Travel Exemptions

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Leaving Australia

The Australian Government extended the International Travel Ban for another three months until March 2021 due to the ongoing risk posed by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Outbound overseas travel will not be possible for the majority of Australians until mid-March of next year without an exemption. 

Those who are travelling for the purpose of:

  • emergency
  • medical treatment
  • front liners who are working to assist with the COVID19 global pandemic
  • and travellers who plan to leave the country for more than three (3) months fall under the exemption criteria. 

Coming to Australia

Strict border measures are still in place and flights are limited to come to Australia to ensure the safety and health of the Australians. However, there are some travel exemptions for some travellers who meet the criteria for exemption. Travel exemption requests to come to Australia are usually granted within seven (7) days. While applications are on a case to case basis, complex applications may take time. If you still want to come to Australia but do not belong in the exempt category, you may opt to apply for an individual exemption.

Where possible, you should apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before your planned travel. 

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Who Can Get A Travel Exemption?
  • Australian citizens
  • Australian permanent residents
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • 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 before their 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 recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • a person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.

If you are a temporary visa holder or do not hold a visa for Australia, you are required to provide proof of relationship to the Immigration such as:

  • Marriage certificate or evidence of de-facto relationship
  • Shared finances or property
  • Birth Certificate of you and your kids (if any)

How to Apply For Travel Exemption

You need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before your planned travel. You must also attach the following with your application:

  • traveller details such as: full name, date of birth, visa type and number and passport number
  • proposed residential address and phone number in Australia
  • your reasons for coming and why you should be granted an exemption
  • a statement: as to how you meet the criteria for travel exemption
  • Other evidences
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Who Can Apply for Individual Exemption or Compassion and Compelling Reason?

If you do not fall under the travel exemption, you may opt to apply for individual exemption or compassion and compelling reason. If you need to travel because of a death of a family member or have a need to travel to care for family who is in critical condition, you are eligible to apply for this exemption. Below is a list of who can apply for this exemption:

  • A foreign national invited by the AU government to a state or territory to assist with COVID-19 Response.
  • A foreign national whose entry is of national interest and is supported by the Australian government
  • providing critical services such as: medical services or delivery of critical medical supplies
  • A foreign national working in critical sectors with critical skillset in Australia
  • A foreign national that falls on the PMSOL occupation and sponsored by an employer
  • military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces and Status of Armed Forces Agreement
  • a person who resides on a vessel and seeking safe haven for a limited time and is supported by the relevant State or Territory government.
  • a student completing year 11 and 12, with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department
  • a student in your final two years of study in a medical or health degree and have a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or other medical practices that starts within two months. 
  • travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.

How to Apply for Individual Exemption or Compassion & Compelling Reason

You also need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before your planned travel. You must attach the following with your application:

  • proof of identity
  • evidence that you hold a valid visa
  • travel itinerary
  • marriage, birth, death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship or residence (such as a shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)
  • letter from a doctor or hospital, indicating why travel is necessary
  • letter from an employer indicating why travel is necessary
  • supporting letter from a business or government agency, advising why your skills are critical
  • statutory declaration to support your claims.

Quarantine Information

  • If you are arriving from a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand, you do not need to undergo quarantine.
  • All other travellers (foreign or Australian citizens) are required to quarantine for 14 days in a facility such as hotels designated for quarantine purposes.
  • Travellers who are required to quarantine may shoulder the costs of their own quarantine. 
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