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Non-citizens

Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Australia, including state and territory border restrictions, business closures and social distancing requirements, international visitors are encouraged to return home when possible to do so.

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 about the Commissioner’s Exemption, see Coming to Australia.

Australians and permanent residents

If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption. You can apply online but you must meet at least one of the following:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid 
  • your travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • your travel is in the national interest.

You must provide evidence to support your claims that may include:

  • passport/s
  • marriage certificate/s
  • birth certificate/s
  • death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)
  • visa status
  • 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
  • your current visa status, 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 an employer showing why the travel is necessary or that the work undertaken by you is critical
  • statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
  • any other proof you may have to support your claims.

All evidence supporting a travel exemption claim needs to be officially translated into English.

You should apply for an exemption at least 48 hours before, but not more than 3 months before your planned travel.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans. If granted an exemption, you must take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

You will not need to apply for an exemption if you are: 

  • ordinarily resident in 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 the day-to-day conduct of outbound freight
  • associated with essential work at offshore facilities
  • travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.