COVID-19 and travel to Australia
New measures for return to Australia
Following a decision by National Cabinet and announcement from the Prime Minister, if you are travelling to Australia you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding your flight at the departure point.
Anyone who has a negative test result and enters Australia, must still complete mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities in your port of arrival.
Masks are now mandatory for all international and domestic flights, including within airports. Read the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement on safe air travel – enhancing end-to-end mitigations – international.
International arrival caps will be reduced until 15 February 2021. This could affect your flight into Australia. If you’re scheduled to fly home to Australia in the coming weeks, confirm your itinerary and travel plans with your airline or travel agent.
Travellers to Australia should contact their airline regarding any current requirements relating to COVID-19 testing.
International and domestic transit requirements in Australia
Who can travel to Australia?
Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia may enter Australia.
All other travellers wishing to transit through Australia may require up to three approvals (including onward flights out of Australia) prior to travelling:
1. A visa to enter Australia (Department of Home Affairs)
2. An exemption to Australia’s border measures (Australian Border Force)
3. An exemption from the state or territory’s quarantine requirements (State Health Departments)
Travel and transit restrictions are outlined on the Department of Home Affairs website at:
Travellers should book and pay (refundable) for all flights and before submitting these applications. Travellers cannot apply for approvals before a full itinerary is purchased.
Australian Visa Requirements
To transit through Australia, a traveller must either hold a valid visa or be from an eligible country to Transit Without a Visa (TWOV). If a traveller doesn’t have a visa, or is not eligible to TWOV that allows lawful entry into Australia, the traveller can apply for a Transit visa (subclass 771) which allows the traveller to transit through Australia for up to 72 hours while they wait for their onward flight. More information on transit visas can be found here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/transit-771
New Zealanders or Pacific Islanders Transiting Australia
New Zealanders, citizens of Pacific Island Forum countries, Timor Leste citizens or residents of New Caledonia or French Polynesia transiting through Australia on their way to New Zealand or a Pacific Island Forum Country do not need a transit exemption if they have booked a connecting flight to depart Australia within 72 hours of their arriving flight.
Due to domestic travel restrictions, a traveller’s outbound connecting flight must be departing from the same airport in Australia as their arrival flight, unless an exemption has been granted. If a traveller’s connecting flight means the traveller will spend longer than 72 hours in Australia, they will not be considered to be transiting Australia and they will need to apply online to the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) for an exemption from the travel restrictions.
Exemptions to Australia’s Border Measures
Foreign nationals transiting through Australia to another country don’t need to apply for an exemption to travel restrictions if they are booked on a connecting flight from the same airport and they are not going to leave the airport. If a traveller does plan to leave the airport before boarding their connecting flight, they will need to apply to the Commissioner of the ABF for a travel exemption.
The online exemption request form can be found here:
State and Territory Quarantine Requirements
If a traveller cannot remain in the airport before their connecting flight departs, they must follow the quarantine and isolation requirements in the state or territory they have arrived in. Travellers must do this, even if they have an exemption from the ABF Commissioner.
State and territory authorities will consider exemptions to the mandatory 14 day quarantine period on a case by case basis. Information on exemptions to the 14 day mandatory quarantine period can be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-exemptions-to-the-14-day-mandatory-quarantine-period
Queensland Government Advice
From 1 July 2020, anyone arriving into Queensland from overseas will need to pay for quarantine. The link below has further information on this arrangement: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/protect-yourself-others/self-quarantine/returning-from-overseas-travel-quarantine-arrangements
If you are leaving quarantine to get another flight you will need to complete the Queensland health exemption to leave quarantine. More information can be found at this link: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers
More information on Queensland Government Advice can be found here: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/stay-informed/travel-advice
Other states and territories
The latest specific information for other state and territories can be found at the links below:
Australian Capital Territory Government Advice:
New South Wales Government Advice:
Northern Territory Government Advice:
South Australian Government Advice:
Tasmania Government Advice:
Victoria Government Advice:
Western Australia Government Advice:
Latest travel advice
Please go to our Smartraveller bulletin using the link www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/coronavirus-covid-19 for the latest information and updates on travel advice.
For urgent consular assistance contact:
- +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
- 1300 555 135 from within Australia
- +61 421 269 080 from SMS
For non-urgent inquiries, email [email protected]
- About the Australian High Commission
- Working with us - job opportunities
- Australian aid and development cooperation
- Australia-Solomon Islands relationship
- Services for Australians - consular assistance and passports
- Visas and citizenship
- Doing business with Australia
- Scholarship opportunities and studying in Australia
- News archive