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International Travel Will Be Back on the Cards for Vaccinated Australians From November 1

On the same date, New South Wales will drop all quarantine requirements and caps for double-vaccinated Aussies.
By Sarah Ward
October 16, 2021
By Sarah Ward
October 16, 2021

Australians, if you need to renew your passport — or just find wherever you stashed it away more than 18 months ago — the time is now. When Monday, November 1 arrives, Aussies will be permitted to travel internationally again. Of course, given that the COVID-19 situation varies in each state, jetting off won't be as straightforward as it used to be; however, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that the Federal Government will be allowing Aussies to leave the country and return from that date.

Back at the beginning of October, the PM advised that Australia's indefinite ban on holidaying overseas — a ban that came into place in March 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19 — would lift sometime in November on a state-by-state basis. At the time, Morrison announced that "international travel is on track to reopen safely to fully vaccinated Australian travellers" when each state and territory individually hits the 80-percent double-jabbed threshold.

Now, on Friday, October 15, the Prime Minister confirmed the exact date that Aussies will be allowed to travel internationally — after New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that quarantine requirements will be dropped for folks who've had both their jabs from Monday, November 1, too. Also in NSW, caps on the number of  double-vaccinated overseas arrivals will also lift on the same day.

"I'm very pleased that the New South Wales Government has advised, as you've learnt today, that they will be in a position to move to a no quarantine arrangement for people arriving back in Australia from the 1st of November, which enables us to be in a position to ensure that we can lift the caps for returning Australian citizens, residents and their families from the 1st of November into New South Wales," said Morrison.

He continued: "this also means is that we will be allowing Australians, permanent residents and citizens and their families, to leave Australia from wherever they live in Australia and return, but obviously the capped arrangements in other states will continue because of the vaccination levels in those places and the arrangements they have in place in each of those states and territories."

Accordingly, if you wanted to hop on a flight out of NSW to an overseas destination from the beginning of November onwards, you can — and, if you're then returning to NSW and you're double-jabbed, you won't need to quarantine (not in a hotel, and not at home either).

In response to the news, airlines have started bringing forward their international flight dates, so you really can start booking. Qantas has brought forward its London and Los Angeles routes from Sydney (the former now going via Darwin) to November 1, after initially intending to take to the skies again mid-November, and is also looking at possibly bringing forward the restart dates for flights to Singapore, Fiji, Vancouver and other destinations from mid-December.

At this early stage, the international border will open for double-jabbed Aussies heading outwards and coming back — and permanent residents and citizens and their families, as the PM noted — but not for international travellers and international students. Plus, for those who aren't double-dose vaxxed, hotel quarantine will remain compulsory upon entering Australia, and caps upon arrival numbers will still apply. In NSW, mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine will remain in place, and only 210 overseas arrivals who aren't double-jabbed will be permitted each week.

Arrangements in states and territories other than NSW, including the quarantine requirements upon return for double-vaccinated folks and the caps on arrivals from November 1, haven't yet been confirmed by the respective state and territory leaders.

Also, exactly where Aussies can travel to out of NSW from November 1 obviously depends on border rules and requirements in other countries. The trans-Tasman travel bubble with New Zealand is presently on hold until at least mid-November, for instance, while Fiji will reopen to Aussies from Thursday, November 11.

For further information about Australia's plan to restart international travel, head to the Prime Minister's website. More details about the National Plan to transition Australia's National COVID Response can be found on the same site. And, details of the New South Wales Government's current plans can be found on its website.

Also, to find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia in general, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Published on October 16, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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