3 Apr 2020

COVID-19 Travel bans and exemptions

Many people have been impacted as a result of Australia’s extended COVID-19 Travel Ban, including families and travellers who have been caught offshore.

Here’s an update on the impact for visa holders in Australia.

Australia’s Inbound Travel Ban

According to the Department’s latest inbound Travel Ban guidelines, only Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents and NZ citizens usually resident in Australia (Subclass 444 Visa holders) can travel to Australia.

Partner (Subclasses 100, 309, 801, 820) and Child (Subclasses 101, 102, 445) visa holders can also come to Australia.

Immediate family members of an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident (spouses, dependent children and legal guardians only) may be able to travel to Australia but they must apply for an exemption.

Travellers transiting through Australia may also apply for an exemption, however this depends on their travel history and transit arrangements.

The below travellers can also apply for exemptions determined by the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner:

-Foreign nationals invited by the Commonwealth to assist with COVID-19 relief or to act in the national interest;

Persons facilitating critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies from international ports;

Persons 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;

​-Persons needing to travel for humanitarian or compassionate reasons may be granted case-by-case exceptions.

Exemptions must be granted before travelling to Australia.

You recommend that you visit the Government’s website regularly as it is currently being updated almost daily at this stage.

Many of these cases are being managed on a case-by-case basis at this stage while the Government is developing policies.

Australia’s Outbound Travel Ban

The Government has also exercised emergency powers under Australia’s Biosecurity Act, which restricts Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents from travelling outside of Australia from 25 March 2020 for an initial period of 4 weeks, unless an exemption is granted. Heavy penalties apply for non-compliance.

The outbound travel ban does not apply to:

-A person ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia;

​​​Airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers;

-New Zealand citizens holding a Subclass 444 Visa;

-A person engaged in the day to day conduct of inbound and outbound freight;

-A person whose travel is associated with essential work at an offshore facility;

-A person who is travelling on official government business (including a member of the Australian Defence Force).

New Zealand citizens who are permanent visa holders may apply to be exempt under the ABF Commissioner’s discretion.

Under exceptional circumstances, exemptions may also be granted by the ABF to an Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or operator of an outgoing passenger aircraft or vessel with compelling reasons to leave Australian territory.

Immigracious | Migration connections made simple

We understand many people are going through a difficult time. Our migration agents are here to assist if you are seeking professional advice on your visa arrangements.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch at or + 61 8 6263 4406.


Immigracious’ Registered Migration Agents

Migration Institute of Australia

The Department of Home Affairs

Sheila Woods

Posted by: Sheila Woods

A very experienced migration agent, Sheila has always been fascinated by this field. Her university degree thesis was on Australia’s post-war immigration history (and it earned her first-class honours).

Filed in: Uncategorized


Comments are closed.


Follow us