COVID-19: Can I get an exemption to travel overseas?

COVID-19: Can I get an exemption to travel overseas?

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Australian Government has imposed substantial restrictions on travel to and from Australia, leaving individuals increasingly confused and apprehensive about the prospect of international travel, and unsure of any exemption to travel overseas.

Australians and Permanent Residents wanting to travel overseas

Australian citizens and permanent residents (‘referred to collectively as Australians’) are currently not permitted to leave Australia unless they have been approved a valid exemption to travel overseas by the Australian Government.

Currently the only valid exemptions available for which an Australian may travel outside of Australia are as follows:

  • The travel is a part of the response to COVID-19, including the provision of aid.
  • Your travel is essential for your business/employer.
  • You are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia.
  • You are travelling outside Australia for three months or longer.
  • The travel is on compassionate or humanitarian grounds.
  • The travel is in the national interest.

There are a multitude of reasons for which Australians will want or need to travel in the coming months. As such, an exemption application should be carefully considered, compiled thoroughly and evidence to support the application must also be provided when the application is submitted. Exemption applications are considered by Australian Border Force and are likely to be refused if insufficient documentation is provided.

Strict guidelines have also been outlined regarding the timing of the application. The exemption should be applied for at least two weeks, but no more than three months in advance.

An individual is not required to apply for an exemption (they are automatically exempt) if they are:

  • Normally a resident of 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 day-to-day conduct of outbound freight.
  • Associated with essential work at Australian offshore facilities.
  • Travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

If you require any further information regarding the current restrictions, the possibility of leaving Australia, what your options may include or if you have had an application for an exemption to travel refused, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team of migration lawyers here at Ramsden Lawyers, and we would be pleased to help you in these uncertain times.