The federal government will no longer require fully vaccinated Australians and permanent residents to get an exemption for outbound travel from Australia from November 1, 2021.
However, Australian citizens and permanent residents who do not meet the eligibility requirements must continue to use the current border crossing procedures when leaving or entering the country. Prior to the announcement, everyone living in Australia, including fully vaccinated people, had to request a travel exemption through the Department of Home Affairs.
“From 1 November 2021, Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 12 and over who have received two doses of an approved or recognised vaccine will be able to leave Australia without needing an outwards travel exemption, the Department of Home Affairs confirmed.
“Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without an exemption.”
The Australia-Singapore travel bubble
Meanwhile, the announcement coincides with the Singapore government’s introduction of special vaccinated-only travel lanes (VTL) with Australia and Switzerland. The inclusion of Australia in the VTL scheme, according to Singapore’s Transport Minister S Iswaran, underlines Singapore’s strong economic relations with Australia.
“Singapore will extend the Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme to Australia and Switzerland for entry into Singapore on and after 8 November 2021,” said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
“Under the VTL, fully vaccinated travellers from these countries may enter Singapore without quarantine and just need to undergo COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing.
“Children aged 12 years and below who are not vaccinated will be allowed to travel under the VTL into Singapore if they are accompanied by a VTL traveller who meets all VTL requirements.”
The announcement is particularly important for students and businesses. “We also expect student and business pass holders from Singapore to be able to enter Australia after Australia has finalised the arrangement for their entry,” noted CAAS.
“Other travellers from Singapore would not be able to travel to Australia until a later stage.”
Proof of vaccination
Everyone will need to prove they have received two doses of an approved vaccine. Furthermore, in order to travel internationally without obtaining an exemption, fully vaccinated Australians will need to present proof of their vaccination status at airport check-in upon departing Australia, according to the Department of Home Affairs.
The traveller’s International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC), obtained through their myGov account, will be required to show airline staff.
The ICVC will be made available in PDF format. One can visit the Services Australia website for additional information about obtaining an ICVC.
Which vaccinations are TGA approved?
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved four vaccines for use in Australia — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (now known as Vaxevria) and Johnson and Johnson.
But it has also listed several from other countries including China, India and Russia that it has recommended being recognised as vaccines that provide protection against COVID-19.
“Australian citizens and permanent residents who want to travel overseas will need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved or recognised vaccine, with the second dose occurring at least seven days prior to travel,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press briefing.
Please see this page for TGA’s recommendations on the recognition of vaccines not registered in Australia.
For inbound travel, Hunt stated that the next stage of Australia’s international reopening would focus on allowing international students and critical workers to travel into the country. It will also include increased tourism and other travel arrangements with Singapore.
In a joint statement, Hunt and Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews stated that the federal government expected fully vaccinated skilled workers and international students to enter Australia by the end of the year.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared earlier this month that inbound travel into Australia would reopen on November 1, but that returning Australian citizens, residents, and their families would be prioritised.
NSW to follow suit
The November 1 deadline also coincides with revisions to quarantine rules in NSW, with fully vaccinated travellers no longer needing to undergo any quarantine.
From November, NSW will open its borders to fully vaccinated international travellers, who will no longer need to quarantine in hotels or at home. So far, NSW is the only state to announce quarantine-free international travel.
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