Travel Exemption Applications – Depart/Enter Australia

We are helping people to depart or enter Australia during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) travel restrictions by preparing and lodging travel exemption applications.

Travel Exemption Applications

Australian citizens or Permanent residents cannot leave Australia unless you are exempt.

People will need an exemption to enter Australia unless they fall under one of the available exempt categories.

Click on the headings below to be taken to the relevant section:

Travelling to Australia

People are wanting to travel to Australia for a variety of reasons, such as to be with their partner, family, for work or to live in Australia.

People will need an exemption to enter Australia unless they are:

  • an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or
  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or
  • a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia, or
  • a person who has been in New Zealand for 14 days or more immediately prior to arrival by air in Australia, or
  • a person transiting Australia for 72 hours or less, or
  • airline crew, maritime crew including marine pilots, or
  • 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.

As mentioned above, people will need an exemption to enter Australia unless they are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia, a traveller transiting Australia for 72 hours or less, an airline crew or a maritime crew.

Exemption applications are applied for to the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and must be applied for and granted before you travel to Australia.

The travel restrictions have been put in place to help protect Australia from the current global pandemic COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

People who are able to travel to Australia during this time are required to quarantine for 14 days and you may be required to pay for the cost of quarantine.

 

Immediate family member

The definition of an Immediate Family Member being used by the Australian Border Force includes a spouse, de facto partner, dependent child, legal guardian

A person is a spouse if they are married. 

There is an additional 12 month living together requirement to meet the definition of de facto. The Department of Home Affairs website states that the 12 month living together requirement can be overcome by providing evidence of a registered relationship or explaining the compelling and compassionate circumstances why the exemption should be granted. 

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 will still need to apply for an exemption.

For comprehensive information about evidence of your relationship that you can use to strengthen your travel exemption application, check out our partner visa page. 

 

Travel Exemption Reasons

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider the following reasons for grant of an exemption to travel to Australia:

  • 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.

Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

The 17 occupations (ANZSCO code) are:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)

Critical Skills

  • 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, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry)
  • delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available
  • providing critical skills in religious or theology fields
  • sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)

Travelling from Australia

Temporary visa holders leaving Australia

Temporary visa holders do not need an exemption to leave Australia. They can leave at any time, as long as border restrictions in their home country allow them to return.

Temporary visa holders should be aware that if they wish to return to Australia while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, they will generally need a travel exemption.

Temporary visa holders leaving Australia for a short trip overseas

Temporary visa holders in Australia can depart Australia at any time, however, they will generally not be permitted to return to Australia.
Temporary visa holders seeking to leave and then return to Australia, may apply for an inwards exemption before they leave, however applications will generally 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:
    • 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
    • travel is essential for business purposes

Australians and permanent residents leaving Australia

People are wanting to leave Australia for a variety of reasons, such as to be with their partner, family, for work or to live overseas.

As mentioned above, Australian citizens or permanent residents cannot leave Australia unless you are exempt.

Exemption applications are applied for to the Australian Border Force (ABF) Commissioner and must be applied for and granted before you can leave Australia.

The travel restrictions have been put in place to help protect Australia from the current global pandemic COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Reasons that you can be granted a travel exemption to leave Australia:

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

You are exempt (do not need to apply for 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 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)

The Department of Home Affairs have published the following information about the current travel restrictions which can be found here.

*Ordinarily resident

You are considered ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia if international movement records show that you’ve spent more time outside Australia than inside for the last 12 to 24 months. You do not need to carry a paper record of your movements with you. If required, Australian Border Force officers at airports can check your movement records in their systems.

If you do not think you need a travel exemption, you can present this evidence when you check-in at the airport. However, if you have any doubt about whether your circumstances fall within the definition of ordinarily resident, we recommend you lodge a request for assessment at least two weeks prior to your intended departure.

Compassionate or Compelling Reasons

There is an exemption available for compelling or compassionate reasons.

From the Department of Home Affairs website, 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.

The person assessing the application will be using their discretion when making a decision on your application.

It is very important to ensure that your strongest application is put forward to give you the best chance of convincing the decision maker to use their discretion in your favour. This is where we can help you as we are experienced with submission writing.

Exemption Application Refused

Many exemption applications are being refused.

The physical exemption application is a simple process however many people are receiving refusals because they are not putting forward their strongest application.

Putting forward your strongest application requires a carefully thought out plan of action, compiling and presenting the evidence. This is where we can help you as we are experienced with visa, citizenship and travel exemption applications.

How Visa & Citizenship Lawyers can help

We have helped well over 500 people obtain a travel exemption. We are very familiar with the process and what we need from you to be able to help you.

We offer 3 travel exemption services: 

1. Consultation: Travel exemption consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer = $360 (plus GST if applicable).

2. Depart Australia: Consultation AND prepare and lodge application to DEPART Australia = $1, 245 plus GST in total including 2 x re-lodgement if required. 

3. Enter Australia: Consultation AND prepare and lodge application to ENTER Australia = $1,790 (plus GST if applicable) in total including 2 x re-lodgement if required.

Consultation: This is where we devise a travel exemption plan specific to your circumstances. The consultation will be online (via a video call through Zoom) or in person if you are in Sydney.

The consultation includes:

  • Complete assessment of your circumstances
  • Clearly set out advice and options
  • Visa advice (if relevant)
  • List of suggested documents for a travel exemption application
  • Any other relevant information that you should know.

The consultation and travel exemption plan will be with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.

The consultation and travel exemption plan is $360 (plus GST if applicable). After the consultation, you will be equipped to know what to prepare to lodge the travel exemption application yourself, or you may then opt for us to work with you on your evidence and prepare and lodge the exemption application from our business account along with our immigration lawyer's submissions setting out why the travel exemption
should be granted.

Prepare and lodge your travel exemption application: We prepare and lodge your travel exemption application from our account to ensure that your strongest application is submitted. We have had clients come to us with multiple refusals before engaging our services where we have been able to obtain an exemption for them. As part of this service, we create a tailored strategy that clearly demonstrates your need to travel.

This may include:

  • Detailed suggestions of recommended evidence based on your
    situation;
  • Working with you to provide personal statements that address
    compelling or compassionate reasons;
  • Collating evidence to comply with the strict requirements of the
    Australian Border Force (ABF);
  • Our own written submissions that highlight your need to travel;
  • Prioritising your matter so that you can be where you need to be, as
    soon as possible.

We have had success having some of our client’s exemption applications escalated in the processing queue when there was an important reason why it should be escalated (this may be possible for you based on your circumstances).

Our professional fees to prepare and lodge your exemption application are:
1. Depart Australia: Consultation AND prepare and lodge application to DEPART Australia = $1,245 plus GST in total including 2 x re-lodgement if required.
2. Enter Australia: Consultation AND prepare and lodge application to ENTER Australia = $1,790 (plus GST if applicable) in total including 2 x re-lodgement if required.

 

Relevant news articles
Our immigration Adam Byrnes has recently featured on TV and newspapers regarding Travel Exemption applications:
Read here three Sydney Morning Herald Articles we have featured in:

Appeal your Refused Decision in Court

If you have had multiple travel exemption refusals, there may be available to you the option to appeal the refusal decision in Court. Contact us for an initial travel exemption consultation if you would like to discuss Court appeal options. 

Below are examples of how we have helped our clients get an exemption.

Example 1* (Travelling from Australia)

Sue is an Australian citizen who received the unfortunate news that her mother living in the USA was terminally ill and had been given the prognosis of only a few weeks left to live. Sue applied for an exemption application to depart Australia so that she could see her mother again and to be with the extended family during this very challenging time.

Sue’s exemption application was refused.

Sue engaged Visa & Citizenship Lawyers to prepare and lodge a 2nd exemption application.
We asked Sue a number of questions to get the full understanding of her circumstances and then guided her to gather evidence so that we could put forward stronger compassionate reasons.

We worked with Sue to finalise all the evidence and along with our own submissions, we lodged a 2nd exemption application which was granted in a matter of days.

 

Example 2* (Travelling to Australia)

Max is a 75 year old New Zealand citizen who has his son and grandchildren living in Australia. Max’s plans were to move to Australia permanently to live with his son and grandchildren. Max had taken measures to move to Australia including selling his house in New Zealand, purchasing a house in Australia, sending to Australia all of his belongings (including his cat and dog!).

Max twice lodged an exemption application and twice had been refused.

Max engaged Visa & Citizenship Lawyers to prepare and lodge an exemption application.

We asked Max a few questions that were “outside the usual box” of thinking and with that information we suggested that Max and his family members gather specific evidence which we then used in a new application and Max was granted the exemption he was after.

 

*Names and facts have been changed to protect the identity of our clients

Our Services

We have helped well over 500 people obtain a travel exemption. We are very familiar with the process and what we need from you to be able to help you.

We offer 3 travel exemption services:
1. Consultation: Travel exemption consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer = $360 (plus GST if applicable).
2. Depart Australia: Consultation AND prepare and lodge application to DEPART Australia = $1, 245 plus GST.
3. Enter Australia: Consultation AND prepare and lodge application to ENTER Australia = $1,790 (plus GST if applicable).

Exemption Applications For: 

Two Partners on a Temporary Visa

A Partner of an Australian citizen or permanent resident

Hanne Haugen
Hanne Haugen
July 16, 2020.
Verified review
Adam at Visa & Citizenship Lawyers made the difficult and lengthy process of applying for a 820 partnership visa, smooth and easy to navigate. His knowledge and expertise was incredibly helpful, and provided reassurance and calm in a stressful situation, with a huge document load and evidence to compile. He also ensured that the 801 visa and permanent residency came through straight after the 820 was granted - which I wasn't aware was possible and wouldn't have been able to achieve had I gone it alone. His dedication and clear communication throughout was second to none. I cannot thank and recommend Visa & Citizenship Lawyers enough.
Catherine Wright
Catherine Wright
June 4, 2020.
Verified review
VisaCitizenship Lawyers Much appreciation and thanks to Adam and the team. After my many attempts to gain a border exemption into Australia during the pandemic, it has finally been granted on first attempt via Adam. So much stress has been lifted. My only regret is that I didn’t try this company first. Thank you Catherine
Sascha Retter
Sascha Retter
May 29, 2020.
Verified review
Adam helped us very much with the application for a partner visa which I’ve got yesterday - after 19 months. Quicker then we thought. Thank you Adam for the support and professional help.
Viki Hayward
Viki Hayward
May 20, 2020.
Verified review
Adam and his team gave very prompt and professional service for a complicated visa application. Highly recommend.
Nick Plomp
Nick Plomp
May 2, 2020.
Verified review
As a foreigner, immigration in Australia can be a complex thing. Overnight changes, small writing, changing governments, 457,186,187 etc. We, a Dutch family of four, reached out to Adam and his team for Permanent Residency. Visa & Citizenship Lawyers excelled in thoroughness and diligence, which in our eyes resulted in a flawless process and a granted PR. We've already recommended Visa & Citizenship Lawyers to numerous friends and they experience the same. Thank you so much, Nick.
Otto Gonzalez
Otto Gonzalez
April 13, 2020.
Verified review
We couldn't imagine doing our whole migration process for my spouse without the professional and efficient handling of our case by the team at Visa & Citizenship Lawyers. Their attention to detail and customer service puts you at ease and makes the whole red tape easy to handle. We highly recommend anyone entertaining the idea of initiating a migration process here or outside Australia. Overall, fantastic. Thank you guys. All the best, Otto & Luca
James Laughland
James Laughland
April 9, 2020.
Verified review
AS a UK lawyer applying for permanent residency in AUS I valued Adam's knowledge on all matters of immigration law and his efficient working practices that allowed all information to be uploaded electronically. Trying to navigate the system without his advice and support would have been daunting.
BlownLux Barangaroo
BlownLux Barangaroo
April 7, 2020.
Verified review
The team at Visa & Citizenship Lawyers take care of our sponsorship, nomination and visa applications and have assisted us over the years with securing a number of our hairdressing staff on 457 and 482 visas. We highly recommend their services for immigration matters.
Douglas Benzie
Douglas Benzie
March 20, 2020.
Verified review
Helped my friend with a lot of visa questions. Thank
Kate White
Kate White
March 18, 2020.
Verified review
Adam is a lifesaver. He guides my clients for AAT tribunal matters with visa refusals; such as student visa refusals, partner visa refusals, business visa and sponsorship refusals. An absolute professional and highly recomended if you need visa help.