Australian Vaccine Passport Update

The Australian Federal Government is hoping to introduce international vaccine passports from October 2021 to prepare for the reopening of Australia’s borders.

There is still no set date for when Australia’s external borders will reopen, as its internal borders remain closed, but the country continues to progress along the four-stage National COVID Response plan.

The vaccine passports will allow Australians to prove their vaccination status internationally when overseas travel restarts. Most countries are willing to accept both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines as suitable vaccinations.

The vaccine passport will be located in a phone app and will contain the same information as your regular passport with an additional QR code that other countries’ border officials can scan to check your vaccination status.

When will Australia’s international borders reopen?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that overseas travel might resume when 80 per cent of Australia’s population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, around 39 per cent of the population over 16 has been fully vaccinated.

Will I still have to quarantine when Australia’s international borders reopen?

People arriving in Australia from overseas will still be required to complete a 14-day quarantine once Australian borders open.

While most international arrivals are currently quarantined in hotels, Australian states and territories are looking to quarantine returning Australians in their own homes.

Where can I quarantine?

A home quarantine system is currently being trialled in South Australia for South Australian residents arriving from New South Wales and Victoria. 

An important feature of the trial is that people quarantining at home must download a South Australian Government-developed app, which uses geolocation and facial recognition software. The app contacts people at random and asks them to provide proof of their location within 15 minutes. If a person cannot successfully verify their location or identity, police are notified and conduct an in-person check. 

If South Australia’s trial is successful, other Australian states and territories may adopt similar home quarantine systems for interstate and international arrivals. 

Will vaccine passports be used inside Australia?

The use of vaccine passports to enter public spaces in Australia is also being considered.

New South Wales is already requiring proof of vaccination for new freedoms in outdoor recreational activities in the areas currently experiencing lockdown. The state is also planning to integrate proof of COVID-19 vaccination into its Service NSW app, which is already being used for QR code check-ins.