COVID-19: Travel exemptions determined by the Commissioner

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), strict travel restrictions have been imposed when travelling to Australia.

Student visa holders (Subclass 500), Prospective Marriage visa (SC300), Business and Innovation SC188 visa holders, regional SC 491 visa and 494 visa holders and Visitor visa SC 600 and 601 who are currently outside of Australia may apply for an exemption application and if an exemption is granted you can travel to Australia.

You may apply for an exemption, for example in these situations:

  • 188 visa holders who have an active and operating business in Australia and their close dependents (spouse and children) are in Australia and left Australia before the travel ban and have been absent for a short period of time; and
  • SC491 and 494 visa holders who are working in Australia (and have not lost their job due to COVID-19) and their spouse and children are living in Australia and left Australia before the travel ban and have been absent for a short period of time.

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider an additional exemption in relation to the travel restrictions currently in place for:

  • Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
  • Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
  • Persons with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
  • Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia, and their immediate family
  • ​Case-by-case exceptions may also be granted for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.
  • Exemptions must be granted prior to these travellers undertaking travel to Australia. The request for an exemption through Commissioner’s Discretion must be accompanied by:
    • Passenger details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, Australian residential address, Australian telephone number)
    • Case information: why this case should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
    • Supporting statement: the request should be accompanied by a statement and evidence of how the individual meets one of the grounds for an exemption or excise of the Commissioner’s discretion listed above.

It is important that all travellers provide evidence to DHA that they meet one of the exemptions above before travelling. For example if are an immediate family member holding a temporary visa you will need to provide us with evidence of your relationship.

Travellers who have a compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia can also use this form to apply for an exemption.

For COVID-19 visa related travel questions / 408 visa eligibility you can book a time here: (25 min)

If you would like a comprehensive consultation which includes assessing you for other temporary and permanent visa options (Skilled visas, Employer Sponsored, Partner, etc.) as well, we recommend our standard 45 minute to 1 hour consultation which can be scheduled here: (45 min)

Recent News

1 July 2020 Migration update for Skilled and Business visas

Where do Skilled migrants to Australia come from?

Which countries do Business Migrants come from?

NSW immigration eases 491 visa criteria and extends cut-off date to 26 June 2020

NSW Immigration opens for the 491 visa from 15 to 26 June 2020