Updated: 31 March 2020 *Information supplied by the Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs as at 31 March 2020
Coronavirus Australian Visa Update – Information for all affected visa holders and applicants
COVID-19-related restrictions around travelling outside Australia do not apply to people ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia. You can return to your home country/country of habitual residence if it is safe and possible to do so.
You should apply for a new visa before your current visa expires.
Staying in Australia
You must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires. You might be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful until a decision is made on your visa application.
** No further stay condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535) **
This means you can’t apply for most other visas until you leave Australia. If your visa has less than 2 months validity remaining you can request to waive this condition. We will advise you of the outcome of your request. If your request is approved, you can make a new visa application.
*Condition 8558 (Non-resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 months period) *
You will need to apply for a new visa that suits your new needs. Explore your visa options.
If your visa has expired, you need to apply for Bridging E visa (BVE) immediately in order to become lawful. A BVE keeps you lawful while you make arrangements to leave or finalise your immigration matter.
Complying with visa conditions
Can’t provide additional information due to office closure (Health or Police clearances, Biometrics, English Language Testing)
You will be given additional time to complete checks and provide requested information.
** Can’t return to Australia before my visa expires and want to return**
You will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted.
** Can’t complete Australian Study Requirement or periods of stay under the regional initiatives for Temporary graduate visa holders**
We are looking at concessions on a case-by-case basis.
Bridging Visa Holders
If your Bridging visa expires and you are outside Australia, you will need to apply for another visa. Bridging visas cannot be granted if you are outside Australia.
Processing visa applications
Applicants should be aware that some services relating to the visa application process may be impacted by COVID-19.
We are aware of issues accessing the VEVO system for certain visa holders. If you can’t use VEVO to check your visa status and conditions, you can still access your visa grant letter and visa conditions online using your ImmiAccount.
Visa medical appointments
Clients should be aware of disruptions to visa medical services, both in Australia and outside Australia, due to COVID-19.
Our visa processing officers are aware of the disruptions. We will take the extended timeframes in to account when considering your visa application.
You do not need to contact us if your visa medical has been rescheduled.
If you have not yet lodged a visa application or have not been requested to undertake an immigration medical examination, there is no need to contact a visa medical services clinic in Australia or an overseas panel clinic at this time.
Bupa Visa Medical Services and other Visa Medical Services clinics continue to operate. However, visa medical services have reduced due to requirements of Department of Health in relation to COVID-19.
The measures include social distancing. This is to be implemented for all existing bookings from 19 March onwards. The measures may reduce appointment availability in many centres.
We will cancel some bookings and issue refunds. We will contact all people with cancelled appointments and reschedule into available appointments before opening the booking system to new appointments.
These measures are temporary. They will be reviewed regularly on the advice of the Department of Health.
The measures are intended to ensure the health and safety of visa applicants attending clinics, as well as clinic staff, in line with Australian Government recommendations.
There are disruptions to overseas services. Some clinics have temporarily suspended or reduced operations for the next few months.
A large number of panel clinics are implementing additional risk management controls according to their national management responses to COVID-19 and their respective government’s advice.
Permanent visa holders
Permanent residents of Australia may return to Australia. They will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. This include people offshore who have been granted a permanent visa but have not yet arrived on that visa.
We will notify you in writing if your visa has been cancelled in response to the temporary travel restrictions. This will include information on how to seek revocation of the visa cancellation decision.
*Information supplied by the Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs as at 20 March 2020
** I am a visa holder in Australia, my visa is about to expire and I cannot return to China. Can I extend my stay in Australia?**
If you wish to remain in Australia beyond the expiry date of your current visa, you must apply for a further visa. Information on staying in Australia beyond your current visa expiry date can be found at:
** When should I apply for another visa to remain in Australia?**
An application should be made before your current visa expires. In this case you may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa, which will keep you lawful in Australia until a decision is made on your visa application.
Information on bridging visas can be found at:
** I am a visa holder in Australia and my current visa has the ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached? Can I stay in Australia?**
If your current visa includes a ‘No Further Stay’ condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535), you are unable to make a valid application for most other visas while you are in Australia.
If you wish to remain in Australia beyond your visa’s expiry date, a request to waive this condition must be made. Information on how to request a waiver can be found at:
We recommend that you not make a request for a ‘No Further Stay’ waiver if your current visa still has more than two-month’s validity remaining.
** I am a visa holder in Australia and my visa has condition 8558 (Non Resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 month period) and I have already been in Australia for nearly 12 months in the last 18 months? Do I need to apply for a new visa in order to remain?**
If you currently hold a visa which includes condition 8558, and you wish to remain in Australia for more than 12 months in any 18 month period, you will need to apply for a further visa in order to avoid breaching this condition.
You can also apply for a Bridging E Visa (BVE) immediately which will allow you to remain lawful while you make arrangements to leave, finalise immigration matters or wait for an immigration decision.
Information on how to apply for a further visitor visa (tourist stream) while in Australia can be found at:
** I don’t have a valid visa. What do I do now?**
If your visa has expired, you need to apply for a Bridging E visa (BVE) immediately in order to become lawful. A BVE is a short-term visa that lets you remain lawful while you make arrangements to leave, finalise immigration matters or wait for an immigration decision.
Do not attempt to travel to Australia if you not an Australian permanent resident or Australian citizen.
All people entering Australia will need to self-isolate for 14 days from arrival.
Immediate family members of Australian permanent residents and Australian citizens are exempt from the current travel ban.
New Zealanders (444 visa holders) who are living in Australia as Australian residents are also exempt from the travel ban.
New Zealanders transiting to New Zealand are exempt from the travel ban.
Pacific Islanders transiting to their home countries are also exempt from the travel ban.
** Can I return to Australia using my Bridging B visa (BVB)?**
No, unless you satisfy one of the above exemptions. Travel restrictions mean you will be unable to enter Australia while holding a temporary visa. If you have left or transited through mainland China within 14 days, do not attempt to travel to Australia. Bridging visas are not able to be granted if you are outside Australia. If your Bridging visa expires and you are outside Australia, you will need to apply for another visa once the travel restrictions have been lifted.
** I am currently overseas and will not be able to enter Australia before my visa ceases. What do I need to do to travel to Australia?**
If you are outside Australia and are unable to enter before your visa’s validity ceases, you will need to apply for a new visa if you wish to travel to Australia. It is not possible to extend the validity period of a visa.
** I am a New Zealand citizen. What does ‘usually resident’ mean and how do I prove it?**
Special Category (Subclass 444) visas granted to New Zealand citizens are not a permanent residence visa.
However, if you usually reside in Australia, you will not be subject to the current travel restrictions. You may prove your residence in Australia by showing your driver’s license or documents in relation to home ownership or rental property at check in.
** I am a former permanent resident. Can I travel to Australia?**
As a former permanent resident you may be able to apply for a Resident Return visa, however you will need to wait to be granted that visa before you can travel to Australia.
** I think my visa has been cancelled. What do I do now?**
Since the introduction of the temporary travel ban, the Department has cancelled a small number of temporary visas for persons who have attempted to travel to Australia.
These persons have been notified in writing of their visa cancellation and provided with advice on how to seek revocation of the cancellation decision. Revocation requests will be prioritised for consideration by the Department after the temporary travel restrictions have been lifted.
If you think you visa may have been cancelled, please email email@example.com with your details including full name, date of birth and passport number. Or get in touch with us and we can help you through the process:
Phone: 1300 227 658
** I was given 28 days to provide additional information for my visa application, but I can’t meet this timeframe.**
The Department is aware that some services in other countries are temporarily closed which affects applicants’ ability to obtain requested information such as health and police clearances. These applicants will be provided additional time to complete checks and provide requested information. You do not need to contact us to seek an extension of the time frame while these services are unavailable.
** I have applied for a permanent visa. Will that still be processed?**
The Department continues to process Skilled and Family permanent visas for people usually resident in China. Visas will be granted where travel bans are lifted.