Australian borders reopen 1 December to the fully vaccinated, no travel exemption required 


This is a good news story…An announcement was made today that Australian borders will reopen on 1 December 2021 to allow travel to Australia for those who are fully vaccinated, without the requirement to apply for and be granted a travel exemption.

Other requirements for Australian Travel declarations and pre-flight COVID testing will continue.

Who will be able to travel to Australia without applying for the travel waiver from 1 December 2021?

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

Note: Additional visa subclasses may be added over time.

This is in addition to the exemptions outlined on: Travel restrictions and exemptions.

You will note that bridging visa and tourist visas are not on this list which means that currently most holders of these visas will not be permitted to enter Australia or return to Australia.

The 1 December changes do not extend to tourists wanting to come to Australia unless they are from Singapore, South Korea, Japan or New Zealand.  For further information on these exemptions please contact your Visa Executive partner.

Travel preparation list

A useful travel preparation list is also available on the website detailing each step required in planning to come to Australia.

Who is classed as fully vaccinated?

For travellers to qualify as fully vaccinated, their certificates must show vaccines approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Current approved and recognised vaccines and dosages are:

  • Two doses at least 14 days apart of:
    • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
    • AstraZeneca COVISHIELD
    • Pfizer/Biontech Comirnaty
    • Moderna Spikevax
    • Sinovac Coronavac
    • Bharat Covaxin
    • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for ages 18-60 only)
  • Or one dose of:
    • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.

Seven days must have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation. Mixed doses count towards being fully vaccinated as long as all vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA. Doses of Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV only count towards being fully vaccinated if administered when the traveller was aged from 18 to 60 years.

Travellers who have not been vaccinated with the above doses or schedule do not meet Australia’s definition of fully vaccinated and should not attempt to travel to Australia.

Travellers who cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 because of a medical condition need to provide evidence. They should also check any requirements, particularly quarantine requirements, in the state or territory to which they are travelling.

So will you have to still quarantine?

If the first destination on arrival to Australia is Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra you will not have to quarantine.

If your first destination will be another city then you will still be subject to the specific quarantine requirements for the Australian arrival destination. Each state’s and territory’s quarantine requirements are available at the Australian Government’s website.

So, we are on the move, Australia is starting to reopen and summer holidays are on their way. If you are looking at sending staff to Australia, want to clarify the information in this article, or for any other queries regarding the migration program updates, please contact Amanda Tinner, Principal, Visa Executive.

This article was originally published on

By |2021-11-24T17:28:23+11:00November 24th, 2021|Australian immigration, Immigration|0 Comments

About the Author:

The Employee Mobility Institute is Australia’s peak industry body specifically focused on global workforce management, including talent mobility. Its mission is to advocate, promote, represent and support the growth of the Australian / New Zealand Talent Mobility Industry.

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