Traveling down under will soon be a reality again—the long-awaited Australia border opening is finally here. The government announced on Monday that the country's border restrictions, which have been in place since March 2020, will be lifted on February 21, reopening Australia to vaccinated foreign visitors.
“The condition is: You must be double vaccinated to come to Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference on Monday. “That is the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.”
The news comes just four days after neighboring New Zealand—with which Australia has a travel bubble—announced its five-step plan to open to foreign travelers by July. Australia had planned to reopen to travelers as early as last December, but officials delayed due to the quick-spreading Omicron variant.
Inbound visitors to Australia will need to present proof of being fully vaccinated upon check-in to their flights and may be asked to show the evidence again to border officials upon entry. The vaccines must be from an approved list, which includes AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer, Moderna, and Sinovac. Paper and digital certificates issued by government authorities or accredited vaccination providers are accepted and must have a name matching the one on the passport, a date of birth or passport number, the vaccine brand, and dates the dosages were completed. Additionally, they must be in English, or accompanied by a certified translation.
In addition to vaccination status, foreign visitors must also have a negative pre-departure test, either a nucleic acid amplification (NAA) test, which includes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests performed within three days of departure by a lab, or a rapid antigen test (RAT) performed within 24 hours by a medical practitioner.
The Australian Department of Health also specifies that masks must be worn for the duration of the flight and says to put on a fresh one every four hours or if and when it gets wet. “If you don’t agree to wear a mask, you will not be allowed to check in or board the aircraft,” the site says.