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. The only people who can travel to Australia are:

  • Australian citizens
  • residents
  • immediate family members
  • travellers who have been in New Zealand for the previous 14 days.

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.

People arriving in Australia may 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 may be quarantined or 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, travellers arriving in Australia by air or sea may need to go into government approved mandatory quarantine for 14 days from arrival. Exceptions include travellers who are: 

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.

Travel zones

Travellers arriving in Australia will arrive either via a red or green travel zone. Passengers arriving from a high-risk country for COVID-19 will be considered as arriving from a red zone. Passengers arriving from a low-risk country or area will be considered as arriving from a green zone.

From 16 October 2020, only people who have been in New Zealand for 14 days prior to travel will be considered to be from a green zone.

This means travellers coming from New Zealand do not need to complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine if:

  • they travelled on a green zone flight, and
  • have been in New Zealand for 14 days prior to travel.

Passengers arriving in New South Wales or the Northern Territory may travel to locations in those states. For other states and territories, you should check local requirements prior to travelling there as other states and territories may still require travellers from a green zone to quarantine on arrival.

Passengers should check with their airline before purchasing tickets to find out if their flight will be considered a green zone flight.

Travellers will have to sign a COVID-19 Declaration Card stating that they have been in New Zealand for the past 14 days. They must not have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in contact with a confirmed case. They must also provide contact details while in Australia to help with contact tracing if required.

Travellers in the green zone may have to go through additional health screening. This will be either before boarding their flight in New Zealand or on arrival in Australia.

Travellers in the green safe travel zone will not be in contact with passengers from any other countries when transiting through the airport.

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.

Red zone flight crew

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

  • 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.

Green zone flight crew

Airline, medevac and air ambulance crew are exempt from all quarantine requirements (including self-quarantine in crew accommodation or home)if they have:

  • undertaken green zone flights between Australia and New Zealand, and
  • have only been in Australia and New Zealand for the preceding 14 days

Airline crew operating green zone flights may be subject to health screening on arrival in Australia. This is at the discretion of the state or territory health department.

If possible, airline crew should not operate both red and green zone flights. If this is not possible, the following applies:

  • If airline crew operate both green and red zone flights within a 14 day period, they will be subject to the red zone quarantine requirements for airline crew on arrival in Australia (refer to F1).
  • Risk mitigation measures relevant to crew should be applied to any green zone flight operated by crew who have managed red zone flights within the preceding 14 days. This is outlined in the Advice on managing the health risks from COVID-19 on international flights.

Flight crew are exempt from mandatory quarantine because of the:

  • industry infection prevention requirements
  • training the industry provide to their staff, and
  • 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: 
16 October 2020

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