23 Mar 2021

Vaccine passport Australia | What is a vaccine passport and how will it influence travel post Covid-19?

The COVID-19 vaccine has begun rolling out in Australia and many people are wondering how international travel could safely begin to reopen.

Will the vaccination make it safe to resume international travel? What could a vaccine passport look like? Will it be mandatory?

Here’s a summary of these discussions taking place in the media.

When will Australia’s international border re-open? 

Australia’s international border is still closed to travellers that do not meet a Travel Exemption until at least 17 June 2021. This is following the Government’s recent extension of Australia’s biosecurity emergency period.

Given the global uncertainty of the situation, it is hard to put a date on when Australia’s international border will reopen.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison confirmed last week that Australia was on track to reopening its international border by the end of October 2021 in line with the expected completion the vaccination roll-out – although there were no guarantees.

Qantas CEO, Mr Alan Joyce said he expects Qantas airlines will resume regular international travel flights to most of its pre-COVID destinations from 31 October 2021 once the vaccination roll-out is completed.

Will Australia’s vaccine roll-out make it safe to travel? What about Travel Bubbles? 

Travel industry experts, such as James Goodwin, Chief Executive of Australian Airports Association, are calling for a phased re-opening of Australia’s international border, starting with travel bubbles with other low-risk countries.

Epidemiologist, Dr Tony Blakely told Weekend Today he believes Australia should be able to safely and gradually re-open its international border to low-risk countries once around 40% to 60% of Australia’s population has been vaccinated for COVID-19, and ‘relax to normal’ once 60% to 70% has been reached.

However, this is based on the provision that the vaccine will stop the transmission of COVID-19 and any variants that may emerge, which is yet to be proven.

This week, Health Department Secretary Professor, Brendan Murphy said, “I’m hopeful that pretty good international travel will happen next year, but it’s just too early to tell.”

Will the COVID-19 vaccination be mandatory for travel?

Travel to Australia

This month, Mr Morrison said it was still “too soon” to decide if international travellers to Australia would still need to undertake quarantine on arrival if they have been vaccinated. He said the decision would be based on medical evidence and data from the rest of the world.

This week, Mr Murphy indicated Australia could explore reducing the length of quarantine or allowing home quarantine for vaccinated people.

Travel from Australia

While getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is not mandatory in Australia, many airlines around the world have indicated they will be implementing policies that require proof of vaccination before travelling. This is where the concept of a ‘vaccine passport’ comes in.

Stuart Robert, Minister for Government Services stated at a Press Conference last month that the widespread use of assured vaccination certificates would be required for international borders to reopen.

Some airlines, such as Qantas, have already committed to plans for vaccine passports. Qantas CEO, Mr Joyce stated that proof of the COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all travellers flying with Qantas out of Australia once international travel reopens.

What could Vaccine passports look like? | Vaccine Passport Australia

Last month, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said he was already discussing a ‘vaccine passport system’ with other nations. The Government is working to ensure Australia’s vaccination certificates are widely accepted by other countries.

A Department of Health spokesperson, Mr Leach said the World Health Organisation (WHO) is expecting to release its global guidelines on what a vaccination passport would look like in May this year.

However, several types of ‘vaccine passports’ are already being developed. So far they are in the form of digital smartphone applications that link evidence of a traveller’s COVID-19 certified test results or vaccination status to a person’s passports.

They will allow a person to view their confirmation status to fly directly on the mobile app and then present their vaccination certificate to the airline.

The vaccine passport or travel pass developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will be trialled by Air New Zealand in April 2021 for flights between Sydney and Auckland. Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and British Airways have also said they plan to use the IATA Travel Pass.

Qantas CEO, Mr Joyce said Qantas will trial the IATA Travel Pass – in addition to the CommonPass apps – on its international repatriation flights.

Immigracious | Migration Connections Made Simple

We will certainly keep you updated on Australian travel and immigration news.

Should you require assistance with your visa or travel exemption options to come to Australia or extend your stay, we encourage you to get in touch with Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents.


Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents

The Age

9 News

9 News

Canberra Times

The Executive Traveller

The Executive Traveller

The Executive Traveller

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).

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