Further inbound travel exemptions – Update

The Department Of Home Affairs have announced a further category of persons to be automatically exempt from travel restrictions.  Holders of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa can now enter Australia, without obtaining an individual exemption.

Who is exempt from applying for a travel exemption?

Those exempt from requiring individual exemptions are:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent resident of Australia
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members
  • a diplomat (holding a subclass 995 visa)
  • a traveller transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
  • airline crew
  • maritime crew including marine pilots
  • recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • holder of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa

Can I apply for a travel exemption?

You can apply and be granted a travel 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 aid of Australia’s COVID 19 response
  • 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 (such as the death or critical illness of a family member).

How to apply for a travel exemption

You should apply for an exemption no less than two weeks and no more than three month, before your planned travel.  The travel exemption can be applied for online through the Department of Home Affairs website.  To complete a travel exemption request you should already hold a visa and provide the following documents with your request:

  • 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 setting out how you meet one of the grounds for an

What are the processing times for a travel exemption application?

The Department of Home Affairs are finalising the majority of travel exemption requests within 7 days, but some complex requests may take longer.  It is recommended you apply atleast two weeks before you intended travel date.

If I am granted a travel exemption do I need to quarantine on arrival to Australia?

You must quarantine in the city you arrive in for 14 days, even if you plan to travel elsewhere in Australia.

Once you have completed quarantine, you can travel within Australia in line with state and territory domestic travel restrictions. This may include further quarantine requirements.

You may be tested for COVID-19 in the first 48 hours and then between days 10 to 12 of quarantine. If you refuse testing, you may have to quarantine for a longer period. Exact testing arrangements depend on states and territories.

In some states and territories, you may have to pay a contribution to the cost of quarantine.

Further information can be found by contacting the relevant State or Territory health authority.

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