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Australian Citizen, Permanent Residents or New Zealand Citizens

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While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is still a risk to be cautious of, the Department of Home Affairs and the border arrangement will temporarily change the policies to protect every people who currently reside in Australia.

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All Australian citizens and permanent residents are restricted from travelling overseas due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, there are exemptions you may apply for only if you fall in any of the following categories:

  • 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 an urgent and unavoidable personal business.
  • Compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • Your travel is in the national interest.

In case you fall on the circumstances mentioned above, you must provide proof when you apply for exemption, which may include:

  • Valid ID
  • Marriage certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Proof of Relationship (e.g. shared tenancy agreement or joint bank account)
  • Visa status
  • Letter from a doctor or hospital explaining why you need to travel.
  • Letter from the employer explaining why it is critical for you to travel as soon as possible.
  • Letter from a related business or company.
  • Any other proof to support your claims.

All evidence you submit for your travel exemption application must be translated to English. You must apply for an exemption at least 48 hours before your intended departure time. Upon exemption grant, you must take the evidence of exemption to the airport.

You don’t need to apply for an exemption if you are:

  1. Ordinary resident in a country other than Australia
  2. Airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers
  3. A New Zealand citizen holding a Special Category visa (subclass 444)
  4. Engaged in the day-to-day conduct of outbound and inbound freight
  5. Associated with essential work at offshore facilities
  6. Travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

You should know that all countries around the globe are also implementing border restrictions in response to COVID-19 and the international air network is reducing their capacity. It will likely impact your ability to enter another country.

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All permanent resident visa holders can stay in Australia indefinitely. However, if you intend to leave the country for a short time and re-enter soon, you need to check your travel validity on your permanent visa grant letter, which is usually a five-year period upon grant. In case your travel facility on your permanent visa has expired, you may need to apply for a Resident Return Visa (RRV), subclass 155/157 to re-enter Australia.

You should know that all travellers arriving in Australia are mandated to take a 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (e.g. hotels) in their port of arrival. You may enter Australia if you are:

  • An Australian Citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • An immediate family member of an Australian citizen
  • An immediate family member of a permanent resident
  • A New Zealand citizen who usually reside in Australia

Immediate family members with a valid temporary visa must provide proof of relationship to enter Australia.

Australian Citizen

All Australian citizens can enter Australia even if you don’t have a valid Australian passport. You may advise the airline staff that you are an Australian citizen and are not require a visa to enter Australia even if you are a dual national. The airline will then contact the Australian Border Force to verify your citizenship. You should also consider going to the airport early to avoid causing delays.

Permanent Resident (PR)

You are required to take the mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility (e.g. hotels) within your port of arrival.

New Zealand citizen who usually reside in Australia

If you’re a New Zealand citizen who usually resides in Australia holding a subclass 444 visa or other permanent or provisional visas can enter Australia. But you must provide proof of residency (e.g. driver’s licence) and present it at check-ins. You are also required to the mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities.

All other New Zealand citizens and permanent residents not living in Australia can only transit across Australia to return to New Zealand.

Immediate family of an Australian citizen or permanent resident

You’ll need to provide information before travelling to Australia. You’re considered as an immediate family member if you are:

  • A spouse
  • De facto partner
  • Dependent child
  • Legal guardian

You are not allowed to enter Australia until you have a valid visa. You must apply for a visa with proof that you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident (e.g. marriage certificate or birth certificate of your child)

For those who have a temporary visa (but not a Partner and Child Visa), you may provide further info to the Department of Home Affairs with proof that you are an immediate family member.

Partner visa and Child Visa holders may come to Australia without requesting for an exemption:

  • Subclass 100
  • Subclass 309
  • Subclass 801
  • Subclass 820
  • Subclass 101
  • Subclass 102
  • Subclass 445

As for the Prospective Marriage visa (subclass 300) holders, you are not allowed enter Australia at the moment.

In case you have a compassionate and or compelling reason to enter Australia you can apply for an exemption.

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For those who need to transit across Australia, you must hold a valid visa or you’re from an eligible country to Transit Without a Visa (TWOV). In case you don’t hold a visa allowing you to travel across Australia, you can apply for a Transit visa (subclass 771). Subclass 771 will allow you to travel across Australia for up to 72 hours while you wait for your upcoming flight.

Eligible New Zealand citizens can transit across Australia if they hold a Special Category Visa (subclass 444.

New Zealander/Pacific Islander Travelling across Australia

You don’t need a transit exemption for your connecting flights departing Australia on your way to your country within 72 hours if you are:

  • A New Zealander Citizen of a Pacific Island Forum country
  • Timor Leste Citizen
  • New Caledonia resident
  • French Polynesia

In case your connecting flight will take more than 72 hours, you’ll have to apply for a transit exemption to the Commissioner of the ABF.

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Export restrictions

All equipment used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is banned for export as per the Australian government’s orders. These includes:

  • Disposable face masks
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable gowns
  • Goggles, glasses or eye visors
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Hand sanitizer.

Exemptions

  • A person departing Australia takes a reasonable quantity of these items for personal use
  • Items are exported by a person for a relative’s personal use, and they are not sent by international mail
  • Items are exported by a humanitarian organisation and they are not sent by international mail
  • Items have been manufactured by the exporter and they are not sent by international mail
  • Exported Items are a person’s normal business (registered under the GST Act and with an ABN) and they are not sent by international mail
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Following the COVID-19 crisis, all face-to-face citizenship ceremonies were put on hold until further notice.

Conferees usually have 12 months upon their notice of approval period to attend a ceremony to pledge their citizenship commitment. However, considering the COVID-19 outbreak, all citizenship approval won’t be cancelled if the conferee can’t attend a ceremony within their 12-month grace period.

As of the moment, the Department of Home Affairs is working to introduce an online ceremony via a secured video link. Allowing people to continue their goal to become an Australian citizen. The Department will be the one in contact with conferees with full details in due course, no need for you to contact your local council regarding your ceremony.

Applying for Citizenship

All new applications are still accepted by the Department at this moment. Processing is ongoing for all applications for Australian citizenship that have been lodged with the Department.

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Need Help?

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fill in the form below and get initial 15-minute phone assessment for free!

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