Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs – international travellers to Australia

Information on pre-departure testing and requirements for masks during the flight.

Leaving Australia

Do I need a pre-departure test before boarding my flight when leaving Australia?

Australians who are travelling overseas are not required to present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at check-in to meet Australian outbound travel requirements.  However, some countries and airlines do require the presentation of a pre-departure test result at check-in before you will be allowed to board your flight. Travellers should check the entry requirements of the country to which they will travel and their airline requirements.

Do I need to provide a proof of vaccination document to leave Australia?

Yes. From 1 November 2021, Australians who want to travel overseas will be able to access an internationally recognised proof of vaccination document to prove their vaccination status abroad. The proof of vaccination for international travel will include a QR code that is readable globally and will comply with the standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Australian citizens and permanent residents who have been vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccine overseas should visit their general practitioner (GP) or local pharmacist on arrival in Australia to have their COVID-19 vaccination status updated in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), to be able to show proof of vaccination in Australia. You can find further information on the Services Australia website.

Australian citizens and permanent residents who cannot be vaccinated – for example if they are under 12 or have a medical condition – will be treated as vaccinated for the purposes of their travel.

For travellers who provide a medical certificate that indicates they 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.

What other travel requirements should I consider before departing Australia?

Aside from routine travel considerations, before leaving Australia it is important to understand what is needed to successfully return to Australia (such as a negative COVID-19 PCR test) and to make sure you are able satisfy these requirements. There is more detail below.

Travelling to Australia

On 27 November 2021, the Australian Government announced additional border measures as a precaution to protect Australians from the new Omicron variant of concern. More information on these measures can be found on the Ministers website.

Australia travel declaration

Do I need to complete any documentation before I travel to Australia?

Before you travel to Australia, you should complete the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before your departure for Australia. The ATD collects your contact details in Australia, flight details, quarantine requirements and your health status.

You may also need a valid visa or exemption to enter Australia and authority to enter Australian states or territories.

For more information about visas and exemptions visit the Department of Home Affairs.

Vaccination

Do I need to present my COVID-19 vaccination certificate from a health authority at check-in?

Yes, you must present your COVID-19 vaccination certificate from a health authority to the airline staff when checking in for your travel.

Travellers vaccinated in Australia will need to present an Australian International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC). Travellers vaccinated in other countries will be able to present certificates in formats that meet the following criteria:

  • issued by a national or state/provincial-level authority or an accredited vaccination provider
  • written in English or accompanied by a certified translation
  • containing at a minimum:
    • name as it appears in the traveller's passport
    • either date of birth or passport number
    • the vaccine brand name, and
    • the date of each dose or the date on which a full course of immunisation was completed.

Paper and digital certificates are equally acceptable.

A traveller will not be considered fully vaccinated unless at least 7 days have passed since the last dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation.

For a traveller to qualify as fully vaccinated, the certificate must show a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s TGA. Current approved and recognised vaccines and dosages can be found at Guidance on foreign vaccination certificates | Australian Passport Office.

For more information refer to TGA advice.

I have not been vaccinated. Can I still travel?

If you have not been vaccinated with the doses or schedule listed above, 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.

If you do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated, current border restrictions apply to you and you must continue to follow the current border processes when leaving Australia or coming to Australia. This includes seeking an exemption to travel, travelling within international passenger caps, and undertaking mandatory 14 days managed quarantine.

What travel restrictions apply to children in relation to vaccination?

All children aged under 12 years, as demonstrated by their passport, count as fully vaccinated for travel purposes.

A class exemption will apply to Australians aged 12–17, who are travelling with fully vaccinated parents/guardians, arriving in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory who do not meet the criteria for fully vaccinated.

This age group will be required to undertake a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival into Australia.

States and territories may vary in their quarantine requirements for children aged under 12 years. Please check the local health department website of the state or territory of your first arrival for applicable quarantine requirements.

I or someone I am travelling with is not eligible for vaccination or cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons

Australian citizens and permanent residents who cannot be vaccinated - for example, if they are under 12 or have a medical condition – will be treated as vaccinated for the purposes of their travel.

For travellers who provide a medical certificate that indicates they 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.

What if I am eligible and do not have proof of vaccination or a medical certificate?

Travellers over the age of 17 who are not vaccinated, or vaccinated with a vaccine not approved or recognised by the TGA, will still need to enter 14-day managed quarantine. This only applies to those who do not have an exemption or are not considered fully vaccinated.

If I have a vaccination certificate, does that mean I’m fully vaccinated?

Getting a vaccination certificate, including the ICVC, does not necessarily mean that you are fully vaccinated. For example, your vaccination certificate may show that you have only had one dose of a 2-dose vaccine, or the vaccine you have received is not one that the TGA has approved or recognised.

If your vaccination certificate does not demonstrate 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/or from Australia.

I am travelling to Australia for a short holiday. How do I register my international vaccine in Australia so that I can leave again?

Australian Citizens or permanent residents who have received a vaccination overseas can have the details reported to the AIR upon their return to Australia. The overseas vaccination/s can be reported to the AIR by a general practitioner or other recognised vaccination provider in Australia, with the patient present (to confirm/validate vaccination history and revaccinate if required). The records must be in English (original or translated).

Do I still need to have a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test if I have had a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you still need to give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result even if you have been vaccinated.

What type of pre-departure test do I need to have before boarding my flight?

At check-in, you must provide proof of an accepted negative supervised laboratory COVID-19 PCR test using a respiratory sample or saliva. Accepted tests include Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which may also be reported as RT-PCR or PCR.

Are Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) accepted?

No. These are not accepted.

Are serology tests accepted?

No. These are not accepted.

Is a saliva-based PCR test accepted?

Yes, this is accepted.

Is the negative COVID-19 PCR test required no more than 3 days before boarding my flight or before arrival in Australia? 

The COVID-19 PCR test must be done no more than 3 days before the scheduled departure time of your flight (or your first flight, if you have one or more connecting flights booked for your travel to Australia).

I have had my COVID-19 PCR test. Should I quarantine until I get the result?

To reduce your chance of catching COVID-19 after taking your COVID-19 PCR test it is recommended that you minimise contact with others for the period between taking your test and going to the airport for your flight.

Do Australia’s travel restrictions still apply if I have a negative COVID-19 PCR test?

Yes, Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. You can see information on who can travel to Australia from the Department of Home Affairs.

Modified quarantine arrangements, including home quarantine, may vary depending on the state or territory of your first arrival.

I have had my COVID-19 PCR test and have received my negative test result certificate. However, my flight has been delayed outside of the 3 day window. What should I do?

If your flight is delayed, you have met the pre-departure testing requirements. You do not need a new test.

However, if your flight has been re-scheduled or cancelled, you will need to provide new evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken no more than 3 days before the re-scheduled or newly booked flight.

If I transit through other airports on my way to Australia and more than 3 days  has passed since my initial COVID-19 PCR test, do I need new COVID-19 PCR test result when I check-in for my direct flight to Australia?

No, if you do not leave the airport precinct (including transit accommodation) you will not be required to complete another COVID-19 PCR test. Your initial test result will cover you for your entire journey to Australia.

Do I need to give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test to the airline when checking in for a domestic flight in Australia?

Currently, people departing on domestic flights in Australia do not need to display evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. Biosecurity and public health measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes mandatory use of face masks in airport terminals and on domestic flights. You should check the relevant state or territory health department and airline websites for the most up to date domestic travel advice.

PCR laboratory test results

What information must be in my COVID-19 PCR laboratory test result record? Does it need to be paper-based or can it be electronic?

The following information must be in your test result record. If possible, this should be in English.

Mandatory required information:

  • traveller name and date of birth (age at time of test or passport number accepted, if date of birth not listed)
  • the test result (such as ‘negative’ or ‘not detected’)
  • the test method used, for example, COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) PCR test
  • the date of collection for the COVID-19 PCR test.

It is extremely important to ensure that your test result includes the four mandatory fields outlined above. If they are not complete, you will not be able to check-in and board the aircraft. Please ensure your testing facility gives this information when you get tested.

A paper-based test record is preferred. However, electronic records (such as a document embedded in an email or text message) that contain the required information can be used.

Important: hold on to your testing result certificate for your entire travelling journey. You may need to show it more than once. We recommend that you take a photo of it, if paper-based.

I am unable to give my COVID-19 PCR test result in English. Can I still use it when I check-in?

If you cannot give your test result record in English, you can give:

  • a certified translated copy of your COVID-19 PCR test result report in English. This should be given with your original test result report when you check-in
  • your original test result that is not in English, if the airline has the capability and capacity to interpret and confirm that it has the mandatory information needed, at check-in. You should contact your airline in advance of your flight to confirm whether this is possible.  

My test result is positive – what happens now?

You should not go to the airport as you may be stopped from checking-in or boarding the aircraft by your airline. You may also have primary close contacts in your travelling group. These people should not travel as you may have passed the infection on to them. A primary close contact is anyone who has had unprotected exposure to a confirmed case. You and your primary close contacts should immediately isolate and seek advice from your local health authority.

My test result is ‘inconclusive.’ What should I do?

An inconclusive test result will be treated the same as a positive test result. You, and all primary close contacts in your travelling group, will not be able to fly. A primary close contact is anyone who has had unprotected exposure to a confirmed case. You and your primary close contacts should isolate immediately and seek advice from your local health authority.

I have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, but my COVID-19 PCR test result ahead of my flight has comeback negative. Will we be allowed to check-in and board the flight?

If you are a primary close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, you will not be allowed to check in and board the aircraft. A primary close contact is anyone who has had unprotected exposure to a confirmed case. If you are a primary close contact, you must isolate immediately, once you have been advised that you a primary contact. This is because you are at high risk of infection, having been in direct contact with them. You should not go to the airport.

What if my COVID-19 PCR test result is positive, but I have already had COVID-19 and recovered from it? What should I do?

If you have had COVID-19 before and your COVID-19 PCR test result continues to be positive, you will be eligible for an exemption to be allowed to travel if you provide at check-in:

  • your positive COVID-19 PCR test result (taken no more than 3 days before your flight), and
  • a certificate from your medical practitioner. This must be issued within 14 days before the day of the relevant flight.

Your certificate must clearly include:

  • the date the certificate is provided
  • a statement to the effect that:
    • you have had COVID‑19 but are now recovered and not considered to be infectious; and
    • if you had symptoms associated with your positive test, there has been clinical resolution of fever and respiratory symptoms of the acute illness for at least the previous 3 days prior to the issuing of the certificate.

If your COVID-19 PCR test result is positive and you do not have a certificate that states the above information, you and any primary close contacts in your travelling group should not go to the airport as you will be prevented from boarding.

PCR test availability 

How do I arrange a COVID-19 PCR test?

The Australian Government does not maintain a list of approved international facilities or laboratories that provide COVID-19 PCR testing for pre-departure testing purposes.

International travellers to Australia should contact the local health authority of the country that they are in for information on the nearest COVID-19 PCR testing facility or laboratory. This information is generally advertised on the local health authorities’ websites.

COVID-19 PCR testing is available in the country/jurisdiction that I am in and results are usually available within a day. However, laboratories are overwhelmed and results are taking a long time. What should I do?

You should contact the local health authority of the country that you are in for information about COVID-19 PCR testing locations for international travel. Some providers may prioritise these requests.

What if I don’t get my COVID-19 PCR test result before check-in time?

When booking your test, ask testing staff when you can expect the results. Ensure that this will be before your scheduled departure date. If you do not have evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, you will not be able to board your flight.

How much does the COVID-19 PCR test cost?

The cost of tests varies depending on the country you are being tested in. Some government-funded testing facilities may not offer testing or testing certificates for international travel. Confirm that this service is available at the time of booking the test.

Where can I get a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Australia?

COVID-19 PCR testing requirements on arrival in Australia are managed by state or territory health authorities. You should check the relevant state or territory health department for the most up to date advice. 

Transit

My final destination is not Australia – I am only transiting through. Am I still required to have a COVID-19 PCR test?

Yes. Transit passengers who are entering Australian territory present the same risk as other passengers on the flight and must have a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test before arriving in Australia.

Pre-departure test exemptions

Are there any exemptions from the pre-departure testing requirements?

Yes. Exemptions from the pre-departure testing requirements are listed below:

Pre-departure testing exemptions

  1. Children aged 4 years and younger at the time of check-in for the scheduled flight departure
  2. People with a medical condition (who can give a relevant medical certificate) 
  3. International air crew
  4. People travelling from countries where COVID-19 PCR testing is not reasonably available. Australia’s Director of Human Biosecurity decides these exemptions
  5. Medical emergency evacuation flights
  6. Recovered persons (persistent shedders)
  1. Children who are aged 4 years and younger at the time of check-in for the scheduled flight departure do not need to have a test or give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result.
  2. People who give a medical certificate that indicates they are unable to have a COVID-19 PCR test, 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 cannot have a COVID-19 PCR test or any other COVID-19 test because of a medical condition.
  3. International air crew are subject to state and territory surveillance testing requirements. This may include a test on arrival or every 7 days in Australia.
  4. People travelling from a country where PCR testing is not reasonably available. The Director of Human Biosecurity, who is Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, decides these country exemptions and these are detailed below.
  5. An exemption to pre-departure requirements in relation to exposure and negative testing for people who are on an international emergency medical evacuation flight.
  6. This may permit eligible travellers who have recovered from COVID-19 and are not infectious, but are still testing positive, to travel if certain conditions are met.

Which countries / jurisdictions are exempt from the COVID-19 PCR pre-departure testing requirement?

Travellers flying from the following countries or jurisdictions where COVID-19 PCR testing is not reasonably available (determined by Australia’s Director of Human Biosecurity) are exempt.

Countries / jurisdictions exempt from the COVID-19 PCR pre-departure testing requirement*
  • Kiribati
  • Myanmar
  • Niue
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

* This list will be updated as local circumstances change.

COVID-19 PCR testing is available in the country/jurisdiction that I am in, however it is difficult to access and results take a couple of days. Can the 3 day time frame be extended for countries/jurisdictions with continued limited capacity?

The Australian Government continues to monitor COVID-19 PCR testing capacity in countries/jurisdictions where travellers are likely to depart from. Travellers departing from the countries/jurisdictions listed below may give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, where the test was done 96 hours or less before their scheduled flight departure.

Countries where a negative COVID-19 PCR test may be accepted, where the test was done 96-hours or less, before the scheduled flight departure*
  • Belize
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • New Caledonia
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Timor-Leste
  • Wallis and Futuna

* This list will be updated as local circumstances change.

I will be travelling on a military or chartered flight. Do I need to have a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test?

Yes. Travellers on military and charter flights bound for Australia must meet the pre-departure COVID-19 PCR testing requirements.

I am a foreign diplomat travelling to Australia. Do I need to meet the pre-departure testing requirements?

Yes. Foreign diplomats must give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result at the time of check-in.

Do maritime crew flying to Australia to join a vessel and commence working, need to have a pre-departure test?

Yes, passengers travelling to Australia to join a vessel, who hold a current maritime crew visa (MVC) (subclass 988), must give evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result at the time of check-in for their flight unless they are in an exemption category.

Quarantine

What are the current quarantine arrangements?

The Australian Government has annnounced new border restrictions to protect Australians from the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. These include additional quarantine requirements.

Quarantine arrangements are managed by the state and territory governments, with the support of the Australian Government. Modified quarantine arrangements, including home quarantine, may vary depending on the state or territory of your first arrival. You can find information on the current quarantine arrangements for the state or territory of your first arrival via their local government website.

See the state and territory website links on the australia.gov.au website.

Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia

Check the international safe travel zones for the most up-to-date information about quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia.

Quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Australia

Check the international safe travel zones for the most up-to-date information about quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Australia.

Masks

When should I wear a mask?

People travelling to and around Australia on all flights must wear a mask:

  • for the duration of your flight and
  • in Australian airports.

You should also wear a mask in the airport before boarding your flight. State and territory legislation requires that individuals wear a mask in domestic airports and on domestic flights while in Australia. You should check state/territory requirements for your onward travel after you finish quarantine.

Can I remove my mask to eat and drink?

Yes, you can remove your mask to eat and drink. You should replace your mask with a fresh one when you finish. You must also remove your mask if an airline or government official asks you to, for identification, emergency, safety, or other purposes. You should wash your hands or perform hand hygiene after removing your mask and again after reapplying your mask.

Is a mask provided when I arrive at the airport? If not, where do I get the recommended cloth or surgical mask?

You should supply your own mask and bring enough masks to last the duration of your journey. You should change your mask every 4 hours, or when your mask is wet. A cloth or surgical mask is acceptable.

Are there any exemptions from mask wearing requirements?

Yes. You do not need to wear a mask if you:

  • are a child aged 11 years and younger at the time of boarding
  • have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask. You will need to give a medical certificate as evidence. 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 (including name, address and type of practice)
    • details that clearly acknowledge that you cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition.
  • are assisting people who are deaf or hard of hearing (and their contacts). Some people with hearing disabilities need to see the mouth for communication.

Where can I find advice on appropriate mask use?

You can find a range of resources about wearing a mask on our website.

Agency contacts

You can also find more information on the following websites: 

Last updated: 
30 November 2021

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.