Travel exemptions are available to those wishing to travel due to compassionate or compelling reasons or essential business purposes. While most travel exemptions commonly apply to those wishing to enter Australia, they are also required for those needing to leave Australia.
Applications for outward travel exemptions are highly scrutinised. Given inward flight numbers have
been reduced and approximately 40,000 Australians overseas can’t get flights home to Australia, it’s
not surprising that outward travel is examined closely.
Australian citizens and permanent residents are not permitted to leave Australia due to Covid-19 restrictions without an exemption and must meet certain criteria.
Examples of reasons to leave Australia include:
- Providing aid as part of the response to the Covid-19 outbreak
- Business travel
- To receive urgent medical treatment not available in Australia
- Compelling or compassionate grounds
- Travel is in the national interest
Evidence must be provided to support these claims. Evidence includes:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Death certificate
- Proof of relationship
- Proof of moving to another country on a long-term basis
- Proof of a current valid visa (Australian or overseas)
- Letter from a doctor or hospital outlining any medical treatment or condition that requires you to travel
- Letter from an employer confirming travel for business reasons
- Evidence to show a return date to Australia
- Any other proof that may support reasons for travel
Those seeking to be abroad for three months or longer for proposed travel must have a compelling reason and provide evidence to support this. The evidence must be provided in the form of a Commonwealth statutory declaration. The statutory declaration must state that the traveller is making an application for a travel exemption on the basis that they will be absent for more than three months.
- A confirmed flight itinerary, with return date of at least three months after departure date
- Confirmation of leave from employment for three months
- Enrolment confirmation for study
- A doctor’s certificate supporting claims that travel is required in order to provide care for sick family members
- Any other documentation which will support a request for exemption
Australian citizens and permanent residents under 50 years of age who have an approved outward travel exemption may also be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.
Non-citizens are encouraged to return home when it is possible to do so.
Temporary Visa Holders
Temporary visa holders wishing to return to their country may do so without an exemption as long as their countries border restrictions allow it.
Temporary visa holders wanting to leave Australia for a short trip overseas can do so at any time however, they will generally not be permitted to return to Australia. Should they wish to return, they must apply for an inwards exemption before they leave Australia.
In order for an exemption to be approved they must meet the following criteria.
- Meet requirements for an individual exemption from Australian inward travel restrictions, and
- Have a strong compassionate or compelling reason to leave Australia supported by relevant evidence such as:
o Attending the funeral of a close family member overseas, visiting a close family member who is seriously or critically ill or seeking necessary medical treatment not available in Australia, or
o Travel for essential business purposes
Travel to Certain Regions
Travel to India and Papua New Guinea has its own sets of conditions.
Given the current health advice in relation to India, exemption will only be approved in the following circumstances:
- Critical workers providing assistance to India’s Covid-19 response
- Those travelling in Australia’s national interest
- Those seeking urgent medical treatment for a critical illness that can’t be treated in Australia
- Those travelling due to the death or funeral of a close family member
- Those visiting a critically ill family member
- Those travelling to India to escort an Australia citizen or permanent resident minor back to Australia
Papua New Guinea
Based on current health advice for Papua New Guinea, those seeking an ‘exceptional circumstances’ exemption to
travel from Australia to PNG will only be approved in the following circumstances:
- Critical workers providing assistance to PNG’s Covid-19 response; and
- Those undertaking critical safety roles
There are circumstances where travellers may leave Australia without the need for a travel exemption. These include: - Being a resident of a country other than Australia
- An airline, maritime crew or associated safety worker
- New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa, even if they are usually resident in
- Being engaged in the day-to-day conduct of inbound and outbound freight
- Travelling in association with essential work at an offshore facility in Australian waters
- Travelling on official government business (including members of the Australian Defence Force and any Australian Government official travelling on a diplomatic or official passport)
- Travelling directly to New Zealand after having been in Australia or New Zealand for 14 days or more immediately before the travel date
Visa Solutions Australia has been successful in acquiring a broad range of exemptions, from critical workers to those
needing to travel on compassionate grounds.
If you would like to learn more about travel exemptions or any other aspect of migration, contact Visa Solutions on 1800 828 008.