Australia scraps test entry requirement for overseas travellers

Australia no longer requires travellers to return a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight into the country. The removal of this travel requirement comes as Australia continues to wind back its pandemic-related restrictions.

“From 18 April 2022 travellers to Australia will no longer be required to undertake a COVID-19 pre-departure test before boarding their flight,” the Department of Health said.

“Travellers are reminded that it is your responsibility to ensure you meet the requirements of the airline you are travelling with and any countries you transit through.”

Read: Travel SOS: What not to touch at the airport

The federal government announced the change late last month. This is the first time in more than two years that the biosecurity emergency determination relating to coronavirus will not be extended. The emergency determination, which first came into effect in March 2020 as Australia shut its borders, lapsed at 11:59 pm on Sunday 17 April.

International travellers will still need to show proof they have received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and masks will also remain mandatory on international flights and within Australia’s airports.

Read: British airline first to scrap masks on flights

States and territories still have the power to implement the negative testing requirement, however, most refer to Commonwealth requirements in providing travel advice for international arrivals.

The vaccination rules have also been tweaked for Australian travellers, with the Department of Home Affairs saying: “From 18 April 2022, unvaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be able to leave Australia without an individual travel exemption, but you may still be asked about your vaccination status”.

Read: The digital vaccination certificates likely to be accepted overseas

The ban on international cruise ships ended at the same time, allowing Australians to sail overseas for the first time since early 2020. Those hoping to hop on a cruise will need to be double vaccinated though, and all vessels are required to have COVID safety plans in place to reduce the risk of transmission.

Australia began repealing its border restrictions in November last year, when citizens no longer needed an exemption to leave the country.

Fully vaccinated tourists were then welcomed back in mid-February.

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Written by Ellie Baxter

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