Travel for vaccinated Australians
From 1 November 2021, fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents will be eligible for international travel without seeking a travel exemption. Please refer to information on Travel for vaccinated Australians.
Children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will also be able to travel overseas without an exemption.
Travel restrictions and exemptions for unvaccinated Australians and permanent residents
Unvaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents wishing to travel overseas (apart from children under 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons) are required to apply for an exemption to leave Australia. You can apply online for an exemption but you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- 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 compelling or compassionate grounds
- your travel is in the national interest
- you are ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia.
You must provide evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. Evidence may include:
- marriage certificate/s
- birth certificate/s
- death certificate/s
- proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)*
- proof that you are moving to another country on a long term basis such as leases, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported
- proof of your current valid visa, including in Australia and/or overseas
- letter from a doctor or hospital about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary
- letter from your employer, or other evidence that you are travelling for a business reason
- statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
- any other proof you may have to support your claims.
*For information about providing proof of your relationship refer to Evidence of relationship.
Travel for three months or longer
For unvaccinated Australians and permanent residents seeking exemption from Australia’s outbound travel restrictions on the basis that you are leaving Australia for three months or longer, your proposed travel must be for a compelling reason and you must provide evidence to support your claims.
Evidence to support your application
Evidence must be provided in the form of a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration.
The Commonwealth Statutory Declaration must state you are making an application for travel exemption on the basis that you intend to be absent from Australia for more than three months.
Evidence may include:
- 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 to support your claim you are travelling in order to provide care for sick family members
- any other matter you wish to raise in support of your request for exemption.
Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided, or is not provided in a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration. All evidence supporting a travel exemption claim needs to be officially translated into English. Travel exemption requests that are submitted without appropriate documentary evidence to support your claim will not be approved.
Note: A person who makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence – refer to section 11 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959.
The Australian Border Force will monitor compliance with periods of declared travel.
You are exempt from travel restrictions, and can leave Australia without applying for an exemption if you are:
- a fully vaccinated Australian
- an airline, maritime crew or associated safety worker
- a New Zealand citizen holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa, even if they are usually resident in Australia
- 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 and you have been in Australia or New Zealand for 14 days or more immediately before your travel date*
*Please refer to the information under Travel to New Zealand.
Australian citizens and permanent residents do not need an exemption to return to Australia.
Temporary visa holders returning home
Temporary visa holders impacted by COVID-19 can make arrangements to return to their home country, if border restrictions in that country allow.
Temporary visa holders do not need an exemption to depart Australia. They can leave at any time, as long as border restrictions in their home country allow them to return.
Temporary visa holders should be aware that if they wish to return to Australia while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, they will generally need a travel exemption. For more information see Coming to Australia.
Remember the COVID-19 situation continues to change.
Check each week:
- border restrictions
- availability of flights.
Commercial flights are available from several major airports across Australia.
You may also wish to find out if there are any private or government repatriation flights to your home country.
If you would like further assistance to return home, you can contact your embassy or consulate in Australia.
Temporary visa holders leaving Australia for a short trip overseas
Temporary visa holders in Australia can depart Australia at any time, however, they will generally not be permitted to return to Australia without an exemption.
Temporary visa holders seeking to leave and then return to Australia, may apply for an inwards exemption before they leave, however applications will generally only be approved if:
- the applicant meets the requirements for an individual exemption from Australia’s Inward Travel Restrictions, and
- they have a strong compassionate or compelling reason to leave Australia supported by relevant documentary evidence, for example:
- 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
- travel is essential for business purposes.
For more information on how to make a vaccination appointment visit the Vaccine Eligibility Checker.
Travel to New Zealand
Information for temporary visa holders can be found on the New Zealand safe travel zone webpage.
Critical skills and sectors
APEC business travel card
If you hold an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) you are not automatically exempt. You can apply for an exemption and provide evidence to support your claims. For more information on travelling using your ABTC see Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) for Australian citizens.
Things to consider before applying
Australians and permanent residents who want to travel overseas should see Smartraveller to get advice on the risks before deciding to travel.
Unvaccinated Australians and permanent residents who apply for a travel exemption must read and acknowledge advice about travel risks, including delays returning to Australia. You must ensure that you have sufficient resources to support yourself overseas for a significant period of time in the likely event of flight cancellations and other disruptions to your travel plans.
Apply online for an exemption
Please make only one request per person. Duplicate requests will delay assessment. If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with travel plans, as you will not be permitted to depart Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you will need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.
Commissioner's Guidelines and Operational Directives
For more information on how we assess travel exemptions, see our guidelines:
- Commissioner’s Guidelines V7 (128KB PDF)
- Inwards Travel Restrictions Operation Directive (513KB PDF)
- Outward Travel Restrictions Operation Directive (298KB PDF)