The federal government has lifted its global ‘do not travel’ advisory ahead of the border opening

The federal government has lifted its global ‘do not travel’ advisory ahead of the border opening
  • The federal government’s blanket ‘Do not travel’ advisory warning Australians not to head abroad has been lifted.
  • The update comes days before the staged reopening of Australia’s international border, more than 18 months after it slammed shut.
  • Changing the advice level will provide certainty to travellers and insurers in the months to come.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The blanket ‘Do not travel’ advisory warning Australians not to head abroad has been lifted, providing clarity to travellers and insurers just days before the staged reopening of the international border.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Thursday removed the wholesale Level 4 ‘Do not travel’ advisory on the Smart Traveller website.

The warning had been in place since March 2020, when the federal government slammed international border shut in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DFAT and Smart Traveller are in the process of updating the risk levels of 177 international destinations, based on COVID-19 and other safety concerns.

None of those countries will be listed as Level 1 destinations, where normal safety precautions are required.

“At this stage, no destination will be set lower than Level 2 ‘Exercise a high degree of caution’ due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19,” the Smart Traveller website advises.

“And we’ll continue to advise ‘Do not travel’ for some destinations if there are extreme security and safety risks.”

The update comes a day after the federal government confirmed travellers will no longer need approval from the Department of Home Affairs to leave the country.

The Smart Traveller tweak also covers a gap in Australia’s long-awaited border reopening process, whereby travellers were permitted to book flights to overseas destinations still covered by hardline ‘Do not travel’ warnings.

Doing so left travellers exposed to potential risks abroad, as insurers were highly unlikely to provide coverage to those travelling against official government advice.

Destinations covered by Level 1 and Level 2 warnings are “usually covered by travel insurance,” Smart Traveller notes.

“But it varies with level 3. At this level, insurance companies may not provide full coverage depending on why the destination has been assessed as ‘reconsider your need to travel’.”

International travel will expand from Monday, when the New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory officially drop the requirements for fully vaccinated travellers to quarantine upon arrival.

The updated Smart Traveller advice will likely provide clarity to travellers hoping to visit nations like Singapore, one of the latest nations to sign a quarantine-free travel arrangement with Australia.

While the nation-state was listed as a Level 4 region as of 8am this morning, it has since been amended to Level 2.