Guest post by Amanda Tinner, CEO Visa Executive
From 00:01 AEDT 5 January 2023, travellers entering Australia from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within a 48-hour period prior to the day of their scheduled departure and show evidence of a negative test.
This applies to travellers entering Australia by air from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, either on a direct flight, or on a flight that has a stopover in another country before landing in Australia.
Evidence of a negative COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or any type of Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), which includes Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests taken within a 48-hour period prior to the day of scheduled departure will be accepted.
Please note that this also includes nationalities other than those mentioned above IF the visa holder has been in China, Hong Kong or Macau.
COVID-19 testing requirements
The visa holder must provide evidence of either
- A negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or other Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) test taken within a 48-hour period prior to the day of your scheduled departure, or
- A negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) taken by or under the supervision of an authorised person within a 48-hour period prior to the day of your scheduled departure.
This requirement applies to all travellers entering Australia, irrespective if visiting Australia for leisure or work, or if you are a returning Australian citizen or permanent resident.
If your flight is delayed, the visa holder will still be considered to have met the pre-departure testing requirements. You will not need a new test.
However, if the flight is re-scheduled or cancelled, you will need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or other NAAT test taken no more than 48 hours before the re-scheduled flight or a RAT taken within 48 hours before the rescheduled flight.
You must also meet Australia’s other border entry requirements, including the requirement to hold a valid visa, in addition to providing evidence of your negative COVID-19 test result.
Approved COVID-19 testing evidence
You are responsible for ensuring your compliance with testing requirements before you travel to Australia.
You can find information about the approved evidence you need to provide on the Department of Health and Aged Care website. This includes:
- COVID-19 test requirements, including
- acceptable tests
- the specific evidence required
- what to do if your test result is positive when you tested but have recovered from COVID-19.
When travelling to Australia
You should be prepared to show airline staff evidence of your negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight to Australia.
You will also need to provide this evidence to officials on arrival in Australian when asked.
Exemptions to the COVID-19 testing requirement
All travellers entering Australia by air from China, including Hong Kong and Macau are required to undertake a COVID-19 test within a 48-hour period prior to the day of your scheduled departure to Australia and show evidence of a negative test, unless an exemption applies.
The Department of Health and Aged Care website provides information on exemptions to the testing requirement. These exemptions include:
- airline crew
- children under the age of 12 on the day they are scheduled to depart
- travellers with evidence from a medical practitioner in the last 30 days that they have a medical condition that prevents them from undertaking a COVID-19 test
- travellers carrying evidence from a medical practitioner of a COVID-19 infection in the last 30 days, including confirmation that they are no longer infectious or symptomatic, and the day of the first positive test result (which must be at least 7 days before the date of the medical certificate)
- emergency medical evacuation flights and those accompanying people on these flights
- travellers entering Australia via the sea.
Further information on exemptions to the requirement to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering Australia can be found on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.