Australian Border Opening For Eligible Temporary Visa Holders

UPDATE: Due to the Omicron variant the changes for temporary visa holders and citizens from Japan and Korea originally announced to come into effect on the 1st of December 2021, have been delayed to the 15th of December 2021.

The Australian government has announced that from the 15th of December 2021 the Australian border will open for fully vaccinated travellers who hold certain temporary visas, including prospective marriage visa holders, student visa holders, working holiday visa holders, New Zealand family relationship visa holders and more (see full list below). Travellers who hold an eligible temporary visa will not need an exemption and will not need to quarantine in some situations. At this stage the border isn’t completely open to visitor visa holders, although there are currently border bubbles with New Zealand and Singapore, with further border bubbles with Japan and Korea to open on the 15th of December 2021.

Throughout the pandemic we have been monitoring and updating our clients on changes.

Who is Considered an Eligible Visa Holder?

Any person who holds one of the following temporary visas is considered an eligible visa holder:

  • Subclass 200 – Refugee visa

  • Subclass 201 – In-country Special Humanitarian visa

  • Subclass 202 – Global Special Humanitarian visa

  • Subclass 203 – Emergency Rescue visa

  • Subclass 204 – Woman at Risk visa

  • Subclass 300 – Prospective Marriage visa

  • Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa

  • Subclass 403 – Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (other streams, including Australian Agriculture Visa stream)

  • Subclass 407 – Training visa

  • Subclass 408 – Temporary Activity visa

  • Subclass 417 – Working Holiday visa

  • Subclass 449 – Humanitarian Stay (Temporary) visa

  • Subclass 457 – Temporary Work (Skilled) visa

  • Subclass 461 – New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa

  • Subclass 462 – Work and Holiday visa

  • Subclass 476 – Skilled – Recognised Graduate visa

  • Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa

  • Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa

  • Subclass 489 – Skilled – Regional (Provisional) visa

  • Subclass 491 – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa

  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

  • Subclass 500 – Student visa

  • Subclass 580 or Subclass 590 – Student Guardian visa

  • Subclass 785 – Temporary Protection visa

  • Subclass 790 – Safe Haven Enterprise visa

  • Subclass 870 – Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa

  • Subclass 988 – Maritime Crew visa

New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea Border Bubbles

Currently fully vaccinated New Zealand and Singapore passport holders can enter Australia without an exemption whilst holding any type of Australian visa, this includes visitor visa holders.

From the 15th of December 2021 fully vaccinated Japan and South Korea passport holders will be able to enter Australia without an exemption whilst holding any type of Australian visa, including visitor visas.

Who is Considered Fully Vaccinated?

Travellers 12 years or older must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine. Which includes:

One dose of:

  • Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine

Or, two doses of:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria

  • AstraZeneca Covishield

  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty

  • Moderna Spikevax

  • Sinovac Coronavac

  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin

  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for 18-60 year olds).

If vaccinated with a double dose vaccine the two doses must have been administered at least 14 days apart. To be considered fully vaccinated, at least 7 days must have passed since the final dose was administered.

What If I Have Not Been Vaccinated With a TGA Approved or Recognised Vaccine?

Persons who have not been vaccinated with a TGA approved vaccine will still require a travel exemption to enter Australia.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Travellers who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons may also travel provided they can present an acceptable medical exemption. Children aged between 12 and 17 who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated may travel with a parent or guardian who is fully vaccinated, but may be subject to reduced quarantine. Children under 12 do not need to be vaccinated.

Will I Need to Quarantine?

The quarantine requirements vary depending on the state which you enter. Currently only New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT are allowing travellers to enter without quarantining. If travelling to another state you may be subject to quarantine, or may not be able to enter at all. For more information check the relevant state website by clicking here.

What do I Need to do Before I Travel?

The Department of Home Affairs have a checklist of tasks that must be completed prior to travel, please click here for more information.

About the author

Nick Hansen

Nick has been a Registered Migration Agent since 2016 when he founded Hansen Migration. Since then he has helped many migrants obtain permanent residency in Australia and Australian citizenship.

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