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Travel advice and restrictions related to COVID-19

8-minute read

If you develop severe symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately and tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

For the latest information on international travel restrictions, go to the government’s Smartraveller website.

Can I travel to other states and territories in Australia?

Yes, but some states and territories may close their borders, allowing exceptions only for emergency services, freight delivery, medical appointments, employment and for compassionate reasons.

Use the healthdirect Restriction Checker for more information on state or territory travel restrictions.

RESTRICTIONS — Use the COVID-19 Restriction Checker to find out what you can and can't do in your state or territory.

Can I travel overseas?

Australian citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated can leave Australia without needing an outwards travel exemption. Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without an exemption.

However, Australian citizens and permanent residents who aren’t considered as fully vaccinated and who wish to travel overseas (apart from children under 12 and those who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons) must apply for an exemption to leave Australia.

For more information on leaving Australia and exemptions, visit the Leaving Australia page on the Department of Home Affairs website.

International safe travel zones

Quarantine-free travel arrangements have been established with several countries, such as New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and Korea.

For more information on quarantine-free travel, visit the Department of Home Affairs.

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

You may be eligible for reduced quarantine rules when you return to Australia. States and territories are responsible for managing quarantine for people entering from overseas. To learn which quarantine rules apply to you, visit the government website of the state or territory you wish to enter.

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.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker to find out if you need to seek medical help.

If the Symptom Checker show that you should contact your GP, please make sure you call your doctor to describe your symptoms and any contact with a confirmed 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?

States and territories are passing on the cost of mandatory quarantine to returned international travellers.

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

All Australians citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members who are overseas can enter Australia.

For a full list of people who can enter Australia without applying for an individual exemption and for more information on immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents, visit the Travel restrictions and exemptions page on the Department of Home Affairs website.

They should first contact local authorities and their travel agent or transport provider to see which commercial flights to Australia are available.

Some states and territories have capped the number of international travellers that can arrive each day. These caps are reviewed, and you should contact your airline for more information.

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.

What are Australia’s re-entry measures?

Before you travel to Australia, you'll need to get a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test 72 hours or less before you leave for Australia. You must also complete an Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before your departure. Visit the What I need to do before I travel page on the Department of Home Affairs website for more information.

You must show evidence of a negative result, your completed declaration and proof of your vaccination when you check in.

If you were vaccinated in Australia, you'll need to show airline staff your International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC).

If you do not have an ICVC but were vaccinated overseas, you will need to show a foreign vaccination certificate.

If you can't be vaccinated for medical reasons, you'll need to show evidence of a medical exemption. For more information about vaccination requirements, visit the What do I need to do before I travel page on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Who can I contact if I have concerns for myself or another person overseas?

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

If you’re concerned about a person who’s overseas, you can call Emergency Consular Assistance on 1300 555 135 from within Australia. For more information on who may or may not be allowed to enter Australia, and who’s considered as immediate family, call the Home Affairs Global Service Centre on 131 881.

The Australian Government advises Australians who are currently overseas and haven’t been able to return to register with DFAT.

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

Can foreign travellers still visit Australia?

Travellers who aren’t Australian citizens, residents or close family members of a citizen or resident aren’t allowed to enter Australia. However, if a traveller has an individual exemption or is from a country with a quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia they may enter.

For the full list of people who may be granted an individual exemption, visit the Travel restrictions and exemptions page on the Department of Home Affairs website.

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

Travellers and airline crew travelling to Australia will need to wear a mask during their flight and at Australian airports. They should wear a mask at the airport before they board their flight.

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

You must 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 such as 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.

You must wear a mask during your flight and at Australian airports.

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

When you travel, you should always practise good hand and cough hygiene to protect yourself from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser (for example, 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.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is also one of the best ways to protect yourself when travelling overseas.

Can I contact the National Coronavirus Helpline from overseas?

If you're 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.

Looking for more information?

Visit healthdirect's COVID-19 information hub for more answers to questions about the coronavirus, including vaccinations and restrictions.

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).

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

Last reviewed: January 2022

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