How to apply for an exemption to travel overseas

by | Aug 26, 2020 | Blog

If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to current travel restrictions.  A person who fails to comply with the restrictions may commit a criminal offence (imprisonment for maximum 5 years) or face a penalty of up to 63,000 AUD.

However, there are people who are exempt:

  • 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
  • engaged in the day-to-day conduct of outbound freight
  • associated with essential work at Australian offshore facilities
  • travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

An exempt people can present relevant evidence when they check-in at the airport.  However, if there are any doubts whether a person fall within the above definition, it is necessary to apply for an The relevant application must be lodged at least two weeks, but not more than three months before the planned travel. Each person who is planning to travel should lodge a separate request. 

An exemption could be granted if the person meets at least one of the following:

  • travelling  is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid 
  • travelling is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)
  • person is  travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • person is travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • person is travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • travelling is in the national interest.

Request for an exemption should be supported by relevant evidence as passport/s; birth/marriage/death certificates; proof of relationship; proof that a person is moving to another country on a long term basis (job offers and evidence that person’s goods are been transported); letter from a doctor about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary; letter from an employer showing why the travel is necessary; documents to show when a person  wishes to return to Australia etc.

The request should be lodged on-line through the website of the Department of Home Affairs:

For questions about Australian visas and Immigration matters please contact a Registered Migration Agent.

Yana Asmalovskaya

Mobile: 0413392894  


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1 Comment

  1. Liezel Summers

    Good morning,

    Wow, I think I accidently found your website…. and hopefully you will be able to assist me.

    I recently moved back to Australia from South Africa (Citizenship in both Australia and South Africa). We lived in South Africa for the last 5 years and myself and my 2 daughters moved back in December. Want to find out – as no one able to assist – am I then seen as an ordinarily resident – due to my time spend in South Africa? Do I need to apply for exemption as the website states that I don’t need to if I am an ordinarily resident.

    Also – my friend in South Africa is a specialized Dentist with his private practice and interested in relocating to Australia. Can you please assist me with this? Is there any organizations who would be interested in sponsoring?

    Thanks so much!


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