In what circumstances can an Australian citizen or permanent resident leave Australia?

The Australian government is encouraging Australians not to travel overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These measures are in place to protect our community and to alleviate the need for any more pressure than there already is on authorities and the quarantine system when returning to Australia.

Since 22 January 2021, if you are travelling to or transiting through Australia you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to your airline. The test must have been undertaken no more than 72 hours before your flight.

Masks are also mandatory worn on all international flights, including at airports.

You cannot leave Australia unless you have an exemption. You must satisfy one of the following exemptions:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
  • your travel is for your business/employer
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling outside Australia for a compelling reason for three months or longer
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds
  • your travel is in the national interest.

It is imperative that you support evidence to support your exemption.

You must provide evidence to support your claims. Your request for an exemption will be rejected if you do not provide sufficient evidence and information.

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

  • ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
  • 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)

Each application for an exemption is considered on its merits and the government has through the Commissioner of Border Force put out guidelines and operational directives as to the evidence required and the considerations that will be considered. Find out more information here.

At FC Lawyers, we can assist you with your applications for travel exemptions.

Contact our team today to discuss your immigration options.