Important COVID-19: travel is different
To understand the risks in a country, including the latest COVID restrictions (including for entry), follow FCDO Travel Advice.
To prevent new COVID variants from entering the UK, you should not travel to red list countries.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Australia set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry and departure rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to Australia
Entry to Australia is currently closed to most arrivals.
Travellers who have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more can travel by air to Australia and will not require an exemption. More information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.
To enter Australia you must hold a valid visa. See Visas during COVID-19 below for more information.
Australian citizens and returning permanent residents and their immediate family members are permitted to enter Australia without an exemption.
- Travellers who meet exemption criteria or have a compassionate or compelling reason to enter Australia can apply to the Australian authorities for an exemption,
- For information on the exemption categories, application form and documentation needed, see the Department of Home Affairs website,
- The Department of Home Affairs is experiencing high levels of demand for exemptions and there is no guarantee of either the timing of a decision or the outcome. You should make your application at least four weeks but not more than three months in advance of travel and provide full supporting documentation.
A negative COVID-19 test result is required for travelling to or transiting through Australia. Unless you are travelling on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand, evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours or less before your scheduled departure must be provided to your airline.
Border rules including eligibility criteria can change quickly. Travellers should prepare for disruptions to their plans.
Please check the Australian Governments COVID-19 website for the latest information including changes to quarantine-free travel.
All international travellers entering Australia need to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility (for example a hotel) at their port of arrival. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. This is arranged by individual State and Territory governments.
Travellers who have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more can travel by air to Australia without having to undertake mandatory quarantine. More information is available on the Australian Governments COVID-19 website .
Testing/Screening on arrival
All travellers arriving in Australia may need to undergo enhanced health screening on arrival before going into quarantine. This can include temperature testing. You may also be asked to undergo screening or testing in quarantine.
The Australian authorities provide an ‘Information for international travellers fact sheet’ to all travellers on arrival in Australia. This provides information on current requirements
For advice and measures at individual airports, see their websites.
The Department of Home Affairs website sets out information on transiting Australia, including on transit visas. There are currently restrictions on transits due to coronavirus.
You’re able to transit through Australia if transiting for 72 hours or less and you have evidence of onward international travel. If you intend to spend longer than 72 hours in Australia waiting for your connecting flight, you’re not considered to be transiting, and will need to request an exemption from the Australian Border Force Commissioner.
Due to COVID-19 related border restrictions, you can usually only travel to Australia to transit to another country if your connecting flight leaves from the same airport.
State quarantine requirements remain in place, and airport operating hours vary. This may limit how long you can stay in the airport, and whether you need to apply for exemption from Australia’s 14-day quarantine arrangements issued by the relevant State health authority. You should check with your airline, as well as on State and Territory websites for the latest details and how to apply.
All airports should allow passengers to remain in the airport if your transit is less than 8 hours and on the same day. You must remain airside and you will not be able to pass customs (even to collect your baggage). You will need to maintain social distancing, cough etiquette and hand hygiene. At your first point of departure, you will need to have checked your baggage through to your final destination.
If you have to leave the airport you will be taken on arrival in Australia to a designated quarantine facility by Australian authorities. You will need to remain there until proceeding to the airport for your departing flight. You may need to pay for quarantine - you should check State and Territory websites for details on quarantine.
British nationals are able to transit through Australia for a maximum of 8 hours without a visa. If your transit time is longer than 8 hours you will need a valid visa. See the Department of Home Affairs website for details including how to apply.
If you plan to travel or transit on from Australia, check the latest entry restrictions for your destination and keep in touch with your airline, cruise line or tour operator before you travel.
Visas during COVID-19
Latest COVID-19 guidance on visa conditions and details how to apply for a visa is available on the Department of Home Affairs website. The guidance is clear that any visa application will be assessed considering the COVID-19 enhanced border measures and the applicant’s individual circumstances. Applications for new visas should be made before a current visa expires, and if a current visa holder has a “no further stay” condition, a request to waive this condition must be made.
If you’re unable to leave Australia and your visa is nearing expiry or has expired already, you should contact the Australian Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible. Australia does not issue visa extensions so you will need to apply for a new one to remain lawful in Australia, and provide relevant supporting documentation. The type of visa you can apply for to remain in Australia usually depends on the type of visa you currently hold. For example, those on Visitor visas would be expected to apply for new Visitor visas.
You can find more detail for temporary visa holders, including visitors, students and working holiday makers on the Department of Home Affairs webpage.
You should check the Department of Home Affairs website for information on leaving Australia, including whether you need an exemption.
The Australian authorities continue to advise international visitors to leave Australia where possible due to the COVID-19 situation.
Temporary visa holders do not need an exemption to leave the country, but will need an exemption if they want to re-enter – see the Department of Home Affairs ‘Coming to Australia’ web pages for more information.
Dual Australian/British nationals and permanent residents in Australia are not generally permitted to leave Australia unless they qualify for an exemption. If you meet an exemption category or have a have a compelling or compassionate reason to travel overseas, you need to apply for an exemption in advance from the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force. You should do this as early as possible - at least 48 hours before your intended departure time.
Details on categories for exemptions, the exemption application form, and the evidence you must provide to support your exemption application, can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.
If you’re a British/Australian dual national or permanent resident who is ordinarily resident in a country outside Australia and have spent more time in the last 12 to 24 months outside Australia than within it, you do not need an exemption to leave Australia. You should be ready to show evidence that you normally reside outside Australia if requested by authorities on departure at the airport.
If you have not spent more time outside Australia than within it for the last 12 to 24 months, but still consider yourself to be ordinarily resident in another country, you can submit a request for a travel exemption.
Regular entry requirements
Subject to current restrictions, British citizens can usually get the following types of electronic visitor visa:
- eVisitor visa direct from the Department of Immigration & Border Protection. There is no visa application charge or service fee for this
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) via your travel agent or airline. There is no visa application charge, but a service fee of A$20 applies
If you hold an ePassport you can use SmartGate to pass through passport control when arriving in Australia. See the Australian Border Force website for more information.
Working holiday visa
If you’re on a working holiday visa you should be aware of your rights as employees in Australia and how to report any concerns about unfair or unlawful treatment.
Thousands of British working holiday makers travel to Australia each year with the vast majority enjoying their stay without issue. Working conditions, accommodation and medical facilities are generally of a good standard.
In October 2016 the Fair Work Ombudsman published a report following an inquiry into the wages and conditions of people working under the working holiday visa program, which highlighted exploitative workplace cultures where unreasonable and unlawful requirements were being imposed in some isolated and remote workplaces. If you have concerns about your workplace conditions or treatment you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94. You can also report concerns to them anonymously.
If you feel you’re being treated unfairly or unlawfully by an employer, you can email the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) at the British High Commission in Canberra at: Australia.WHVreferrals@fcdo.gov.uk. The NCA is working with a number of Australian authorities to help identify and address any illegal employer behaviour affecting British nationals.
For entry into Australia, your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is needed.
If you’re transiting another country on your way to or from Australia, make sure you check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only permit entry if you have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are valid for entry into, transit through, and exit from Australia.
If you’re a British national living in Australia with Australian citizenship, or you’re a dual national, you should leave and enter Australia on your Australian passport, otherwise you may face difficulties and delays. For more information, see the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s website. Please see the Coronavirus page for more information on current restrictions on dual nationals leaving Australia.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.