The purpose of this message is to provide you with the recent updates on the travel restrictions and exemptions for Australia.  These updates may be relevant to our mutual clients and we may be reaching out accordingly.

Australia’s borders are currently closed and international travel from Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Travel restrictions are subject to change in response to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

Exemption requests for travel from India

Based on current health advice, travel restrictions for travel from India to Australia have returned to global settings.  Individuals seeking an exemption to travel from India to Australia can apply for a travel exemption through the travel exemptions portal.

Ordinarily resident outside Australia

On 1 August 2021 the Minister for Health and Aged Care amended the Biosecurity Determination 2020.  From 11 August 2021 Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in a country outside Australia will not be automatically exempt from Australia’s outward travel restrictions.  From this date, you must apply for a travel exemption through the travel exemption portal.

Supporting evidence must be provided and may include:

  • foreign government issued documentation, for example
    • foreign drivers licence
    • foreign government issued residency card
  • evidence you have an established and settled home overseas, for example
    • tenancy/residential agreement
    • utility bills, rate notices
  • evidence you are employed or have ongoing business interests overseas
    • letter from your employer/employment contract in a foreign country
    • business tenancy agreement

If a resident has planned travel and has not been assessed as meeting the ordinarily resident requirements, they will need to apply for a travel exemption through the travel exemption portal under the ‘ordinarily resident’ category.

If a resident has received a travel exemption approval before 11 August 2021 and has not yet travelled, they may use this exemption for a single departure from Australia.  They do not need to apply for another exemption, unless they have already travelled using their previous approval, or wish to depart again in the future.

If a resident is outside Australia and wants to travel to Australia then return to their country of residence, they can apply for an outwards exemption before they arrive in Australia.  Exemptions are valid for 3 months from the date of approval.

Transitional period until 7 September 2021

Until 7 September 2021, travellers who arrive at the airport without an exemption, will be allowed to travel if their status as ordinarily resident overseas can be confirmed by an ABF officer at departure.  These travellers will be advised that for future travel they will need to apply for an exemption in advance through the travel exemption portal.

Automatic exemptions

You are exempt from travel restrictions, and can leave Australia without applying for an exemption if you are:

  • 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 on the department’s website for more information.  Note that quarantine-free travel from Australia to New Zealand is currently suspended.

Travel restrictions are subject to change, you can stay up to date by visiting the following link:

Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.