New travel exemption added for Australians leaving Australia

Travel Exemptions Outbound – Conditions

  • a travel exemption is valid for one outwards movement only, unless it is a stipulated multiple use exemption
  • travel exemptions lodged prior to 9 February 2021 do not have a validity period and remain valid as long as the reason for travel remains the same
  • travel exemptions lodged on 9 February 2021 onwards have a three month travel validity from date of approval and remain valid for one outwards movement during this period, at the completion of the validity period if no movement has required they traveller will be required to apply again.

As per Prime Minister’s statement, parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents are to be classified as ‘immediate family’ for travel to Australia from 1 November 2021 and therefore will be able to travel to Australia without an exemption if they have a valid visa to enter Australia and the state or territory allows it. 

Related: Travel exemption applications now open for parents of Australians

23 April 2021 update on people intending to leave Australia to another country through the Australia-New Zealand Travel Bubble:

Australians who use the New Zealand travel bubble to fly onto the rest of the world should be aware of the below: Changes have been made to the Biosecurity legislation (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential). The amended Entry Requirements reflect the health advice of the Director of Human Biosecurity that a declaration from individuals who have travelled to a third country outside the safe travel zone aligns with the purpose of preventing COVID-19 from being introduced to, establishing and spreading in Australian territory. It is designed to reinforce the current public health advice that Australian citizens and permanent residents should only be using the New Zealand safe travel zone exemption to travel to New Zealand unless they have a compassionate reason, or required urgent medical treatment not reasonably available in New Zealand or Australia, that required the person to travel to a third country. 

Compassionate reasons may include the death or serious illness of a close family member of the individual or of a close family member of the spouse or de facto partner of the individual. The intention of including compassionate reason is to provide for circumstances that could not have been known to the individual prior to their departure from Australia to travel to New Zealand. 

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.

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.

Consultations can be made via Video Google Meet, Skype, Phone.

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- $160)


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