Australia could reopen to tourists as soon as April: Here’s what we currently know

Feb 2, 2022

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This article will be updated as the story develops and new announcements are made.

Almost two years after Australia first closed its doors to international visitors, the nation may finally be about to open back up.

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Since March 2020, the Land Down Under has been all but closed off to foreign tourists, in one of the strictest and most sustained COVID-19 border policies the world has seen during the pandemic.

At first, Australia would not even allow its own citizens to leave.

Related: 8 common misconceptions about visiting Australia

That changed in October last year as the first Australians were spotted stumbling and blinking back out into the world after almost two years of international isolation.

And this week, the news finally came that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was considering allowing foreign visitors back into Australia, possibly in time for Easter.

In This Post

When could Australia reopen?

Speaking to a local radio station, Morrison said he couldn’t give a specific date until the omicron waved had “washed over.” Then he added: “I’d like to see us get there soon … certainly before Easter, well before Easter.”

“I don’t think it’s too far away, to be honest, but we’ve got to get some medical advice further on that, a bit more work to do with the states to make sure we’re comfortable about [reopening],” he told Cairns radio station 4CA.

Easter this year falls from April 15 to 17.

Who can currently travel there?

As of Nov. 1, 2021, only Australian citizens, permanent residents, their families and people with special permission could enter the country. Residents were able to go anywhere, except Western Australia, which remained in an “indefinite lockdown.”

Then, on Dec. 15, it reopened its doors to returning residents, working holiday visa holders, and international students as long as they are fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated visitors from New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea were also allowed in last year in travel bubble agreements.

If Australia does reopen in April it currently remains to be seen whether the country will be open to all or whether there could be additional restrictions in place for certain nations.

What are the current restrictions, and will I need a booster?

All international arrivals to Australia must show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flight, whether it’s a PCR or rapid antigen test. PCR tests must be taken within 72 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure, while rapid antigen tests must be done within 24 hours.

Eligible visitors are also required to complete an Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure, which includes a declaration regarding their vaccination status. They will also be asked to upload their vaccination certificate.

The Australian authorities provide an “information for international travelers fact sheet” to all travelers on arrival in Australia. This provides information on current requirements

Featured image by Keith Zhu/Unsplash.

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