Australia's borders were closed to tourists for nearly two years – but we can finally visit again. The popular holiday and backpacker destination, which is also home to hundreds of thousands of British citizens, closed its borders at the beginning of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and only reopened in February 2022 – but what do you need to do to enter the country now? Here’s what we know.
Can I travel to Australia now?
On Monday 21 February 2022, Australia reopened its borders to all fully vaccinated visa holders – they no longer need to apply for a travel exemption. Announcing the reopening in January, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: 'If you're double vaccinated, we look forward to welcoming you back.' Unvaccinated travellers who have a medical reason for not having the vaccine will still need to apply for a travel exemption and, if successful, will be required to quarantine at a hotel.
As of Friday 18 March 2022, all Covid travel rules have been dropped in the UK, so people travelling there from Australia do not need to take any tests, quarantine or fill out a passenger locator form when returning to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
What are the entry requirements for Australia?
As well as the correct visa, until Sunday 17 April 2022 you must have a negative Covid-19 test result, taken in the 72 hours before your flight, and you will also be required to complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure. The ATD includes a declaration regarding your vaccination status, and you will be asked to upload your vaccination certificate – the NHS one should be accepted. Arrivals may also be asked to complete a test on arrival.
After Sunday 17 April, fully vaccinated arrivals won't be required to show a negative PCR test to enter the country. Proof of vaccination will be sufficient.
After Sunday 17 April, restrictions on cruise ships entering Australia will also be lifted.
Each state and territory has different rules about quarantine and testing for international arrivals, and it is best to check the Australian government website before travelling. It's advised that travellers are prepared for disruption to their plans.
But still, after nearly two years of borders closures, for now, heading down under and staying in one of our favourite new hotels is a reality once more.