Australia is towards the top of many Americans’ bucket lists. And as travel slowly but surely picks back up, many people are wondering when Australia will reopen to U.S. citizens.
Given the significant cost and effort required to travel to Australia (the minimum flight time from the US mainland is 15 hours one-way) it’s important to be able to plan a trip with some level of certainty.
After swiftly closing its borders to foreign travelers in mid-March 2020, Australia is coming up on two years of being closed to visitors from other countries. So when is it expected to reopen?
Is Australia Open To US Citizens?
As of mid-January 2022, Australia is not open to US citizens or permanent residents. That includes travel for leisure, business and study.
For the most part, the only travelers currently allowed to enter Australia are fully-vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents. There are also exemptions for relatives of Australian citizens and permanent residents, as well as skilled workers and some foreign students. Travelers on designated flights from select countries in Australia’s “travel bubble” including New Zealand, Japan and South Korea are also able to enter Australia.
When Will Australia Reopen To Foreign Travelers?
With the continuing volatility of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the Omicron variant, it is hard to say with certainty.
In May 2021, the Australian Government indicated that the country would not reopen to foreign visitors until the second half of 2022. This announcement was before most of the country’s population was vaccinated.
In the second half of 2021, vaccination rates in Australia—which had trailed the U.S. and much of Europe—skyrocketed and, as such, there was talk of the country’s borders reopening by the end of 2021. However, with the arrival of the Omicron variant just before Christmas, these plans were put on hold.
Given rapidly increasing COVID rates in Australia, it is unlikely that Australia’s borders will open to foreign visitors before the middle of 2022.
What Can I Do To Prepare For My Trip To Australia In 2022 or 2023?
Travelers are rightly keen to travel Down Under, especially given the country has been closed for the best part of two years now. Here are some tips for planning a trip to Australia in 2022 or 2023:
- Plan to visit from July 2022 onwards, preferably later
- Book refundable/changeable flights, accommodation and car rentals
- Be prepared that border reopening dates may be pushed back multiple times
- Keep up-to-date with the Australian Government’s latest rules on travel during COVID-19
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