Australia scraps pre-departure COVID testing from 18 April

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Australia will end its pre-departure COVID testing requirement from 18 April, bringing travel ever closer back to normal.

⚠️ Update: While initial media reports pegged the changes to take place from 17 April, it’s now been clarified that 18 April is the implementation date. 

Australia has announced its plans to scrap pre-departure COVID-19 testing from 18 April 2022 onwards for all arrivals, whether Australians or foreign nationals. 

“Given that the vaccination requirements remain and the masking requirements, the medical advice is that [the test] would no longer be required”

-Health Minister Greg Hunt

It’s important to remember that pre-departure test requirements are dictated by the Federal government, while State governments decide on-arrival tests. There’s no indication this will change yet, but even if it doesn’t, all states (except South Australia) allow the use of self-administered ARTs for on-arrival testing.

With Singapore also moving to eliminate on-arrival tests from 1 April 2022 under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF), round-trip travellers from Singapore to Australia could soon be looking at just two COVID tests in total.

Australia to scrap pre-departure testing from 18 April

No more pre-departure tests are required for travel to Australia from 18 April

Currently, international travellers to Australia must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, which can either be:

  • A PCR test within 3 days of departure
  • A professionally-administered ART within 24 hours of departure

Children under the age of five are exempt from the pre-departure testing requirement to Australia. 

For avoidance of doubt, remotely-supervised tele-ARTs offered by providers like DoctorAnywhere and Raffles Connect are acceptable as pre-departure tests.

The timing refers to the scheduled departure of your flight to Australia, or first flight if you have one or more connecting flights booked for your travel to Australia.

If you’re going for the PCR route (why though?), do note that three days is not the same as 72 hours. For example, if my flight to Australia is departing at 10 p.m on 20 March 2022, I can take the test anytime from 12.01 a.m on 17 March 2022. This means that “three days” can be up to 95 hours 59 minutes, in certain situations. 

From 18 April 2022, pre-departure testing will be scrapped. Travellers will simply need to:

On-arrival testing may still apply

On-arrival testing is still enforced by some Australian states, as detailed below.

🇦🇺 Summary: Australia Testing Requirements
State/ TerritoryOn-arrival
Australian Capital TerritoryART (24h)
New South WalesART (24h)
Northern TerritoryNone
QueenslandART (24h)
South AustraliaPCR (24h)
TasmaniaNone
VictoriaART (24h)
Western AustraliaART (12h)

There’s no word yet as to whether these will be maintained after the federal government lifts the pre-departure test requirement, but even if not, they’re unlikely to be major inconveniences to your trip. Only South Australia requires a PCR test to be done; the other states either do not have on-arrival test requirements, or permit the use of self-administered ARTs. 

In all cases except South Australia, self-isolation is required until a negative result is received (which should take all of 15 minutes upon landing). For South Australia, self-isolation is only required until the PCR test is taken

Singapore – Australia travel: Total testing costs

⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Australia Travel
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore3 days (PCR) or 24h (ART) before departure
-Scrapped from 18 April-
From S$17.84
🇦🇺 AustraliaOn arrival (ART/PCR, depends on state)~S$5 or free
🇦🇺 Australia2 days before departure (ART/PCR)From S$17.84
🇸🇬 SingaporeWithin 24h of arrival (ART)
-Scrapped from 1 April-
~S$5*
*Children aged 2 and under exempt

Travellers from Singapore to Australia currently do four COVID-19 tests, but this will be cut to three from 1 April when Singapore scraps on-arrival testing under the VTF, and two from 18 April when Australia scraps pre-departure testing.

When returning to Singapore, travellers can opt to do an overseas remotely-supervised tele-ART with a telemedicine provider based in Singapore. A list of providers can be found below. 

Cheapest overseas tele-ARTs for pre-departure testing to Singapore

This means that total testing costs on this route will be just over S$20 by mid-April, almost negligible compared to before. Remember: Singapore is also contemplating scrapping pre-departure testing in the next 2-4 weeks, which means we could soon be down to just a single test!

Travellers who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days may be exempt from pre-departure testing when traveling to Singapore, subject to presenting documentary proof.

For the cheapest pre-departure testing options in Singapore, refer to this post. 

Travel from Australia to Singapore

Singapore will be reopening to all vaccinated travellers from 1 April 2022

From now till 31 March 2022, travellers from Australia to Singapore must take designated VTL flights to avoid a quarantine on arrival, as per the rules below.

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
(Until 31 Mar 2022)
All
  • 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries and/or EEA countries (from 16 Mar)
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take self-administered ART within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until negative result received*
Short-term visitors & Work permit holders
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller

From 1 April 2022, travellers may take any flight to Singapore, as per the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF) rules below. 

✔️ Vaccinated Travel Framework
(From 1 April 2022)
Fully Vax.
& Unvax. Children ≤12
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses (short-term visitors only)
Unvax.
  • Most unvaccinated travellers will be barred from entry from 1 April 2022, with limited exceptions
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Apply for entry approval (short-term visitor or LTP holder aged 18 and above)
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses (short-term visitors only)
  • 7-day SHN at home or hotel
  • Take PCR test at the end of 7-day SHN*
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt

For the full details of travel under the VTF, refer to the article below.

Goodbye VTLs, hello VTF: Singapore reopens borders to all fully vaccinated travellers

Conclusion

Australia is scrapping pre-departure testing from 18 April 2022, removing yet another barrier to travel and inching us closer to pre-COVID conditions. 

With Singapore also allowing remotely-supervised tele-ARTs for travellers departing from Australia, you could soon go through your entire Australia trip without ever seeing the inside of a clinic!

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Novi

Thank you! So excited to hear this news announced today! Just to make sure, is this including arrival into Aust on 17/04? Or only 18/4 and onwards?
Can airlines still demand pre-departure test regardless of country’s entry requirement though?

Novi

I just had a look at Health.gov.au and by the looks of it, the rule will only come into effect on 18/04. Darn it, should have looked before i booked JQ to come back to Oz on 17/4 😅 now gotta change

Eric

Australia is good. They trust science and logic

Joe

Hi Aaron! Thank you for providing the definitive information about the SG->AUS pre-departure tests. Could you help me understand where you found the source that says tele-pre-departure-tests are accepted by Australia? I can’t seem to find it

Ali

Just a quick question. Are travellers entering WA after 18 April still require to complete the G2g pass

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