19 Oct 2021

Australia’s Vaccine Passports for International Travel

Australia is moving towards easing international border restrictions with new COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates being made available from today – Tuesday 19 October 2021. Here’s what you should know.

How Will Australia’s International Vaccine Passports Work? 

While vaccination certificates have already been available in Australia for domestic use, the international certificates include QR codes that can be scanned as global proof of your vaccination status to travel. 

Vaccine certificates can be requested and downloaded through the Australian MyGov website. 

To request the vaccine certificate from Medicare through MyGov, you will need to provide your passport details. This allows your vaccine certificate to be linked to your passport. 

The certificate will be sent to you and when you are travelling, you can present it electronically on your smartphone or show a printed copy.

Foreign border officials around the world will be able to scan your provided QR Code to access your vaccine certificate.

It can also be uploaded to compatible COVID-19 travel apps in use around the world – such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass.

The certificates contain a unique vaccination certificate identifier, the holder’s name, date of birth, gender, passport number and vaccination history, a QR code and signature for authentication. 

The Government believes the certificates are just as secure as the chip in Australia’s physical passports.

They meet the new global standard set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and 145 countries around the world will use the same Visible Digital Seal technology. 

Can Visa Holders Use the Australian Vaccine Certificate? 

Yes – visa holders that have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Australia can also request to have the Australian International Vaccination Certificate linked to their passport so they can use it for international travel. 

They will need to have had their COVID-19 vaccinations recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register. 

Do I Have to be Fully Vaccinated to Travel To/From Australia?

Here’s the details for Australians leaving and entering Australia:

From November 2021, it is intended that only fully vaccinated Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 12 and over will be able to leave Australia without a Travel Exemption. They can also enter Australia without a Travel Exemption. 

Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons may be able to travel overseas without an exemption

At this stage, unvaccinated Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents leaving the country will still need the Government’s permission by applying for an Outbound Travel Exemption. They will not need a Travel exemption to return to Australia but caps on arrivals for unvaccinated travellers will apply. 

For other groups, international travel is still uncertain. Under current restrictions, Temporary Visa holders can leave Australia whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated, but will need an Inbound Travel Exemption to return to Australia. 

On 15 October 2021, the Government announced that from November 2021 immediate family members of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents can return to Australia without an Inbound Travel Exemption (including for parents) – however, visas will still be required. Read more here

Other Temporary Visa Holders generally need a Travel Exemption to enter Australia – for example, for Critical Work or Compassionate/Compelling reasons. 

In all cases, you should check the border restrictions of the country you are travelling to. Not all countries require you to demonstrate your vaccination status. If it is required, you will need to have Australia’s new vaccination certificate available as proof. 

Quarantine arrangements for returning to Australia depend on State regulations. 

Re-opening International Travel | Get to Know Your Options

Here’s further updates on Australia’s plans to re-open international travel: 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said international travel would resume in three stages: 

Stage 1: Allowing fully vaccinated Australians to return and allowing citizens to leave. This was announced by NSW on Friday

Stage 2: Allowing Priority Visa Holders to enter – including students and workers. Under the National Plan for Re-opening Australia, this would occur under Phase B after at least 70% of Australia’s eligible population are fully vaccinated. It would also need to be negotiated with States and Territories. Currently, 84.6% of Australians aged 16 and over have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 67.8% are fully vaccinated. 

Stage 3: Allowing fully vaccinated international travellers, including tourists, into Australia. 

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews told Sunrise yesterday that fully vaccinated travellers to Melbourne would soon be able to undertake home rather than hotel quarantine for less than 14 days. In time, he said the State could also move to the NSW model of removing quarantine.

Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand‘s South Island is expected to resume from midnight on Tues 19 Oct 2021 after it is agreed with Victoria and NSW.

On Friday, Health Minister Greg Hunt met his Singaporean counterpart to discuss expediting an agreement that would allow vaccinated people to travel between the countries without needing to quarantine. 

Many of the processes that are getting put in place to allow Australians to travel will start to pave the way for the international border to re-open more broadly.

We are expecting further details on the reopening of international travel after the Government’s next National Cabinet meeting. 

Our team are opening up more Zoom consultations from this month to help people understand their visa and travel options. 

We encourage you to contact Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents here. 

You may also wish to connect with us on Facebook to keep up to date.

Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents
The Department of Home Affairs 
ABC News 
9 News
The Sydney Morning Herald 
ABC News
7 News
SBS News

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Uncategorized


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