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Travel documents you need before jetting off in 2021


With most states opening up due to hitting vaccination milestones early, domestic and international travel is now again up for discussion. Things are now significantly safer, so borders and restrictions are easing up. But before dusting off your suitcases and booking that flight for a holiday overseas, it’s important to remember that one must get their documents in order.

Here is a small guide on what to get in order before traveling.

For vaccinated Australians and permanent residents:

There are different requirements with every state, but the bottom line is that you may need the following to travel from, within, or to Australia:

  • A completed course of Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised vaccine. This includes mixed doses.
  • A travel exemption if you are not vaccinated, with medical proof
  • An Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before departure
  • A vaccination certificate
  • A completed mandatory quarantine (duration may depend on the area, as some states have relaxed quarantine requirements)

For Australians getting on international flights:

International travel has more requirements you will need to meet. Prepare the following:

  • International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) in PDF format (printed or digital)
  • Australian COVID-19 digital certificate, or your immunisation history statement
  • A travel exemption if you are not vaccinated, with medical proof
  • A travel plan regarding your return to Australia
  • Checked Smartraveller advice on travel, visa, and COVID-19 updates
  • For children below 12: medical certification and/or vaccine exemption
  • For those vaccinated overseas: a foreign vaccination certificate

Certain airlines may have more requirements, so it’s best to also check online and plan your trip months ahead to avoid any possible difficulties. Outlining booster shots and other immunisations can also come in handy if you or someone you are traveling with is immunocompromised.

For Australians coming back into the country:

Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry to Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.

Travel restrictions are subject to change in response to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19. You can stay informed with the latest updates by checking this page regularly. If you are transiting through Australia further information can be found on the Transiting Australia webpage.

You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident*
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members
  • a person who has been in New Zealand or Australia for 14 days or more immediately prior to arrival by air in Australia
  • a diplomat accredited to Australia, including their immediate family members (each member of the family unit must hold a valid subclass 995 visa)
  • a person transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
  • airline crew, maritime crew including marine pilots
  • a person recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • a person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa
  • a person who holds a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the ‘Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery Event’ stream and who is supported by the Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce.

You need to carry evidence that you meet one of the above categories when travelling. Additional evidence may be requested. If you are not in an exempt category you can request an individual exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions using the Travel Exemption portal.

In conclusion, travel regulations are still in place to make sure the threat of COVID-19 is kept at bay. Being vaccinated and responsible is the key to staying safe at all times.


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Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.


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