Can I travel overseas if I am unvaccinated?
On 1 November 2021, the Australian Government eased international travel restrictions, permitting Australian Citizens and permanent residents who are:
- fully vaccinated;
- under the age of 12 or,
- have a medical exemption from receiving the vaccine,
to leave and re-enter Australia, without needing an exemption.
Whilst this was a welcome change, and undoubtedly a step towards life going back to ‘normal’, we understand that there are many members of the Australian community who, for various reasons, are unwilling or unable to be vaccinated (despite not being formally deemed ‘exempt’). As such, many Australians have been left wondering what these changes mean for them, if they are not vaccinated.
What are the rules?
From 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated Australian Citizens and permanent residents are considered ‘automatically exempt’ from Australia’s international travel restrictions, meaning they are able to depart Australia without first seeking an exemption from Australian Border Force.
For those who are unvaccinated, over the age of 12 and do not have an exemption, the international travel restrictions and existing travel exemption system remains the same as it has been previously. Accordingly, if you are an unvaccinated Australian, you are only permitted to leave Australia if you fall into one of the following exempt categories:
- your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
- your travel is for your business/employer
- you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
- you are travelling outside Australia for a compelling reason for three months or longer
- you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds
- your travel is in the national interest
In order to show that you fall into one of the above categories, you will need to provide sufficient evidence of the circumstances and why your travel is unavoidable at this time. In some instances, you must provide a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration which meets strict legal requirements, outlining your ability to meet the travel exemption rules.
I need help with my travel exemption
Our office has widespread experience in obtaining travel exemptions for clients in a variety of circumstances. We have experience with:
- reuniting couples pursuing long distance relationships
- assisting people to care for sick relatives
- helping business owners travel for meetings and key events
- allowing employees to carry out key roles and obligations to the employer overseas
- assisting people to move overseas permanently, including for work or family reasons
- allowing people to reinstate their residency status in overseas jurisdictions
- urgent travel for significant family events including funerals.
Our experience ranges across different travel periods, including short intermittent periods of travel, extended (i.e., more than 3 months) and permanent relocation. We have also been successful in obtaining travel exemptions for clients who had previously had their exemption applications refused.
Unvaccinated Travel Assistance
If you are wanting to engage in unvaccinated travel, that being you are not vaccinated for any reasons and are wishing to depart Australia, there are avenues available for you, and it is not necessarily impossible to travel at this time.
If you want assistance putting forward your strongest possible application for an exemption to travel, please contact our team of experienced migration lawyers here at Ramsden Lawyers on 1300 749 709.