A Break Down of Australia’s Current Border Restrictions [Update]

A Break Down of Australia’s Current Border Restrictions [Update]

Since COVID-19 began in March 2020, the state and territory governments have been enforcing their own border control measures to limit travel from various coronavirus hotspots around Australia.

Over the past year, the border restrictions have changed a number of times to adapt to emerging coronavirus clusters. While we had a pretty good run there for a minute, new positive cases mean restrictions are back for certain areas.

If you’re at a loss of where we’re at with all this change, don’t worry. We’ve created a guide for you below.

You can also keep up to date with COVID locations by referring to government resources along with this Google map of hot spots.

New South Wales

(Update 20/10)

NSW has been living with an outbreak since June and now that vaccination targets have been met the state is learning to live with the virus.

While other states try and maintain a COVID zero situation, it means there’s not a lot NSW residents can do outside of their home state.

At the moment, travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW isn’t permitted, but this will be lifted from November 1, 2021.

As for who can enter NSW? Travellers from any other state are permitted to enter NSW, apart from Victoria, where some restrictions apply.

Victorians must fill out an NSW border entry declaration form and if they have been to any of the areas of concern they must quarantine at home for 14 days. Exemptions apply for NSW and Victorian border residents.


Update (20/10)

Victoria is also dealing with an outbreak but as vaccination targets are being met, border restrictions can relax.

Victoria’s travel permit system is split into green, orange and red zones. Currently, anyone in a green zone can travel to Victoria without quarantining by applying for a permit.

A new update to Victoria’s border requirements means that fully vaccinated travellers from Orange zones (aka Sydney) can enter the state with a permit. Those who are not vaccinated will need to isolate and get tested within 72 hours of arrival.

Find out more about the current Victorian border restrictions here.


Update (20/10) 

Queensland is largely open to everyone bar those in the ACT, NSW and Victoria. The state relaxed its border restrictions with Tasmania earlier this week.

Those who have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot are not able to enter Queensland except for essential reasons. To gain entry you need to complete a border pass.

However, this will all change when QLD hits its 70% and 80% vaccination targets.

When Queensland hits 70%, which is expected on November 19, fully vaccinated travellers from hotspots can enter Queensland via air. They must quarantine at home for 14 days as well as provide proof of a negative test within 72 hours prior to travelling.

From 80% (expected on December 17), travellers from hotspots must be fully vaccinated and provide a negative test 72 hours prior to travelling. They can then enter QLD via road or air and will not need to quarantine.

South Australia

Update (20/10)

Everyone travelling interstate into SA must complete a Cross Border Travel Registration form.

Presently, South Australia is prohibiting visitors from the ACT, NSW and VIC except for essential travellers. Level 4 requirements are in place for essential travellers which asks that they get a COVID-19 test on days 1, 5 and 13 as well as self-quarantine for 14 days from arrival.

Returning SA and relocating residents can apply for an exemption.

Western Australia

Update (20/10)

Western Australia has some of the strictest border requirements in the country right now. All visitors to Western Australia must complete a G2G PASS to obtain permission to enter the state.

Jurisdictions are split into categories ranging from very low risk to extreme risk.

Right now, Victoria and NSW are considered extreme risk which means visitors need approval through the G2G pass and must then undertake 14 days hotel quarantine. Approved travellers need to provide a negative test 72 hours prior to departure and proof of at least one COVID vaccine dose. Tests must be taken on days 1, 5 and 13 of quarantine.

The ACT is considered a medium risk state which means approval must be given via the G2G system and then travellers can need to self-quarantine at suitable premises for 14 days. A negative test and proof of at least one COVID vaccine dose must also be provided prior to travelling.

Queensland is still considered a low-risk jurisdiction which means travellers must complete a health screening on arrival and then enter self-quarantine for 14 days at a suitable premise.

All other states are considered very low risk and must only complete a health screening on arrival and complete a G2G pass.

The WA government has maintained its stance that borders will not re-open until early 2022 when between 80-90% of its citizens are fully vaccinated.


(Update 20/10)

All travellers must register their intent to visit Tasmania.

Areas are assessed as either low, medium or high-risk by the Tasmanian government.

Right now all of NSW, all of Victoria and the ACT are considered high risk (level 1). Travellers from these areas are not permitted to enter Tasmania unless approved as an essential traveller who must then undertake government-mandated quarantine.

Northern Territory and Western Australia are considered low-risk and are thus free to travel, but certain premises in QLD and SA have been declared high-risk, so check whether you’ve been in these areas before travelling.

Northern Territory

Update (20/10)

Northern Territory has declared all of the ACT, NSW and Victoria a hotspot for the purposes of travel. This means no travel is allowed from these states unless you are a returning NT resident upon which you will be subject to 14-days of mandatory supervised quarantine.

You can check the current restrictions between NT and each of the Australian states below.

The NT Government website offers a useful checklist of things to consider before travelling to the state including a mandatory Border Entry Form.


Update (20/10)

The Northern Territory is currently the only state without recognised exposure sites by the ACT government.

Any ACT residents who have been in NSW or Victoria will need to apply for an online exemption form and then quarantine immediately for 14 days. NSW/ACT border residents have an exemption. Non ACT residents can only enter with an approved exemption and must then quarantine.

From November 1, Canberrans visiting Greater Sydney will be allowed to come and go freely without needing to quarantine.

Those who have been to a recognised exposure site in QLD, SA, Tasmania or WA must obtain an exemption before arriving into the ACT.


(Update 20/10)

The good news is that after 18 months of being closed, Australia’s international borders are starting to open again.

From November, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave the county for any reason, but whether they can return home is dependant on each state’s vaccination targets. (Along with access to flights.)

NSW has announced from November that it will remove quarantine requirements for international arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with a recognised COVID-19 vaccine.

International travellers into QLD will be able to enter the state freely if they are fully vaccinated when the state reaches its 90% targets. Until then other restrictions apply.

At the moment, no other states or territories have announced their international opening plans, but expect these to follow soon.

This article has been updated with additional information. We will continue to add to this article as more news becomes available.

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