New travel exemption added for Australians leaving Australia

Due to COVID-19, the government has put in place strict border measures to protect the health of the Australian community. There are travel restrictions in place and Australian citizens and permanent residents are only allowed to travel in limited circumstances.

A new travel exemption has been added recently to the below list. If you are travelling outside Australia for three months or longer, you may be eligible to apply for an exemption.

If you are seeking exemption from Australia’s outbound travel restrictions on the basis that you are leaving Australia for three months or longer, your proposed travel must be for a compelling reason and you must provide evidence to support your claims.

This evidence must be provided in the form of a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration.

The Statutory Declaration must state you are making an application for travel exemption on the basis that you intend to be absent from Australia for more than three months.

Evidence may include:

  • confirmed flight itinerary, with return date of at least three months after departure date
  • confirmation of leave from employment for three months
  • enrolment confirmation for study
  • a doctor’s certificate to support your claim you are travelling in order to provide care for sick family members
  • any other matter you wish to raise in support of your request for exemption.

Note: A person who makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence – refer to section 11 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959.

Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided, or is not provided in a Statutory Declaration.

The Australian Border Force will monitor compliance with periods of declared travel.

All evidence supporting a travel exemption claim needs to be officially translated into English.

Australians who want to travel overseas should see Smartraveller to get advice on the risks before deciding to travel.

You should only travel if you have a compelling reason and it is essential that you travel now. Regular disruptions to travel plans (including flight cancellations and quarantine requirements in other countries and on return to Australia) and limits to consular assistance should be expected, due to the risks to public health.

If you apply for a travel exemption, you must read and acknowledge advice about travel risks, including delays returning to Australia. You must ensure that you have sufficient resources to support yourself overseas for a significant period of time in the likely event of flight cancellations and other disruptions to your travel plans.

Travel exemption requests that are submitted without appropriate documentary evidence to support your claim will not be approved.

You should apply for an exemption at least two weeks, but not more than two months before your planned travel. Please make only one request per person. Duplicate requests will delay assessment. The majority of travel exemption requests to depart Australia are finalised within 48 hours, but some complex requests may take longer.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans. If granted an exemption, you must take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption. You can apply online but you must meet at least one of the following:

  • 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.

You must provide evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. Evidence may include:

  • passport/s
  • marriage certificate/s
  • birth certificate/s
  • death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)*
  • proof that you are moving to another country on a long term basis such as leases, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported
  • proof of your current valid visa, including in Australia and/or overseas
  • letter from a doctor or hospital about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary
  • letter from your employer, or other evidence that you are travelling for a business reason
  • statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
  • any other proof you may have to support your claims.

You can apply for the exemption online. To apply, you must provide evidence to substantiate your claim. You may need to provide the following documents:

  • passport/s
  • marriage certificate/s
  • birth certificate/s
  • death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)*
  • proof that you are moving to another country on a long term basis such as leases, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported
  • proof of your current valid visa, including in Australia and/or overseas
  • letter from a doctor or hospital about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary
  • letter from your employer, or other evidence that you are travelling for an essential business reason
  • statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
  • any other proof you may have to support your claims.

Whilst most travel exemption requests are finalised in 48 hours, some requests may take longer. It is therefore best to submit the online request at least two weeks, but not more than three months prior to travel.

Source

For more information on how we assess travel exemptions, see our guidelines:

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