Travel to South Africa
Travelling has changed, and you may need to do a little more planning and preparation before take-off. Ensure you check and comply with all airline and government travel requirements before arriving at the airport.
Last updated: 29 March 2022
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All passengers on international flights operated by Qantas are required to be fully vaccinated (some exceptions for children and medical exemptions apply). In accordance with Australian Government guidelines, a traveller is not fully vaccinated unless at least 7 full calendar days have elapsed since the last dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation. Learn more about our vaccination requirements.
Customers with a COVID-19 vaccination medical exemption must submit your documentation to Qantas before your flight. We're not able to process exemptions at the airport on your day of departure. See more on applying for clearance to travel.
This requirement relates to flights operated by Qantas on a Qantas aircraft, including those booked via another airline or third-party travel arranger. If you're travelling on a Qantas codeshare flight which is operated by another airline on their aircraft, you'll need to contact them directly to understand and meet their requirements.
You should always check the vaccination requirements for the country you're travelling to, and comply with the most stringent requirements that apply to your trip.
You'll be required to present proof of vaccination at the airport.
Before booking and before departure, ensure you check the latest South AfricaOpens external site in a new window and AustralianOpens external site government conditions for travel, including any applicable Australian State Government restrictions and requirements, which may include mandatory travel and health declarations, vaccinations, use of face masks, and immigration and entry requirements (which may include renewing your passport, or applying for a visa), or you could be denied entry. This information is subject to change and we recommend you check these websites frequently for any updates.
From 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated Australians are eligible for international travel without first seeking a travel exemption to leave Australia. Passengers who do not meet the eligibility requirements must continue to follow the current border processesOpens external site when leaving Australia.
If you're fully vaccinated
The South African GovernmentOpens external site currently allows fully vaccinated international passengers (including Australian Citizens) to transit or travel to South Africa.
Before departure you'll need to:
- Have evidence of your vaccination status. You will need approved documentation for travel which must match your name as per your passport. See more about International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates.
- On arrival into South Africa, you'll be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. If you display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person(s), you're required to undergo a COVID-19 test at your own expense. If you test positive for COVID-19 on arrival, you'll be required to quarantine on arrival for 10 days, at sites identified by the South African Department of Health and at your own expense.
- Carry proof of your accommodation and address while in South Africa in case you're required to self isolate.
- Download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile appOpens external site in a new window.
- Print and complete the Republic of South Africa Government Traveller Health QuestionnaireOpens external site [PDF] and bring it with you to present on arrival.
- Wear a face mask at all times (unless under the age of 6), practice social distancing in public spaces and regularly wash or sanitise your hands on your departure and arrival in South Africa.
Travelling with children:
- Children between the ages of 0 and 5 are exempt from producing a negative PCR test regardless of vaccination status; and,
- Children between the ages of 5 and 12, who are non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated, are required to produce a negative PCR test to Port Health upon arrival in South Africa.
If you're travelling on a Qantas aircraft and cannot be vaccinated for approved medical reasons, you'll also be required to submit your exemption documents to us prior to departure, and show evidence of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test result at the airport.
If you're not fully vaccinated
Unvaccinated travellers will need to produce provide a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 test, recognised by the World Health Organisation, which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel.
- If you fail/can’t provide certificate as proof of a negative COVID-19 test, you will do an antigen test on arrival at your own expense. If you test positive, you will be required to isolate at your own cost for 10 days.
Unvaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents wishing to travel overseas (apart from some exceptions for children and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons) are required to apply for a travel exemptionOpens external site to leave Australia and will not be able to travel on a Qantas aircraft.
If you're unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons or you return a positive pre-departure COVID-19 test result, you may still be able to travel with us in some circumstances:
- Vaccination exemptions: You can request a vaccination exemption due to a medical condition that prevents you from being vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. You'll also be required to show proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test when you check-in.
- Prior positive medical clearance: If you've previously had a COVID-19 infection, you may be able to apply for medical clearance based on a past positive infection, provided you're no longer infectious and don’t have any symptoms. Check the government requirements to see if they permit exceptions for past positive infections, for any countries you're travelling to or transiting through, before submitting your request to us.
See more information on how to request COVID-19 vaccination exemptions and past positive medical clearance.
Keep up to date with the latest requirements
It’s important to continue to check the relevant government websites for the latest travel requirements, as these may change closer to your departure date and more information may become available.
- Australian GovernmentOpens external site
- South African GovernmentOpens external site in a new window
Inflight and airport services
Find out about any changes to your airport and inflight experience.
See inflight and airport services for more information.