Queensland is introducing new requirements for interstate and international travellers from this weekend, with everybody who enters QLD – including returning residents – required to complete one of three declarations ahead of their arrival.
The new protocols, as take effect from 1am on Saturday June 19, have hints of a ‘traffic light’ system, but with significantly more complexity.
Green and amber passes will be granted to most interstate and New Zealand arrivals, with red passes used for those arriving from a COVID-19 hotspot, and a separate system handling broader international travellers.
While the Queensland arrangements lack the simplicity of Victoria’s single green/orange/red border pass requirements, here’s who needs to apply for each pass:
- Queensland Border Declaration Pass – must be completed by anybody who has visited a current COVID-19 hotspot, as well as anybody who has travelled to a state, territory or ‘safe travel zone’ country in which a current hotspot is declared, even if they haven’t been to the hotspot, or only transited through the hotspot.
- Queensland Travel Declaration – must be completed by everybody else travelling to Queensland from across Australia and New Zealand. Can be issued as an ‘amber’ pass after visiting an interstate COVID-19 exposure site, or as a ‘green’ pass.
- Queensland International Arrivals Registration – exclusively for those arriving into Queensland from a country outside the ‘safe travel zone’ (currently, anywhere other than New Zealand). This system, as already in place, is in addition to federal Home Affairs/Border Force declarations.
The pass you hold, as well as the details contained within, will dictate the requirements when you enter Queensland, as follows.
- Queensland Border Declaration Pass – you’ll either be required to enter hotel quarantine in Queensland (having recently spent time in a COVID-19 hotspot), or will enjoy free movement in Queensland with no requirement to quarantine, if you haven’t spent time in a hotspot.
- Queensland Travel Declaration – those with an ‘amber’ pass will either need to enter hotel quarantine or quarantine at home (or other suitable accommodation), having visited an interstate exposure site, while those with a ‘green’ pass can enter freely.
- Queensland International Arrivals Registration – all people completing this pass are arriving from countries outside the ‘safe travel zone’, for which hotel quarantine is mandatory.
As above, the passes granting quarantine-free arrival include the Queensland Border Declaration Pass when completed by those who haven’t entered a hotspot, and the ‘green’ Queensland Travel Declaration for everybody else who similarly haven’t been to a hotspot.
Queensland's complex travel restrictions
Separate to broadly defined “hotspots”, Queensland also maintains a list of “interstate exposure venues” for which travel restrictions and quarantine can apply.
Their recent introduction alongside those broader “hotspots” came as a welcome alternative to Queensland closing its border to entire local government areas – or even to whole jurisdictions – where COVID-19 transmission numbers were relatively low and contained.
Under these latest changes, travellers who enter Queensland after visiting a listed “interstate exposure venue” will receive an amber Travel Declaration, signalling a need to quarantine upon arrival.
But whether that quarantine must take place in a government-managed facility, or can take place at home (or at accommodation chosen by the traveller) also hinges on whether Queensland declares an “identified date” for a particular interstate cluster.
Even more confusingly for travellers, Queensland's “identified date” can be either before or after the date of exposure at any given site.
Arrive in Queensland after that “identified date” – having visited an exposure site – and it’s 14 days of government-arranged hotel quarantine for you, at your own expense.
Arrive before the “identified date”, or where such a date hasn’t been declared, and private quarantine (at home, or your own choice of hotel) is permitted.
You can check for the latest interstate exposure venues, as well as any identified dates, on the QLD Health website.
Hotel quarantine, or home quarantine?
Here’s an example: QLD currently lists a number of “interstate exposure venues” in Sydney (along with relevant dates and times of exposure), and has now declared a separate “identified date” for the cluster, which is what triggers hotel quarantine requirements.
Those coming from Sydney who have visited an interstate exposure venue at a date and time listed would be granted an amber pass.
With the "identified date" being 1am on Friday June 18, anybody arriving before that date (and time) has the ability to quarantine at home or a hotel of their choice under their amber pass.
The same is true at times when no “identified date” is declared.
But if that same traveller entered QLD after the “identified date”, having visited an “interstate exposure venue”, quarantine is only then possible in a government-arranged facility (with the same amber pass), and must be for 14 days from arrival in QLD, not 14 days since visiting the venue.
Again, a list of current “interstate exposure venues”, as well as any relevant “identified dates”, can be found on the QLD Health website.
Checklist for travel to Queensland
Confused about which pass you need, and whether you’ll have to quarantine upon arrival?
Follow our handy checklist from the top down (accurate as at June 17 2021, but subject to change):
Been in Victoria? Apply for a QLD Border Declaration Pass.
- Been to Greater Melbourne in the last 14 days (except to transit)? Hotel quarantine in QLD, if allowed to travel.
- Haven’t spent time in Greater Melbourne, or only transited? You’re clear to enter QLD, quarantine-free.
Been to an interstate exposure venue? Apply for an amber QLD Travel Declaration.
- Arriving in QLD before the “identified date”, or where no “identified date” is declared? Quarantine at home or a hotel of your choice, until 14 days have passed since visiting exposure site.
- Arriving in QLD after an “identified date”? It’s 14 days of hotel quarantine for you.
Haven’t been to an interstate exposure venue, or to Victoria?
- You’re “good to go” with a green QLD Travel Declaration, giving the freedom to enter QLD without any quarantine restrictions.
Those requiring a Queensland Travel Declaration (green or amber) should apply online within three days of arriving into Queensland, while those needing a Queensland Border Declaration Pass must apply online at least three days before their Queensland arrival.
Queensland's latest travel restrictions
Although Queensland no longer considers the entire state of Victoria to be a COVID-19 “hotspot”, the Greater Melbourne area remains a hotspot, for now.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today confirmed that QLD “will maintain restrictions on travel from Greater Melbourne for another seven days,” requiring hotel quarantine for all those arriving who’ve been in Greater Melbourne in the 14 days prior to their QLD arrival.
Quarantine is not required for those who merely transit Greater Melbourne on their way to Queensland – such as for a Mildura resident flying from Mildura to Brisbane via Melbourne, when they don’t leave the confines of Melbourne Airport.
Palaszczuk also added, “we strongly advise those planning travel to Greater Sydney to reconsider,” in light of a small number of recent exposure sites.
However, under Queensland’s current travel settings, those arriving from Greater Sydney – who have not visited an “interstate exposure venue”, or Victoria, would be granted a green Queensland Travel Declaration: for which quarantine and isolation is not required.
Queensland has also now listed an “identified date” of 1am Friday June 18 for the recent exposure sites in Sydney.
This signals that home quarantine remains available before that date and time for those having visited an exposure site, with hotel quarantine mandatory from 1am on June 18, for those entering QLD after visiting an interstate exposure site.
Domestic border passes now commonplace
QLD’s decision to implement travel pass requirements for all cross-border arrivals brings the state into line with Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory.
Like Norfolk Island and the Indian Ocean Territories too, these jurisdictions all now require an online pass be granted prior to travel.
Only New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory don’t mandate a standard pass for all travellers, instead requiring only those arriving from locations of interest to complete a declaration.