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Australia’s Covid-19 Travel Exemption Regulations Update

  • By margaret mccartney
  • July 5, 2020

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic Australia as an island nation has placed a ban with few exceptions, on all overseas travel unless an exemption is granted.   Borders are expected to remain closed until at least the first half of 2021.

The Federal Government’s decision while safeguarding the nation’s health will continue to constrain business in Australia;  not the least in denying organisations access to critically and specifically skilled foreign employees or those stranded offshore while holding Australian temporary residence visas and by law, unable to return.

Coming to Australia

Australian citizens, permanent residents and their respective immediate family members, as well as New Zealanders usually resident in Australia on a 444 visa are free to enter without an official Waiver.   Other intending  travellers, unless meeting a very limited list of exceptions as laid down by the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force, must first have applied for and been granted a Travel Exemption Waiver.

Waiver applications, including those based on compassionate and compelling grounds should be lodged at least 4 weeks ahead of planned travel, together with extensive evidence and documentation to support the special consideration sought for critical exemption.

Each traveller upon arrival is subject to the compulsory, self-funded 14-day hotel-based isolation.

Note:  Online Electronic Travel Authority permits are not available during the pandemic crisis.

Leaving Australia

No traveller including Australian citizens and Permanent Residents may leave Australia without first having applied for and been granted an official Travel Exemption Waiver.  Again, a four-week lead time for application processing should be factored and extensive documentation is required in support of the application.

Importantly, in absence of a Travel Exemption Waiver to either enter, or leave Australia, travellers will not be boarded at the airport.

Expat International’s Visa Division offers individual consultation on Covid-19 Travel Exemption and associated visa matters arising from the pandemic circumstances.   We have 38 years of expertise and practice knowledge to manage applications on behalf of company sponsored, or individual travellers.  Our acknowledged reputation  for excellence and 5-star Google Reviews are the assurance we offer.


Authored by Margaret McCartney, MARN 9904656, July 2, 2020