August 16, 2021

Travel Exemption Applications during boarder closures – Depart/Enter Australia

Due to the unpreceded world pandemic, Australian boarders are closed and the following restrictions apply

  • Australian citizens and Permanent residents cannot leave Australia unless they are granted an exemption.
  • Most of the people wanting to enter Australia will also require an exemption unless they fall under one of the exempt categories.


Australian citizen and permanent residents departing Australia

Australian citizen and permanent residents cannot leave Australia unless they are granted an exemption.

The exemption should be acquired prior to travel and are applied for to the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner.

Reasons the travel exemptions can be granted to depart Australia:

  • the travel is part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid;
  • an applicant is travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia;
  • an applicant is travelling outside Australia for three months or longer;
  • an applicant is travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds;
  • the travel is in the national interest

No exemption is required if a traveller is:

  • 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 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)

More information about the current travel restriction are available via The Department of Home Affairs website and can be found here.

Compelling and Compassionate Reasons

For compelling and compassionate reasons to travel, there are exemption is available.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, Compelling and Compassionate Reasons include, but are not limited to, needing to travel due to the death or critical illness of a close family member.

An officer assessing your application will make the decision using their discretion.

It is important to submit your best application in order to convince the decision maker to make the decision in your favour. This is were we can help. We have vast experience with the exemption submission letters and know what documents might assists to support of your case.


Temporary visa holders departing Australia

Non-Australian citizen or permanent residents do not require an exemption to leave Australia.

They do need to be aware, however, if they wish to come back to Australia, they will require a travel exemption.

If a temporary visa holder needs to take a short trip overseas during the boarder closures, they need to apply for an inward exemption preferably before they leave Australia (otherwise they might not be able to return). These applications will generally will only be approved if:

  • the applicant meets the requirements for an individual exemption from Australia’s Inward Travel Restrictions, and
  • they have a strong compassionate or compelling reason to leave Australia supported by relevant documentary evidence, for example:

o          attending the funeral of a close family member overseas, visiting a close family member who is seriously or critically ill, or seeking necessary medical treatment not available in Australia, or

o          travel is essential for business purposes


How Sydney Visa can help?



People will require an exemption to enter Australia during the COVID-19 boarder closures unless they are:

  • an Australian citizen or 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
  • airline crew, maritime crew, and associated safety workers
  • 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
  • a person recruited under the Government approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme
  • a person who holds a Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (subclass 188) visa


For everyone else, the exemption should be acquired prior to travel and are applied for to the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner.

Unless arriving on a quarantine-free flight from New Zealand, all people arriving in Australia are

required to undertake a mandatory government controlled 14 day quarantine period at designated

facilities (for example, a hotel) in their port of arrival, unless they have received an exemption from

the relevant state or territory government health authority.


Immediate Family Member

According to the Australian Boarder Force, immediate family member is a spouse, de facto partner, dependent child, legal guardian

To qualify as a de factor partner, evidence of 12 months leaving together needs to be demonstrated. Alternatively, your relationship needs to be a registered de factor relationship or you need to provide compelling evidence why the travel exemption should be grated.

Visa holders (subclass 100, 309, 801, 820, 101, 102, 445) are exempt and do not need to apply for an exemption. Prospective marriage visa holders 300 who have applied for the visa  at least 12 months ago and have had their visa granted, are eligible to apply for a travel exemption. The Prospective Marriage Visa holers will need to supply appropriate evidence to support their relationship status. 


Reasons for Travel Exemptions

Australian Boarder Force will consider the following reasons for traveling to Australia during COVID-19:

  • a person 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 person whose entry into Australia would be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority;
  • a person providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • a person 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 student completing year 11 and 12, with support from the relevant Australian State or Territory government health authority and education department
  • a student in your final 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 commences within the next two months
  • travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.

How Sydney Visa can help?

  1. You can discuss your exemption application with one of our agents and receive a professional advise about your circumstances. The cost of this extended consultation is $380 (+GST if applicable)
  2. Consultation, preparation and lodgement of an application to DEPART Australia$880 (+GST if applicable) – includes 1 re-lodgement if required
  3. Consultation, preparation and lodgement of an application to ENTER Australia$1180 (+GST if applicable) – includes 1 re-lodgement if required

The package includes:

  • a customised plan that clearly demonstrates your requirement to travel in or out of Australia
  • collaborative work on your personal statements that address your compelling or compassionate reasons
  • advise on gathering required evidence to meet the standards of the Australian Boarder Force
  • agent’s submission letter highlighting the reasons for your need to travel