Australia eases vaccine declaration rules for travellers

International travellers arriving to Australia will no longer have to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status from this week, under the easing of rules by the new Albanese government.

The rule will come into effect from 6 July and the decision to amend the Biosecurity Act 2015 is based on advice from Commonwealth chief medical officer Paul Kelly.

“The Australian Government makes decisions on COVID related issues after considering the latest medical advice,” Mark Butler, the minister for health and aged care, said.

“The Chief Medical Officer has advised it is no longer necessary for travellers to declare their vaccine status as part of our management of COVID.”

The update to the rule means that unvaccinated people will not require exemptions to enter Australia.

“Unvaccinated Australians, as well as certain groups of visa holders, have been able to travel to Australia for some time,” Butler said.

Travellers must still comply with any remaining COVID-19 requirements of airlines and shipping operators, as well as other countries and states and territories.

This currently includes wearing masks on inbound international flights. State and territory orders mandating masks on domestic flights also remain in place.

“We will continue to act on the medical advice as needed,” Butler said.

The change also means that overseas arrivals will no longer have to complete a digital passenger declaration (DPD) form.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil told the Australian Financial Review that the easing of vaccination reporting requirements meant the declaration form was no longer necessary.

“This is great news for families coming home from school holidays who now don’t need to use the DPD,” O’Neil said.

“As more and more of us travel internationally, and we get more confident in managing our risk of COVID, our airports are getting busier.

“Removing these requirements will not only reduce delays in our airports but will encourage more visitors and skilled workers to choose Australia as a destination.

“I know anyone who has travelled internationally since the borders have opened will find this as one less thing to worry about – especially as more Australians get back to travelling overseas.”