Half term is fast approaching, and the good news is that both Australia and Portugal have recently announced changes to their travel entry requirements including the relaxation of some restrictions.
Australia announced it will open its borders to all vaccinated business travellers AND tourists from Monday, February the 21st. This is great news for many as Australia had previously imposed some of the world’s toughest COVID travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 with the country being in almost permanent lockdown since March 2020.
Although border restrictions were relaxed somewhat in November 2021, this was due to an increase in the vaccination rate amongst the Australian population – and so skilled migrants and international students were prioritised over tourists.
According to various reports, Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison and his senior ministers agreed on Monday 7th February that the border would be opened to all vaccinated visa holders from Monday, February the 21st.
However, he also stressed that it was vital that anyone visiting Australia was able to prove that they have been vaccinated, as visitors could find themselves being deported if they were unable to prove it.
Western Australia, which covers a third of the island continent, is keeping its restricted border rules which include:
- a 14 day quarantine period on arrival
- a limit of 265 international arrivals a week
If you are preparing to travel to Australia from overseas you need to follow the steps below:
- Fully vaccinated visa holders do not need a travel exemption after February 21st 2022. However, unvaccinated visa holders will still need a valid travel exemption to be able to enter Australia
- Your vaccination status will impact the quarantine restrictions you will face on arrival – you should check the quarantine and other arrangements for the state or teritory you are travelling to before you book your flight
- Obtain a foreign vaccination certificate
- Complete an Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before your flight
- Undertake a pre-departure COVID-19 test – either PCR or lateral flow
Portugal also recently announced that they are going to axe travel testing requirements for fully vaccinated UK tourists. This will mean that foreign holidaymakers will now be able to enter the country as long as they can prove they are fully vaccinated.
There is no date as yet as to when these new rules will come into force, but the current rules expired on the 9th of February.
If you are not fully vaccinated, then you will need to show proof of a negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours before entry) or a lateral flow test (taken no more than 24 hours before entry) when you check-in for your flight.