Travel restrictions

Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time. Travel restrictions are subject to change. Please check back regularly. See: National Cabinet media statement.

All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel in their port of arrival.​ See Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for travellers. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. To find out more about quarantine requirements, contact the relevant state or territory government health department.

You cannot come to Australia unless you are in an exempt category or you have been granted an individual exemption to the current travel restrictions.

The majority of travel exemption requests to come to Australia are finalised within 7 days, but some complex requests may take longer.

Update on requesting an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions

We are making it easier to submit and track your travel exemption request with a new purpose-built service delivery platform. The new travel restriction exemption portal provides a range of benefits, including:

  • user-friendly functionality
  • immediate acknowledgement of your request
  • supporting documents can be easily attached and updated
  • group and family requests can be linked
  • you can track the progress of your request
  • immediate notification when a decision has been made.

If you submitted your application before the new portal became available on Friday 17 July 2020, we will have finalised your request. If you submitted before 17 July 2020, and you have not heard from us, please submit another request and we will contact you about your application.

Apply for travel exemption

Exempt categories

You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you are:

* If you hold a temporary visa or do not yet hold a valid visa for Australia, you must provide proof of your relationship (such as your marriage certificate, evidence of your de-facto relationship such as shared finances or property, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children) to the Department before you travel to Australia. Do not travel until we advise that you can. You can find out more about how to provide this information here.

You need to carry evidence that you meet one of the above categories when travelling. Additional evidence may be requested.

Individual exemptions

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant you an individual exemption if you are:

  • a non-citizen travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • a non-citizen with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia
  • a non-citizen sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
  • a non-citizen whose entry would otherwise be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority
  • military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces and Status of Armed Forces Agreement
  • a student completing year 11 and 12, with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department
  • travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.

You must hold a visa and an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You can request an exemption online and must provide appropriate evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. All documents need to be officially translated into English.

You need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than three months, before your planned travel.

Your request must include:

  • traveller details: name, date of birth, visa type and number, passport number
  • proposed residential address and phone number in Australia
  • your reasons for coming: why you should be granted an exemption
  • a supporting statement: setting out how you meet one of the grounds for an exemption
  • accompanying evidence.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans, as you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

Compassionate and compelling reasons to travel

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant you an exemption if you are seeking to travel for compassionate and compelling reasons. Compassionate and compelling reasons include, but are not limited to, needing to travel due to the death or critical illness of a close family member.

You must hold a visa and have an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You can request an exemption online and must provide appropriate evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. All documents need to be officially translated into English.

Where possible, you should apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than three months, before your planned travel. If you are travelling due to the death or critical illness of a close family member, you can apply inside this timeframe and we will prioritise your application.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans, as you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

Apply online for an exemption

You need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than three months, before your planned travel.

To complete a travel exemption request you should already hold a visa and you should provide information and documents to support your request. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. This may include the following:

  • proof of identity
  • evidence that you hold a valid visa
  • travel itinerary
  • marriage, birth, death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship or residence (such as a shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)
  • letter from a doctor or hospital, indicating why travel is necessary
  • letter from an employer indicating why travel is necessary
  • supporting letter from a business or government agency, advising why your skills are critical
  • statutory declaration to support your claims.

Please do not submit multiple requests for one traveller, as only the most recent request will be processed. 

Obtaining a travel exemption does not guarantee you will be able to get a flight to Australia at this time.

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 board a flight to Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you will need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

Apply online

 

For more information on how we assess travel exemptions, see our guidelines: