smartraveller website.

Can foreign travellers still visit Australia?

Travellers who are not Australian citizens, residents or close family members of a citizen or resident are not allowed to enter Australia. Those who are allowed to enter the country, such as those approved for compassionate reasons, must quarantine for 14 days in a state or territory-designated facility, such as a hotel.

New Zealand citizens, who are also Australian residents or who are transiting through Australia to get to New Zealand, will still be allowed to enter Australia. Pacific Islanders will also be allowed to transit through Australia to their home countries.

For more information about foreign travellers to Australia, visit the Department of Home Affairs’ COVID-19 information page.

What can I expect if I travel by plane during COVID-19?

Consider downloading the COVIDSafe app before your journey to help with contact tracing.

At airports, you should practise good hygiene and physical distancing — including when boarding. Scan your own boarding pass.

Airlines may separate passengers by leaving middle seats empty, for example. Continue practising good hygiene like using hand sanitiser. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a clean tissue — put it in a bin immediately then clean your hands.

You should limit farewells at departures and greetings at arrivals.

You may need to quarantine at your destination. Check state and territory restrictions for more information.

How can I reduce my risk of being infected while travelling?

The Australian Government has banned overseas travel, unless it is necessary for business, aid assistance or compassionate reasons.

However, if you do need to travel, practising good hand and cough hygiene is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser (e.g. before and after eating, after going to the toilet, and after touching surfaces such as door handles in public).
  • Cover your cough with, or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it straight away; wash your hands afterwards.
  • Cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow.
  • Cough facing away from other people.
  • Stay more than 1.5 metres away from people when in public.

Everyone arriving in Australia — including Australian citizens — will be quarantined in a state or territory-designated facility, such as a hotel.

Can I contact the National Coronavirus Helpline from overseas?

If you are overseas, you can contact the National Coronavirus Helpline by calling these numbers:

+61 2 4058 2975

+61 3 6145 0026

+61 2 4018 3442

Don’t forget to include the ‘six one’, which is the country code for Australia.

More frequently asked questions (FAQs) about COVID-19

Click on the links below for more questions and answers about the coronavirus (COVID-19).


Information and alerts

Visit the Department of Health website for the latest alerts on COVID-19 in Australia, or the World Health Organization website for global updates.


Resources in other languages

COVID-19 resources in other languages are available from the Department of Health, as well as from the ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic and WA health departments.

Information is also available in Aboriginal languages (NT).


Information for health professionals

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) provides coronavirus (COVID-19) information for GPs.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2020


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