Sydney & NSW scrap on-arrival COVID-19 testing

International arrivals to NSW no longer require on-arrival testing from 21 June, marking a return to pre-COVID travel conditions.

NSW has become the latest Australian state to scrap on-arrival COVID-19 testing for international arrivals, effective Tuesday, 21 June 2022. Travellers are advised to monitor their health after arrival, and get tested for COVID-19 if symptoms develop.

Australia previously scrapped all pre-departure testing for fully vaccinated international arrivals on 18 April, and individual states have also been easing their on-arrival testing requirements. This latest development leaves Queensland and South Australia as the only two states which still require an on-arrival test.

NSW scraps on-arrival testing

No more on-arrival testing for travellers to Sydney

Previously, international arrivals to Sydney and NSW were required to take a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours of arrival, and isolate until a negative result had been received. That said, you could perform the test at the airport immediately upon landing with a self-administered RAT kit, so the inconvenience posed was not great.

From 21 June 2022, mandatory on-arrival testing has been ended. 

From 21 June 2022 it is no longer mandatory for international travellers to follow certain rules including taking a COVID-19 test upon arrival in NSW. 

-NSW government

With the latest changes, here’s the updated requirements for travelling to Sydney. 

🇦🇺 Travel to Sydney
  • Be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine
    • Children aged under 12 years are exempt
    • Children aged 12-17 years are exempt when travelling to Australia with a parent/guardian who is considered fully vaccinated
  • Apply for an ETA (assuming you come from a visa waiver country)
  • Complete the Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours prior to departure

On-arrival testing for other states

On-arrival testing still awaits travellers to Adelaide

With NSW’s scrapping of on-arrival testing, only Queensland and South Australia still retain the requirement.

🇦🇺 Summary: Australia Testing Requirements
State/ TerritoryPre-departureOn-arrival
Australian Capital TerritoryNot requiredNone
New South WalesNone
Northern TerritoryNone
QueenslandART (24h)
South AustraliaART (“on arrival”)
TasmaniaNone
VictoriaNone
Western AustraliaNone

The good news for travellers to Brisbane and Adelaide is that the requirement can be satisfied with a simple self-administered RAT, keeping isolation time to a minimum (if at all).

RAT kits in Australia are overseen by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA has a list of approved home test kits, as well as a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions for each test.

The following kits sold in Singapore pharmacies are approved in Australia: 

  • Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test
  • Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
  • Hangzhou Alltest SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
  • SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Self Test Nasal

With regards to SD Biosensor, note that it’s the white kit with blue text that’s approved for use in Australia, not the white kit with pink text (Standard Q).

Conclusion

When Victoria eliminated on-arrival testing back on 23 April, the assumption was that NSW wouldn’t be far behind, given how the two states have often changed COVID restrictions in tandem.

It’s surprisingly taken almost two months, but finally travellers to Sydney can enjoy pre-COVID conditions once more. The inconvenience was always minimal, but nonetheless it’s another step on the road to normality.

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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Dxx

It’s not like anyone checked if you did the RAT within 24 hours of arrival into Sydney. This requirement was pretty pointless as most people I spoke to who had visited Sydney in the past two months didn’t even bother with the post-arrival test… which might also explain why I caught COVID after a week in Sydney…

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