Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for international travellers

Biosecurity measures and travel restrictions are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read about what measures are in place when travelling in or out of Australia.

Travel into Australia

Australia’s borders are closed. Only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia. Learn more about who can enter Australia from the Department of Home Affairs.

Australian Border Force liaison officers will work with airlines at overseas airports to identify those who should not board flights to Australia.

Since 27 March 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships may enter Australian waters (with limited exceptions). The cruise ship ban is in place until 17 December 2020, but this does not mean the ban will be lifted at that time. The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly.

Everyone who arrives in Australia will be quarantined for 14 days and might have to comply with other state and territory travel restrictions.

See our printable resource for International travellers arriving in Australia.

Health screening

Travellers arriving from any country may be health screened when they arrive in Australia.

If you are on an international flight and show signs of an infectious disease:

  • the airline must report you to biosecurity officers
  • biosecurity officers will assess you before you get off the plane
  • when you land you will be quarantined or may be sent to hospital

If you’ve flown recently, check whether someone on board had COVID-19:

Quarantine for incoming travellers

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all travellers arriving in Australia by air or sea must go into government approved mandatory quarantine for 14 days from arrival, with limited exceptions.

State and territory governments, with support from the Australian Government, manage quarantine arrangements including:

  • transport for travellers from their arrival point to their quarantine accommodation
  • quarantine arrangements at the accommodation facility

You must quarantine in the city you arrive in for 14 days, even if you plan to travel elsewhere in Australia.

Once you have completed quarantine, you can travel within Australia in line with state and territory domestic travel restrictions. This may include further quarantine requirements.

You may be tested for COVID-19 in the first 48 hours and then between days 10 to 12 of quarantine. If you refuse testing, you may have to quarantine for a longer period. Exact testing arrangements depend on states and territories.

In some states and territories, you may also have to pay a contribution to the cost of quarantine.

To learn more or to ask about someone you know who is quarantined, contact your state or territory government health department.

Recommended quarantine exemptions for some industry workers

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recognises some industry workers should be exempt from quarantine requirements as long as they take steps to mitigate risk.

The AHPPC recommends the following groups be exempt from 14-day mandatory quarantine requirements when entering Australia.

These are national recommendations. However, because mandatory quarantine is managed by state and territory governments, other requirements may apply depending on the state or territory you arrive in.

Flight crew

Airline, medevac and air ambulance crew, including off-shift crew who are travelling as passengers on an aircraft to reposition at another location, are exempt from the mandatory 14 day quarantine requirements.

  • Airline crew who have been on international flights must quarantine in their crew accommodation or home for 14 days after arrival, or until their next flight, whichever is shorter.
  • Essential flight-related duties from a regulatory or safety perspective may be undertaken during this time. This may include flight simulation training, safety and security training.
  • Medevac and air ambulance crew may request an exemption from home quarantine requirements to return to duties beyond the essential flight-related duties already exempt.

Flight crew are exempt from mandatory quarantine because of the:

  • industry infection prevention requirements
  • training the industry provide to their staff
  • vital role of these industries in Australia

Flight crew must not board an aircraft or travel domestically if you feel unwell. Seek medical help immediately.

Domestic flight crew

Domestic flight crew must follow the quarantine requirements of the relevant state or territory.

Maritime crew (excluding cruise ships)

States and territories may choose to implement a variety of requirements for maritime crew. This could include:

  • mandatory quarantine in designated accommodation at the point of arrival in Australia
  • self-quarantine at their accommodation or on the vessel

Industry should ensure they are aware of individual state and territory requirements for maritime crew before arrival.

If necessary, you can seek an exemption from state and territory requirements from the relevant state or territory.

Learn more about national quarantine requirements for maritime crew from our marine industry fact sheet.

Cruise ship crew

Cruise ship crew are not exempt from quarantine requirements.

Recommended quarantine exemptions for some other travellers

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recognises some other travellers should be exempt from quarantine requirements as long as they take steps to mitigate risk.

These are national recommendations. However, because mandatory quarantine is managed by state and territory governments, other requirements may apply depending on the state or territory you arrive in.

These travellers must apply for a quarantine exemption in line with state and territory requirements.

Transit passengers

International transit passengers arriving into Australia can leave on another international flight that leaves from the city you arrived in. You must:

  • stay at the airport if you must wait for your next flight for up to 8 hours
  • go to mandatory quarantine at a state designated facility if the wait for your next flight is from 8 to 72 hours

Transit passengers cannot travel within Australia, even to meet a departing international flight in another city.

Unaccompanied minors

Unaccompanied minors may be allowed to travel within Australia after arrival to quarantine with a parent or guardian, unless otherwise specified by the relevant state or territory.  For further information, please contact your state or territory government health department.

Official government travel

Government officials, and/or their dependents, who are returning from official government travel need to quarantine for 14 days on return to Australia. They may quarantine at their home, usual place of residence, or private accommodation.

Government officials must travel on an Australian Government issued Official or Diplomat passport when completing Official Travel.

Strict conditions apply on this exemption class. Government officials are not allowed to take a domestic connecting flight within 14 days of arrival in Australia. Government officials must comply with all state or territory public health requirements.

For further information, contact your Australian Government agency employer.

Foreign diplomats

Foreign diplomats need to quarantine for 14 days on return to Australia. They can quarantine at their mission or usual place of residence.

Australia has legal obligations under the Vienna Convention to ensure diplomats’ freedom of movement and travel, and protection from detention.

Compassionate or medical grounds

Submit applications for a quarantine exemption on medical or compassionate grounds to the relevant state or territory. They will consider requests on a case by case basis.

Apply for a quarantine exemption

You must apply to the state or territory you will arrive in well before you travel in Australia.

If you want to travel through more than one state or territory within the 14 day mandatory quarantine period, you must apply for a quarantine exemption from each one you want to travel through.

If you are granted a mandatory quarantine exemption, you might still have to self-quarantine at home or in other accommodation of your choice.

Find out how to apply for an exemption from the state or territory quarantine authority:

Travel out of Australia

There is a ban on all overseas travel, unless granted an exemption.

Our 3-step plan guides us towards a COVIDSafe Australia. Under Step 3, we will consider the possibility of travel to New Zealand.

Stay informed

Whether you’re travelling in Australia or overseas, make sure you know the facts about COVID-19.

Keep informed through our COVID-19 news and media.

Smartraveller

Visit the Smartraveller website regularly to check for international developments and subscribe to updates.

Consular assistance

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Last updated: 
9 September 2020

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