A Breakdown of Australia’s Border Restrictions in the Lead up to the Holidays

A Breakdown of Australia’s Border Restrictions in the Lead up to the Holidays

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 two years, 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.

Australian border restriction updates

Australian border restrictions
What’s the latest updates on Australian border restrictions in the face of COVID-19 cases? Getty

Western Australia

Update (14/12)

The WA government has announced that the state’s border will reopen from 12.01 am on February 5, 2022 – provided there are no unexpected hiccups before that date.

This reopening date is when WA expects to reach its 90 per cent double-vaccination rate for people aged 12 years and above.

From February 5, international and domestic travellers will be granted quarantine-free entry into WA, with certain provisions.

Double dose vaccinated international arrivals will be required to:

  • return a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to departure; and
  • return a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival to WA and on day six.

Unvaccinated international arrivals into WA will be required to complete 14 days of quarantine, either in a designated hotel or quarantine facility.

Domestic arrivals into WA are required to be double vaccinated unless medically exempt or ineligible.

Conditions for arrivals domestically are as follows:

  • interstate arrivals coming into WA or WA travellers leaving and returning on a trip that is six days or more will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure prior to travelling to WA, and undertake a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival;
  • interstate arrivals coming into WA for five days or less will require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure but are not required to have any tests on arrival into WA;
  • WA travellers who leave then return to WA within 5 days or less do not need a test before arriving back into the State, but they will require a PCR test within 48 hours of returning.

All visitors to Western Australia will still need to complete a G2G PASS to obtain permission to enter the state.

The WA government has also announced revised mask-wearing and proof-of-vaccination rules following the opening of the border. They are as listed below:

Masks will be required to be worn in some high-risk indoor settings including:

  • on public transport, taxis or ride share services;
  • at airports and on flights; and
  • by visitors to hospitals, residential aged care, disability care or custodial corrections facilities.

Proof of vaccination for people 16 years and older will be required at:

  • venues or events with 1,000 or more patrons;
  • nightclubs;
  • the Crown complex; and
  • the four major stadia (Optus Stadium, RAC Arena, HBF Stadium and HBF Park).

You can read more on WA’s border restriction opening plan here.

Prior to February 5, the below conditions still apply for WA.

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

Right now, Victoria is 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 one, five and 13 of quarantine.

NSW is considered high risk, which means travellers need to be approved for entry and can then self-quarantine at a suitable premises for 14 days. Anyone else at the same premises must also quarantine for 14 days. A negative test must also be provided 72 hours prior to entry and further COVID-19 tests must be taken on days two and 12. Travellers must be fully vaccinated.

The ACT and South Australia are considered medium risk, which means approval must be given via the G2G system and then travellers need to self-quarantine at suitable premises for 14 days. A negative test and proof of COVID-19 vaccination must also be provided prior to travelling.

The Northern Territory and Queensland are 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.

Tasmania is considered very low risk and travellers only need to complete a health screening on arrival and a G2G pass.

New South Wales

(Update 6/12)

Now that NSW has been living with COVID-19 for some time, there are relaxed border rules for interstate travellers. That’s right, at the time of writing anyone can travel into NSW from another Australian state without having to complete a border pass or get an exemption.

Keep up to date on NSW’s border restrictions here.


Update (6/12)

Victoria has also moved to live with its COVID-19 outbreak and has since removed restrictions for interstate travellers. Anyone can now enter Victoria, regardless of vaccination status, from any Australian state or territory without a permit.

Rules are still in place for international arrivals (more on that below).

Find out more about the current Victorian border restrictions here.


Update (6/12)

The Queensland government has announced it will be bringing forward the re-opening of its borders to December 13 from 1 am. This has been brought forward from the original expected date of December 17. After this time, fully vaccinated travellers from hotspots are able to enter the state via road or air.

Incoming travellers need to receive a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours prior to entry and will need to get another test on day five of their stay.

All travellers will need to complete a border entry pass.

South Australia

Update (6/12)

South Australia has opened its borders to travellers who are vaccinated against COVID-19. All travellers must complete an EntryCheck SA application before arrival as well as get a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours beforehand.

In reaction to the growing presence of the Omicron variant in Australia, the South Australian government has introduced testing requirements for travellers entering from NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Travellers from these areas will need to get tested upon arrival and self-isolate until a negative result has been received, and must then have another test on day six of their stay.


(Update 6/12)

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, 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.

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

From December 15, travel restrictions will be changing for Tasmania. You can find all the upcoming changes here.

Northern Territory

Update (6/12)

Northern Territory has declared all of 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 and you will be subject to 14 days of mandatory supervised quarantine.

The Northern Territory also declared South Australia to be a red zone as of December 3, 2021.

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

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


Update (6/12)

Western Australia is currently the only state without recognised exposure sites by the ACT government.

Any fully vaccinated travellers who have been in the recognised NSW or Victoria hotspots will need to apply for an online exemption form and then monitor for symptoms for 14 days from arrival. Travellers who are not vaccinated must quarantine for 14 days. NSW/ACT border residents have an exemption.

Those who have been to a recognised exposure site in Queensland, SA, Tasmania or the Northern Territory must obtain an exemption before arriving into the ACT and follow the same rules as above.


(Update 6/12)

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

Fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents are able to leave the country for any reason, but whether they can return home is dependant on each state’s rules. (Along with access to flights.)

Some restrictions to the international border have been re-introduced due to the Omicron variant. The government has paused arrivals of international students, and humanitarian, working holidaymakers and provisional family visa holders from December 1-15 as well as any travellers from Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Anyone who is not a permanent resident of Australia cannot enter the country if they have been in the following countries within 14 days: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique. Permanent residents who enter from these countries will need to go into 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Certain states, (like NSW, Victoria and the ACT) have introduced additional restrictions in relation to the Omicron variant. Incoming international travellers must get a COVID-19 test and isolate for 72 hours upon arrival.

You can also keep up to date with COVID locations by referring to government resources along with this Google map of hot spots. And if you want more info on vaccine boosters, you can read up on that next.

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

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