Australia and New Zealand began “travel bubble” arrangement on April 18, 2021 to allow quarantine free travel. This move allows healthy residents from Australian and New Zealand to travel between both countries without needing to apply for an exemption or spend time in quarantine. The move is expected to breathe life into the tourism industry of both countries.
Under this arrangement, eligible travellers wishing to visit New Zealand will not need outward exemption to fly to New Zealand. They will have to fill in an online New Zealand Travel Declaration and upon return to Australia, travellers will have to fill in an online Australian Travel Declaration.
Similarly, travellers wishing to visit Australia from New Zealand will have to fill up an online Australian Travel Declaration form. Travellers who aren’t citizens of New Zealand are also allowed to travel Australia without requiring isolation. However, they should have a proper visa. New Zealand citizens do not need to apply for a visa before visiting Australia. If eligible, New Zealand citizens will be granted a Special Category visa (subclass 444) (SCV) on arrival.
To be eligible, a traveller must have spent the previous 14 days in either Australia or New Zealand, should not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, should not have had a positive COVID-19 test in the previous 14 days, and should not be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, with or without a fever. Other immigration, customs and biosecurity rules still apply even with the bubble.
Everyone else arriving into Australia or New Zealand from any other country will have to undergo quarantine or mandatory isolation as directed by the respective government departments and health authorities.
As per the details released by the Department of Home Affairs, Australia, the quarantine free travel does not apply to New Zealand citizens who are outside New Zealand or who have not been in New Zealand for the 14 days immediately before the proposed travel to Australia.
As per the spokesperson of Australian Border Force, travellers transiting through New Zealand to another destination must apply for an outward travel exemption. New Zealand does not prevent Australian citizens leaving New Zealand and travelling onwards overseas as of now.
Most Australian states had allowed quarantine-free visits for travellers from New Zealand since the end of 2020. However, New Zealand had mandated isolation for travellers arriving from its Australia. New Zealand under Prime Minister Jacinda Arden was one of the first countries to become COVI-19 free. As COVID-19 pandemic continues to create havoc around the world, New Zealand has reported just over 2,200 confirmed cases and 26 deaths so far.
“The bubble marks a significant step in New Zealand’s reconnection with the world and it is one that we should all take a moment to be very, very proud of,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
The government officials also cautioned that this arrangement is temporary and can be suspended if the cases of COVID-19 increase.