Cruise ship industry

On 08 December 2020 the Government announced the human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will be extended by three months for the operation of cruise ships in Australia. This includes:

  • extending to 17 March 2021, the current measures restricting the entry of cruise ships into Australian territory and entry at Australian ports; and
  • continuing the application of these restrictions to cruise ships capable of carrying 100 or more passengers.

The restrictions are inclusive of direct arrivals and Round Trip Cruises (RTC).

Large passenger vessels

Crew of large passenger vessels (up to 99 berths, inclusive) are not exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions and will need to submit a travel exemption request before travelling to Australia. This can be done through the Travel Exemption Portal

We will only consider exemptions for crew required to safely operate the vessel. Entry of the vessel should also provide economic benefit to Australia. Other roles, such as service or hospitality roles, should be filled by workers in Australia.

You must provide supporting evidence with your travel exemption request, including:

  • confirmation of the reason for entry and demonstrated economic benefit to Australia
  • current location of the vessel
  • proposed location of arrival in Australia
  • complete details of all crew and employees included in the travel exemption request, including their purpose of employment
  • confirmation that quarantine will be undertaken as directed by the relevant State or Territory government. This should include advice about the agreed arrangements.
  • support from the relevant State or Territory government.

Maritime industry

Maritime crew (excluding crew on Cruise Ships) are exempt from travel restrictions, and do not require an individual exemption from the Australian Border Force Commissioner.

Exempt maritime crew include:

  • crew operating or providing services to support the operation of a commercial (excluding cruise and superyacht vessels) or a government vessel in Australian waters
  • marine pilots
  • marine surveyors.

A commercial vessel is one that is engaged in:

  • commercial trade and movement of freight
  • the provision of port and maintenance services
  • providing support to important industries such as resource industries
  • marine surveying.

If you are exempt under this category, you may: 

  • enter Australia where you hold an appropriate visa, and depart  
  • need to quarantine in the Australian State and Territory where you arrive. Many states and territories now require international maritime crew arriving in Australia (by aircraft), to undertake 14 days of mandatory quarantine at the first point of arrival.

See COVID-19 requirements for maritime crew.