With a global pandemic restricting travel to and from Australia, it can be challenging to figure out your travel options. In light of that, we’ve compiled a list of the most up to date travel exemptions and restrictions for Australia.
Currently, Australia has some strict measurements implemented to protect the health of all Australians. Travel in and out of the country is very limited, with few flights to and from Australia. Even if you manage to buy passage for a ferry, boat, aeroplane, submarine etc., you might not be able to leave or enter the country if you don’t meet the requirements.
If you are travelling or transiting through Australia when writing this, you will have to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test to your airline before you’re allowed to board. The test must not be older than 72 hours before your scheduled departure.
If you don’t have a negative test result, you shouldn’t bother going to the airport because they won’t let you get on the plane.
You will be required to wear a mask on the flight. You can find more information about this on the Australian Department of Health website.
Everyone, except those arriving on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand, is subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a pre-designated facility – usually a hotel at the port of your arrival but don’t expect the Hilton. You also might be required to pay for your quarantine costs, including the accommodation during this period; you can find more information here.
You are not allowed to travel to Australia unless you fall within an exempt category and have been granted an Individual Exemption to the current travel restrictions imposed by the Australian government. In most cases, exemption requests will have an answer within 7 days, but if your situation is more complicated, it could take longer.
Temporary visa holders in Australia can leave at any point in time, but in all likelihood, will not be allowed to return to Australia. You can find more information regarding this below.
If you don’t fall into any of the exemption categories listed below, you can also request an individual exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions.
- Travel exemptions should be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to your proposed travel but no more than 2 months prior to your planned journey.
- Most travel exemption requests are finalised within 48 hours, but some complex requests may take longer.
- If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans.
- If you are granted an exemption, you must take the evidence of the exemption to the airport.
- If travelling to or transiting through Australia, you must also provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test to your airline.
- The Covid-19 test must be taken 72 hours or less before your scheduled departure.
- If you do not have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, your airline will not allow you to board the aircraft.
- Unless you are arriving on a quarantine-free flight form New Zealand, all incoming travellers (including Australian citizens) must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility (i.e. Hotel at your destination)
- You may be required to pay the costs of your quarantined
- You may be required to pay the costs of your quarantined
Who Is Exempt And Can Freely Travel To Australia?
You are exempt from any travel restrictions and will be allowed to enter Australia without the need of obtaining an individual exemption if you are:
- An Australian citizen
- a permanent resident of Australia
- an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
- A New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members
- A person who has been in New Zealand for 14 days or more immediately prior to arrival by air in Australia
- A diplomat accredited to Australia, including their immediate family members (each member of the family unit must hold a valid subclass 995 visa)
- A person transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
- Airline crew, maritime crew including marine pilots
- A person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.
**If you hold a temporary visa or do not currently hold a valid visa for Australia, you must provide proof of your relationship to the Department before you travel to Australia.
Do not travel until the Department advises that you can
Evidence must always be carried if you meet one of the above categories.
Temporary Visa Holders
- Temporary visa holders do not need an exemption to leave Australia (as long as your home country allows you to return)
- Temporary visa holders who wish to return to Australia, whilst Covid-19 restrictions are current, will generally need a travel exemption.
- Leaving Australia for a short trip overseas:
- Must apply for an inwards exemption before you leave Australia
- Applications are generally only approved if:
- The applicant meets the requirements for an individual exemption from Australia’s Inward Travel Restrictions, and
- They have a strong, compassionate or compelling reason to leave Australia,
- Reasons must be supported by relevant documentary evidence,
- Examples of strong, compassionate or compelling reasons:
- Attending the funeral of a close family member overseas
- Visiting a close family member who is seriously or critically ill
- Seeking necessary medical treatment not available in Australia.
- Travel is essential for business purposes.
Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents (PR) Leaving Australia
- Australian citizens or Permanent Residents cannot leave Australia due to Covid-19 restrictions unless they have an exemption.
- To apply for an exemption, you must meet at least one of the following:
- Your travel is part of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid.
- Travel is for your business/employer.
- Travelling to receive urgent medical treatment not available in Australia
- Travelling outside of Australia for a compelling reason for 3 months or longer
- Travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds
- Your travel in the national interest
- Must provide evidence to support your application and claim
- Marriage certificates
- Birth certificates
- Death certificates
- Proof of relationship (examples of a shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)
- Proof you are moving to another country on a long term basis (lease, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported)
- Proof of your current valid visa, including in Australia and/or overseas
- Letter from doctor/hospital about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary
- Letter from your employer, or other evidence that you are travelling for a business reason
- Statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
Travel For 3 months Or Longer
- If you are leaving Australia for 3 months or longer, your proposed travel must be for a compelling reason.
- Evidence must be provided to support your claims.
- Evidence must be provided in the form of a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration.
- Your Statutory Declaration must state you are applying for a travel exemption on the basis that you intend to leave Australia for more than 3 months.
- Evidence may include:
- Confirmed flight itinerary, with your return date at least 3 months after departure date
- Confirmation of leave from employment for 3 months
- Enrolment confirmation for study
- Doctors certificate to support your claim you are travelling to provide care for a sick family member
- Please keep in mind that making a false claim on a Statutory Declaration is a criminal offence according to s11 of Statutory Declarations Act 1959)
Aejis Migration is up to date with the most current rules and regulations about travel exemptions & restrictions for Australia and can assist, especially with complex cases. Contact us directly to speak with one of our expert solicitors about your situation.