Australia Travel Updates For Fall

By Geoff Whitmore, Contributor

Many parts of the globe are open again for international travel. One of the few remaining holdouts is Australia and the Oceania region in general. Here are the latest updates about when Americans can fly to Australia.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Qantas staff walk through the empty interior of the check in area at the Qantas domestic terminal on August 26, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce has reported a $1.7 billion statutory after-tax loss for the 2021 financial year, a year in which COVID-19 outbreaks have kept aircraft grounded throughout Australia. He further commented that the "trading conditions for the airline have been diabolical" and added that the COVID-19 pandemic will by the end of year have cost the airline more than $20 billion in revenue. Qantas said on Thursday it now planned to resume flights to “COVID-safe destinations” likely to include Singapore, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Fiji, and New Zealand and Canada from the middle of December. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images) Getty Images

Australia Entry Requirements

The Australian government currently has a travel ban for all non-essential travel because of the Covid-19 threat. This border closure is one of the strictest in the world.

United States citizens are unable to visit Australia under most circumstances. This is unfortunate news for world travelers who love the Land Down Under (or have a stack of Qantas miles). However, it is possible to get a travel exemption to enter Australia for several reasons:

  • Escort an Australian citizen or permanent resident minor (only one escort per child)
  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • An immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • New Zealand citizen who usually resides in Australia
  • Eligible business reasons

You can apply for an exemption at least two weeks but less than two months before your planned arrival date. It's possible to apply within two weeks due to a close family member's death or critical illness. A negative pre-arrival test within 72 hours of arrival is also necessary if you qualify for an exemption. You will also need to observe the local safety guidelines and quarantine requirements.

These entry requirements resemble what most countries had in the opening weeks of the pandemic. 

Can Dual Citizens Enter Australia?

The U.S. Embassy to Australia states that travelers with dual United States and Australian citizenship are not guaranteed entry. They will need to apply for an exemption just like non-residents and non-Australians but may have higher approval odds.

Just like it's difficult to fly into Australia, it's challenging for current Australian residents to depart the country. People with temporary visas may be able to leave the country but cannot return to Australia.

Australian Quarantine Rules

If you can enter Australia, you will need to observe the local quarantine policy and curfew restrictions to avoid legal fines and penalties. International visitors should anticipate self-quarantining for 14 days at a hotel or designated facility. The quarantine location is at the port of entry.

Much of the nation is currently under a local lockdown to a different degree. The rules vary by state and city. The affected regions include:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

The latest batch of stay-at-home orders comes in response to the Delta variant.

Before the lockdowns, quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand was permitted. However, this was the only border opening for international travel to Australia.

Summary

Australia has some of the strictest international travel restrictions. Its border will most likely stay closed for the indefinite future. Nearby countries also have similar restrictions. The Maldives is one of the only "nearby" countries you can visit.

Flying to Central America and the Caribbean are the best international travel routes from the United States as they have more accessibility.

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