A checklist for travel between Australia and China

19 November 2021:  On 1 October 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia will reopen its international border from November, giving long-awaited freedoms to vaccinated citizens and their relatives.

AustCham China presents a user-friendly checklist for travel between Australia and China for citizens and permanent resident holders.

STEP 1: How to return home

If you’re trying to return to Australia, we encourage you to:

  • Continue to contact your airline or travel agent for available flights. (Note: QANTAS is yet to announce the resumption of flight routes to and from Australia and China) Read more
  • Familarise yourself with COVID-19: Trying to get home


STEP 2: What do i need to do to return home

Fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 12 years and over can now travel to and from Australia. Read more {Note: Sinovac Coronavac and Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (for ages 18-60 only) is recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)}

Guidance on foreign vaccination certificates. Read more

Each state and territory manage their own borders, international passenger arrival caps and quarantine programs. Before you return to Australia, read about the COVID-19 restrictions in place for the state or territory you’ll be flying in to. Read more


STEP 3: Complete the Australia Travel Declaration

If you’re planning to use a foreign vaccination certificate to prove your vaccination status, you’ll need to complete the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours prior to departure for Australia.


STEP 4: Pre-departure COVID-19 Testing

  • Show evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or RT-PCR test within 3 days of checking in for your flight from China to Australia
  • You don’t need to be re-tested at transit points unless your airline or transit point requires it.


STEP 5: Back on Terra Firma

Congratulations! You are back in Australia and ready to enter society, depending on which State you land in of course. In States that do not require quarantine, typically, a negative PCR test is required within 24 hours of arriving and again several days later. Make sure to check the details based on the State that you will arrive in to.  


You might wish to download a COVID app that helps identify people exposed to COVID-19.  The Australian Government COVIDSafe app is an option, but seemingly this appears to have been replaced by QR code check-ins.  Similar to China’s “Health Kit” (Jiankangbao), the QR code scan system works well.  They are a reliable way to track where you have been, you’re constantly reminded to use it and you get notifications if you visited an exposure site.

From the list below, click on the location to download the App that supports QR scanning for the respective location you require to use it in;


New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia


Returning from Australia to the PRC

So, you have enjoyed your stay in Australia and now wish to return to the PRC.  The following assumes you are in possession of a valid PRC visa.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), Cathay Pacific, Air Nuigini, and Philippine Airlines offer flights from Australia to either the PRC or Hong Kong via their respective hubs. SIA has launched a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) services to Singapore from Australia (among other countries), allowing quarantine-free travel to Singapore for eligible vaccinated travellers. 

If you’re fully vaccinated, from November 1 2021 you’ll be able to travel overseas without an exemption. You’ll need to provide evidence of your vaccination status when you check-in at the airport.  Read more 

Based on the premise of having been fully innoculated by a Chinese vaccine, present the foreign vaccine certificates (as mentioned in step 2) at the check-in counter.  If you have been innoculated in Australia then you must present a Australian-issued International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) 

Show evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or RT-PCR test(s) within 3 days of checking in for your flight.

It is impossible to fly into Beijing as a final destination and as the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics approaches prevention and control measures are becoming more strict.  As of the date of writing, those from overseas shall undergo “14 days of centralized quarantine + 7 days of home quarantine + 7 days of self-health monitoring”. They are obliged to take a PCR test in hospital on the 23rd and 28th days from entering China upon presenting their certificate of quarantine completion.



Getting help during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Help adding overseas vaccinations – Services Australia

Australian Immunisation Register – Overseas immunisations – Services Australia

Getting help during coronavirus (COVID-19) – How to get proof – Services Australia

*Disclaimer: AustCham China has employed best endeavours with relation to compiling a helpful travel guide between Australia and China, but makes no guarantee as to its authenticity.  The aforementioned information is subject to change.