Inwards Travel Exemption
Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry to Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.
You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you 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 person who has been in New Zealand or Australia for 14 days or more immediately prior to arrival by air in Australia
- a diplomat accredited to Australia, including their immediate family members (each member of the family unit must hold a valid subclass 995 visa)
- a person transiting Australia for 72 hours or less
- airline crew, maritime crew including marine pilots
- a person recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
- a person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner may consider approving an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions in cases where the circumstances do not fall within the prescribed guidelines for individual requests for travel exemptions.
The ABF Commissioner will personally consider all requests for –
- Members of elite sporting teams where an exemption request is anticipated for more than a single sportsperson. This includes requests for accompanying family members or other support persons. Accompanying family members will generally only be approved where the stay in Australia is for 12 months or more.
- People who are enrolled in an Australian education institution as a PhD research student, regardless of the visa type held. Any request from a PhD research student should include evidence of support from a relevant Government agency outlining why the research is considered essential and in Australia’s national interest and how their role is critical to the research.
- People who reside on a vessel that seeks safe port at the closest appointed port for reprovisioning or safety reasons for a limited duration, supported by the relevant State or Territory government where safe haven is sought.
- Year 11/12 students (only where a letter of support from their Australian school and the relevant state or territory health authority is provided). • Anyone considered to be of ‘social or cultural benefit’.
- Visa holders who fall within the at risk/refugee/humanitarian cohort, e.g. Class XB visa holders.
- People providing critical skills in religious or theology fields, including specialist skills within a school context, people holding a senior religious position such as a senior cleric or bishop within a diocese, where no Australian worker is available.
- Other novel, unusual or high risk requests.
Circumstances where foreign nationals may be eligible for an individual travel exemption include:
- Where an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident minor whose parent or parents are in Australia is travelling with a non-exempt traveller , that non-exempt traveller who is accompanying the child may satisfy the compelling and compassionate guidelines.
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response.
- People with critical skills, including nurses, doctors, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews.
- Individuals providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
- People with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture – this includes shearers, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry)
- Individuals delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery – for example in financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology, where no Australian worker is available.
- Individuals providing critical skills in religious or theology fields, including specialist skills within a school context, people holding a senior religious position such as a senior cleric or bishop within a diocese, where no Australian worker is available whose entry would otherwise be in Australia’s national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority.
- Individuals with occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL). The PMSOL prioritises migration for people with critical skills through employer sponsored visa programs to fill skills needs, help create jobs and rebuild Australia’s economy and recovery from COVID-19. These occupations are considered to be critical for the recovery of the Australian economy.
- People working in the media or entertainment industry where there is evidence of significant economic benefit to Australia, and where there is evidence of support from the relevant state or territory government where the event or production is taking place.
- Cases demonstrating strong compassionate circumstances that, if not taken into account, would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship to an Australian citizen or an Australian family unit, where at least one member of the family is an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident.
- Compassionate circumstances regarding the age and/or health and/or psychological state of the person that, if not taken into account, would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship to the person.
- Cases demonstrating strong economic, scientific, cultural or other benefit to Australia would result from the person being permitted to enter Australia.
- The parent or legal guardian of a minor who is lawfully present in Australia and can establish that the minor was usually resident in Australia prior to the introduction of the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
- Students who are in their final two years of study of a medical, dental, nursing or Allied Health Profession university degree, where they have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice which commences within the next two months.
- Non-citizens requiring urgent or critical medical treatment in Australia, including medical evacuations. An accompanying family member may also be considered where a minor requires treatment; where a medical condition is life threatening; or where medical advice supports the requirement for the family member to travel.
- Those seeking to attend a funeral of a close family member.
- Those seeking to visit a close family member who is seriously ill where there is little support in Australia.
- The partner of a person who is in Australia and in the final trimester of their pregnancy or otherwise due to give birth.
- Military personnel, including those who form part of a Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, and Asia Pacific Forces.
- The immediate family member of a non-citizen with critical skills in Australia, where the person in Australia holds a temporary or provisional visa.
- Elite sporting teams who are able to demonstrate how their entry and stay is critical to Australia.
Exemption Requests for Travel from India
Individuals seeking an exemption to travel from India to Australia will only be approved for the following circumstances:
- critical workers providing assistance to Australia’s COVID-19 response.
- travel to Australia in the national interest.
- people travelling due to the death or funeral of a close family member.
- people visiting a close family member who is critically ill.
- people escorting an Australian citizen or permanent resident minor back to Australia, where the parents of the child are in Australia.