Coming to Australia - British Travel
Coming to Australia2021-03-26T00:55:31+08:00

Travel restrictions and exemptions

Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time. Travel restrictions are subject to change.

Exempt categories

You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you are:

* If you hold a temporary visa or do not yet hold a valid visa for Australia, you must provide proof of your relationship (such as your marriage certificate, evidence of your de-facto relationship such as shared finances or property, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children) to the Department before you travel to Australia. Do not travel until we advise that you can. You can find out more about how to provide this information at Immediate family of Australian citizens or permanent residents or New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia.

You need to carry evidence that you meet one of the above categories when travelling. Additional evidence may be requested.

Individual exemptions

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force and decision makers may grant you an individual exemption if you are:

  • a foreign national 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
  • a foreign national whose entry into Australia would be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority
  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • a foreign national with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia
  • a foreign national sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
  • 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 person who resides 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 
  • a student completing year 11 and 12, with endorsement from the federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and; support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department. Further information regarding this process can be found at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
  • a student in your final two years of study of a medical, dental, nursing or allied health profession university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice which begins within the next two months.
  • travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.

You must hold a visa and an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You can request an exemption online and must provide appropriate evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. All documents need to be officially translated into English.

You need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before your planned travel.

Your request must include:

  • traveller details: name, date of birth, visa type and number, passport number
  • proposed residential address and phone number in Australia
  • your reasons for coming: why you should be granted an exemption
  • a supporting statement: setting out how you meet one of the grounds for an exemption
  • accompanying evidence.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans, as you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

Compassionate and compelling reasons to travel

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant you an exemption if you are seeking to travel for compassionate and compelling reasons. Compassionate and compelling reasons include, but are not limited to, needing to travel due to the death or critical illness of a close family member.

You must hold a visa and have an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You can request an exemption online and must provide appropriate evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. All documents need to be officially translated into English.

Where possible, you should apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before your planned travel. If you are travelling due to the death or critical illness of a close family member, you can apply inside this timeframe and we will prioritise your application.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans, as you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

Apply online for an exemption

If you are not in an exempt category you can request an individual exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions using the Travel Exemption portal.

You need to apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before your planned travel.

To complete a travel exemption request you should hold a visa, or have applied for a visa, and provide information and documents to support your request. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. This may include the following:

  • 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 to support your claims.

Obtaining a travel exemption does not guarantee you will be able to get a flight to Australia at this time.

Please make only one request per person. Duplicate requests will delay assessment.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with travel plans, as you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia. If you are granted a travel exemption, you will need to take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

You may also need a VISA

You should reconsider your need to apply for an Australian visa at this time and check this page regularly for updates on travel restrictions and visa processing.

Visa processing arrangements

You cannot come to Australia unless:

You must also have a valid visa.

We are prioritising processing visa applications for those travellers in the exempt categories to support urgent travel.

We encourage applicants to apply online wherever possible, as these applications will be processed faster than those lodged on paper.

We are trialling an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) mobile app (AustralianETA) for some ETA-eligible passport holders while the travel restrictions are in place.

You can apply for an ETA through the app if:

Before you can travel on an ETA, you must also be exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions.

Grant of an ETA through the app does not mean you have been considered for or granted an exemption to travel to Australia. You still need to apply for a travel exemption and provide evidence to support your claims. If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans, as you will not be permitted to board a flight to Australia.

Please note that use of the Australian ETA app incurs a non-refundable service fee of $20. An ETA does not allow you to work in Australia, or stay longer than three months.

Visit the app store to download the Australian ETA app

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