Hotel quarantine is an expensive business when going to Australia. You are required to spend two weeks locked into a hotel room, and to add insult to injury, you also have to pay a quarantine fee. The cost for a single traveller in many states is AU$3,000 (US$2,300, £1,660, €1,930).

Those arriving into Queensland pay slightly less, and Western Australia is cheapest at A$2,520. With additional adults being charged A$1,000 and children at A$500 a piece, it ends up being a huge amount of money for families, even with smaller children being free. There are two ways to get a fee exemption, which is important to know.

Travel Booking Date

If your flights were booked before the introduction of the fees, you do not have to pay the quarantine fee. The date depends on the state you’re arriving into. For example, those arriving into Victoria would need to have booked airline tickets before 10 July 2020.

People arriving into South Australia and New South Wales would have had to book tickets prior to 12 July 2020. Queensland is an outlier, with the date being 17 June 2020. Unfortunately, those arriving into Western Australia don’t have this option and everyone has to pay.

Financial Hardship and Payment Plans

You can also get a fee exemption if you can demonstrate financial hardship. Just what would constitute this is not explicitly stated on the Government web sites, but it does ask for proof of this.

The one light at the end of the tunnel is that you can request to go on a payment plan for the debt. That should ease the burden for people and is the least they can do.

Applying for an Exemption

The various states that allow exemptions have web forms or e-mail addresses available for this. For South Australia, there is an online form you need to complete. In my case, I completed this as soon as I received my invoice in the post.

An overdue notice arrived a month later, so I ended up having to e-mail an address on that. In that e-mail I included the receipt number for the original online request, and sent over my evidence of flight booking again. After that, another overdue notice arrived, followed a few days later by the credit above.

Overall Thoughts

There probably won’t be too many people remaining who booked before June or July 2020, though some may be still moving their flight dates therefore be eligible. Either way, it’s good to know this is possible for those who did buy tickets before the introduction of fees.

It is a shame the quarantine fees, rules and exemptions are not harmonised throughout the country. Your arrival city determines the fee, the age of the small children that don’t attract a fee, and various other things. Therefore, you will need to check the state government web site specific to you before travelling.

What do you think of the fee exemptions for hotel quarantine in Australia? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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