Seeking permission to travel

21st May 2020

Leaving Australia

Non-citizens

Due to COVID-19, international visitors are encouraged to return home where possible to do so.

Temporary visa holders should be aware that if they wish to return to Australia while COIVD-19 restrictions are in place they will most likely need a travel exemption to be allowed entry.

Citizens and permanent residents

Australian citizens and permanent residents cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption.

Exemptions for citizens and permanent residents to leave will be considered if:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
  • your travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds
  • your travel is in the national interest

You must provide evidence to support your claim for exemption to leave and you should apply for an exemption at least 48 hours before but not more than 3 months before your planned travel.

If granted an exemption you must take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

You will not need to apply for an exemption if you are:

  • ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
  • an airline, maritime crew or associated safety worker
  • a New Zealand citizen holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
  • engaged in the day-to-day conduct of outbound freight
  • associated with essential work at offshore facilities
  • travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force

Coming to Australia

Citizens and permanent residents

You can travel to Australia if you are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia. If you are an immediate family member holding a temporary visa you will need to provide us with evidence of your relationship.

All travellers arriving in Australia must undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities in their port of arrival.

New Zealand citizens who usually reside in Australia

New Zealand citizens with a subclass 44 visa or other permanent or provisional visa can come to Australia. You must carry proof of residency and undertake the 14 day quarantine.

Immediate family of an Australian citizen or permanent resident

You are only considered an immediate family member if you are:

  • a spouse
  • a de facto partner
  • a dependent children
  • a legal guardian

If you are considered to be an immediate family member and can provide proof you will still need a visa to enter Australia and then undertake the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

All others

Travellers who have compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia will need to have an exemption form the Australian Border Force Commissioner.

All travellers arriving in Australia must undertake the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider an additional exemption in relation to the travel restrictions currently in place for:

  • foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
  • critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
  • people with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
  • diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia, and their immediate family
  • case-by-case exceptions for humanitarian or compassionate reasons

For more information about coming to or leaving Australian visit the Department of Home Affairs website.