Australia opens borders to vaccinated travellers and eligible visa holders from 1 December 2021

From 1 December 2021, fully vaccinated eligible visa holders will be able to travel to and from Australia without a travel exemption.  

Previously, only Australian citizens, permanent residents, and a very small group of visa holders were able to travel without obtaining an exemption.

For businesses and universities hit with the worker shortage and economic downturn, the reopening of our international borders is a welcome step on the path to recovery. The Australian government estimates around 200,000 temporary visa holders to take advantage of the relaxed travel restrictions.

Who is an 'eligible visa holder'?

Eligible visa holders – including skilled workers, working holiday-makers, international students, and refugees – as well as citizens of Japan and South Korea travelling from those countries can enter Australia from 1 December 2021, as long as they meet certain limited conditions (see below).

You are an eligible visa holder if you hold one of the following visas:

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 – Student Guardian visa (closed to new applicants)

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

What qualifies as 'fully vaccinated'?

International travellers must be fully vaccinated. To qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’, you must have had two doses at least 14 days apart of:

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • AstraZeneca Covishield
  • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
  • Moderna Spikevax
  • Sinovac Coronavac
  • Bharat Biotech Covaxin
  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for 18-60 year olds)

Or one dose of:

  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine

At least 7 days must have passed since your final vaccine dose. Mixed doses count, so long as the vaccines have been approved or recognised by the TGA. You must also obtain an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) as proof of vaccination.

Travellers who have evidence they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and children under 12, will also qualify.

Will individual State quarantine arrangements still apply?


Travellers returning to Australia can only enter and travel between NSW, Victoria and the ACT without quarantining. Other States will have their own quarantine requirements upon arrival. Before travelling, ensure you check the quarantine arrangements of the individual State you are travelling to on the Australian government’s website.


In short, you will be able to enter Australia without applying for a travel exemption from 1 December 2021 if you:

You can find a useful checklist for preparing to travel to Australia here.

Have questions about these latest changes?
Our friendly migration experts would be happy to help. 

contact us

+61 2 9212 4008

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Surry Hills,
Sydney NSW 2010

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