Information and advice about coronavirus for overseas travellers
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International travel

Who can enter Australia from overseas?

You cannot enter Australia unless you are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • a New Zealand citizen usually residing in Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

If you are currently overseas, in one of these categories and wish to return to Australia, you should do so as soon as possible.

For the most up-to-date information on travel restrictions, see the Smart Traveller website

I'm planning an overseas trip. Should I cancel?

Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents are restricted from travelling overseas at the moment.

For the most up-to-date travel advice go to the Smart Traveller website

What arrangements apply to cruise ships?

All international cruise ships have been banned from sailing into or out of Australian ports.

All international cruise ships are banned from sailing into or out of Australian ports. For further information refer to Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for travellers on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

If I can’t find a flight back to Australia, who should I speak to?

For information on returning to Australia, see the Smart Traveller website.

If you’re trying to get home, and can still book commercial flights, do so as soon as possible.

If you can't leave or prefer to stay where you are, make plans to remain for an extended period.  Ensure you have a safe place to stay, follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you're safe. 

Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up to date local advice and support throughout this difficult period.

Do I need to wear a mask at the airport?

If you are travelling within Australia face masks are currently not recommended for the prevention of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you are feeling unwell you should not be travelling.

What if I’m from overseas and I’m not eligible for Medicare?

Overseas travellers who fall ill in Australia (and are not eligible for Medicare) often have health or travel insurance. 

For those who do not have adequate insurance coverage, Victorian hospitals will waive the costs of treatment. This includes waiving payment and debt recovery procedures for ambulance transfers of people in mandatory hotel quarantine suspected to have coronavirus (COVID-19), who are taken to Victorian hospitals for assessment. 

These arrangements have been put in place to ensure payment issues are not a barrier for people from overseas with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms seeking early medical advice. 

Mandatory hotel quarantine for international arrivals

Does everyone arriving from overseas have to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive in Australia?

Yes. All international passengers arriving into Victorian airports or disembarking at maritime ports must go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the day of their arrival at a state designated facility in Melbourne. No domestic onward travel is allowed until the 14 days of mandatory quarantine has ended.

The restriction also applies to passengers arriving on chartered flights, private aircraft and passengers disembarking in maritime ports from private or commercial vessels.

This is to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our state.

Incoming international passengers will be transported to designated accommodation where they must undertake a strict 14-day quarantine period. The costs of accommodation and essentials will be met by the Victorian Government.

Why do I have to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Victoria from overseas?

International arrivals present an increased risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. During the current public health emergency, it has been identified that there is an unacceptable level of risk of spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to the community when people arriving into the country are then permitted to continue their travel by air, sea or road, or go home. This is the reason that people are required to undertake mandatory quarantine at the point of arrival into Australia.

I have already been in quarantine while overseas. Do I still have to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine when I arrive in Australia?

Yes, all incoming passengers must undertake mandatory quarantine for 14 days as soon as they arrive in Australia

Are unaccompanied minors exempt from quarantine?

No. However, for the safety and wellbeing of the small number of minors who may need to fly at the current time, if the child arrives in Melbourne but their home is in another state, they may be allowed to board a connecting flight to their home state if the flight is within 8 hours of arrival. If a connecting flight departs at a later time, the minor will be placed in mandatory quarantine until the time of their flight.

The minor will be required to meet any quarantine requirements of the state of final destination.

If the unaccompanied minor’s home state is Victoria, a parent or guardian will be required to accompany the child in quarantine for the 14-day period.

The department must be alerted in advance of the arrival of an unaccompanied minor in order to make appropriate arrangements.

What if Victoria is my home?

All incoming travellers must go into compulsory hotel quarantine. Even if you live at a location within a convenient travel time of the Victorian airport at which you arrived, you must enter hotel quarantine to safeguard the community.

What if I am just transiting through Victoria for an international flight?

If you are an international transit passenger arriving into Victoria, you are able to depart on another international flight if the following conditions are met:

  • If you have up to 8 hours until the departing international flight, subject to not displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). You must remain at the airport between flights. You do not require any approval or documentation to facilitate this. While at the airport you must keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practice good hygiene including regular hand washing.
  • If you have a wait of greater than 8 hours before the departing flight, you must go into mandatory quarantine at designated accommodation in Melbourne until the time of the departing flight, subject to you not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19. A transit letter will be provided to you on the day of your departure from Melbourne.

What if I am just transiting through Victoria to another part of Australia?

You are required to complete the 14-day hotel quarantine in the location in which you arrive in Australia. When you have completed quarantine, you may continue your journey within Australia.

States and territories have individual quarantine arrangements in place, and some may require a second 14-day quarantine period for travellers coming from Victoria. For the latest information visit: State and territory border closures due to COVID-19 on the Australian Interstate Quarantine website. 

What if I work in an essential occupation or profession?

All arriving passengers on all incoming flights or ships must undertake compulsory hotel quarantine.

Airline, medevac and air ambulance crew

Airline, medevac and air ambulance crew support the vital air bridge between Australia and the rest of the world and ensure supply of critical services during this difficult time. Airline, medevac and air ambulance crew, including off-shift crew who are travelling as passengers on an aircraft to reposition at another location are exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements in Australia.

Airline crew who have been on international flights must self-isolate in their crew accommodation or home for 14 days after arrival, or until their next flight, whichever is shorter

Essential flight-related duties from a regulatory or safety perspective may be undertaken during this time (e.g. flight simulation training, safety and security training).

Medevac and air ambulance crew may request an exemption from self-isolation requirements to return to duties beyond the essential flight-related duties already exempt. A request for exemption must be made to the relevant state or territory and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

All air crew are advised to take particular care on lay overs, to use dedicated private transport and to avoid crowded public spaces. Airline crew should monitor for symptoms and not fly if they are ill.

Further information for the airline industry, including flight crews is available from Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice on managing the health risks from COVID-19 on international flights on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Maritime crew (excluding cruise ships)

Due to the large number of international arrivals into Victoria, the state exercises additional controls to the national maritime policy. Controls are primarily dependent on:

  • the destination of the vessel
  • if the vessel has arrived from an international port
  • the period of time a vessel is expected to be docked at a Victorian port
  • any mandatory quarantine arrangements crew have already been subject to.

If maritime crew are transiting interstate, crew must go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days from arrival before being allowed to travel interstate.

I am a foreign diplomat flying into Australia. Do I need to undertake mandatory 14-day quarantine at my first point of arrival into Australia?

Consistent with the Vienna Convention, foreign diplomats will not be issued detention notices in Victoria. They will be required to travel directly to their usual place of residence to self-isolate for 14 days.  If the place of residence is in another state or territory, they may travel by private vehicle to that address. If they are not able to travel immediately, they are requested to stay in a state quarantine hotel until they are ready to travel. Foreign diplomats should seek exemption by completing the Request to undertake mandatory quarantine at an alternate location due to exceptional circumstances form.

Australian diplomats are required to go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the day of their arrival at a state quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

Can I apply to undertaken mandatory quarantine for 14 days in a location other than an authorised hotel?

In limited circumstances, approval may be sought to undertake 14 days mandatory quarantine at an alternative location in Victoria, or in another state or territory.

While each request is considered on its own merits; requests are generally not granted and will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Consideration will be given to a request on the basis of significant medical conditions. Supporting proof, such as a report from a medical practitioner, is required before a request can be made.

In limited circumstances, approval may be provided to undertake mandatory quarantine for 14 days in another state or territory under compassionate grounds where a family member is at the end of their life or attending a funeral of a close family member.

Requests must be made through the Request to undertake mandatory quarantine at an alternate location due to exceptional circumstances form with supporting documented proof.

In assessing your request, consideration will be given to the public health risk; whether you are showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19); whether you are released into an environment where a highly vulnerable person may be a close contact; and where relevant, approval by the receiving jurisdiction has been provided.

Can I visit a terminally ill family member or attend a funeral whilst undertaking 14 days of mandatory quarantine in Victoria?

In limited circumstances, permission for temporary leave from hotel quarantine may be granted by an Authorised Officer to visit a loved one who is at end of life or attend a funeral. Proof of your circumstances such as a medical report or death certificate is required to support this request. Your request is managed by an Authorised Officer at the quarantine hotel.

In assessing your request, consideration will be given to the public health risk whether you are showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), and if visiting a facility, approval by the receiving facility (that is, health care facility).

Can I leave the accommodation facility at all?

No, you must remain in strict quarantine for the entire 14-day period, unless there is an emergency situation, or you have been granted permission for temporary leave by an Authorised Officer at the hotel because:

  • you need to attend a medical facility to receive medical care
  • it is reasonably necessary for your physical and mental health
  • there are compassionate grounds including end of life visits to a family member in Victoria.

Dependent on the type of hotel you are staying, you may request permission for outside breaks for short periods of times during the 14 day period. This is managed on site.  

Can I have visitors when I am in hotel quarantine?

No. You must not meet with anyone else during your quarantine, unless that person is also in quarantine in the same room over the same period. You will be able to use your mobile phone, laptop, tablet or other device as your normally would.

Do I have to go into hotel quarantine if I have a disability?

Yes. If you have special requirements, speak to the government officials at the airport. If you are travelling with a carer, or being met by a carer, that person must accompany you into quarantine and remain there with you under the same conditions for the 14-day period.

Can I book a flight out of Australia if I don’t wish to stay in 14-day quarantine?

All incoming travellers must go into hotel quarantine for a period of 14 days here in Victoria. You may be allowed to leave prior to completing the 14-day quarantine period to travel to another country if you are not showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

What if I am travelling as part of a group?

The entire group you are travelling with must submit to compulsory quarantine. Your travelling group will be accommodated appropriately.

Is it safe for me to be in a hotel with others from overseas?

Yes, measures are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) between people at hotels.

What if I’m travelling domestically?

For information on travelling within Victoria or Australia view the Travel restrictions page.

What are the penalties for not complying with the quarantine requirement?

A person who fails to comply with this direction will be liable for fines of up to approximately $20,000, or up to approximately $100,000 in the case of companies and other bodies corporate.