Australia has also implemented strict rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The visa for Australia can in many cases no longer be used, though a number of exceptions do apply. On this page, you can read what the impact of coronavirus is on your travel plans and your Australia visa. Updated on 08-07-2021.
Has the coronavirus reached Australia?
Yes. As of 8 July 2021, there have been 30,904 infections and 910 deaths from corona in Australia. About 8.4 million vaccines have been set in Australia - out of a population of 25.36 million. In principle, anyone who wants to can get vaccinated for free - including travellers on temporary visas - provided that enough vaccines are available. Since October, the virus seems to be relatively well under control in the country. Due to a cluster of infections in New South Wales, stricter restrictions have again been in place in that state since late June. Flights from New South Wales and Queensland to New Zealand remain suspended until further notice.
Are visa applications currently being approved?
Currently, it is still possible to submit an application for an eVisitor visa Australia. This visa type is suited for holidays and business trips. However, approval of applications can take some time, likely until the moment the entry ban is lifted. Since the Australia visa is valid for one year, it can already be applied for for a trip in the next 12 months.
Can I still use my Australia visa during the coronavirus crisis?
Due to the coronavirus, no travellers are currently allowed into Australia. Only three exceptions are made. Firstly, for inhabitants of Australia. These are defined as: people that have the Australian nationality or are a permanent resident of Australia. Secondly, for direct family of people with the Australian nationality or with a permanent resident status. And thirdly, for people with New Zealand nationality living in Australia, and people that have been in New Zealand for at least 14 days prior to their trip. Travellers that do not fall under any of these categories but have a pressing reason to travel to Australia, can apply for an exception to the travel ban at the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Travellers who do not fall under this and have an urgent reason to travel to Australia, as well as immediate family members of Australian citizens or residents of Australia, can apply for an exemption from the entry ban at the Australian Department of Home Affairs. They need special permission from the immigration service in addition to a valid visa. This applies, for example, to people working in a critical industry or who have essential skills to provide medical services. The exemption must be applied for at least two weeks, but no more than three months, before the planned trip if possible.
Transferring in Australia is still possible for countries that do not require a visa to make transfers in Australia, which includes the United Kingdom and Ireland, and for travellers with a transit visa. However, these travellers must possess a ticket for the transfer and can only stay in Australia for a maximum of 72 hours. Travellers who have a transit of 8 to 72 hours are quarantined until their next flight.
The coronavirus (Covid-19) is causing a lot of problems for travelling with an Australia visa
When can I travel to Australia again?
It is currently not known when you can travel to Australia again on a normal visa. Early May 2021, the Australian government announced that its borders might stay closed for foreign travellers until 2022. It is currently being investigated whether travel limitations for students and other long-term visitors can be relaxed. Keep an eye on this page if you want to stay informed about the measures and restrictions that are in place for usage of the Australia visa.
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Requirements for travelling to Australia if granted an exemption
All travellers must fill in a declaration at least 72 hours before departure (Australia Travel Declaration), including travellers that are exempt from the travel ban or just have a connecting flight in Australia. This is used to collect the contact, flight and health information of incoming travellers. After filling in the form, you receive a confirmation by e-mail which has to be presented on arrival (digital or printed).
Additionally, since 22 January 2021, a negative PCR test result is required for all travellers older than 5 years of age (taken maximum 72 hours before departure). This also includes travellers that are only transferring at an Australian airport. This requirement does not apply to people that have tested positive and carry a medical statement which proves that at least 14 days have passed since they were infected with coronavirus, that they have not had a fever or respiratory problems for at least 72 hours, that have recovered from the virus and are no longer contagious.
On arrival in Australia, you will always be quarantined for 14 days to reduce the chance of transmitting the coronavirus. This quarantine will take place at a designated facility, such as a hotel at the airport. Travellers who in the past 14 days have stayed in New Zealand can fly to Australia on a quarantine-free flight and do not need to present a negative test result.
Can and/or should I return to the UK?
That decision is up to you. If you are staying in Australia, check with your insurance company whether your insurance still applies now that travelling to Australia is no longer advised. If you decide to stay in Australia, make sure you have a valid visa. Does your visa expire soon? Apply for a new one before the current one expires. There are special "bridging visas" which are approved faster and can serve as a solution to long-term visa applications. Certain visa types cannot be applied for if you are in Australia, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, exceptions can be requested at the immigration service. Travellers of whom the visa expires, who do not qualify for another visa and who cannot leave Australia due to the international travel limitations, can apply for a COVID-19 Pandemic event visa.
Are you in Australia? The following recommendations apply:
- Maintain a safe distance from other people, at least one and a half meters
- Avoid social contacts, especially with vulnerable people
- Wash your hands regularly, at least 20 seconds each time
- Cough and sneeze in the inside of your elbow
- Touch your face as little as possible with your hands
- Seek medical help and get yourself tested if you are feeling unwell
The Australian government is offering free coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines.
Where can I recover the financial damages of coronavirus?
This is currently not clear. This also depends on your situation, such as if you have booked a trip to Australia and which costs you have already made or still have to make. Some travel insurers and tour operators will pay out any damages that arise from coronavirus. However, a number of insurers and travel organisations have already said that they will not be able to compensate all of the damages, simply because there is not enough money. Visas for Australia that cannot be used cannot be cancelled. The immigration service does not cancel visas and will not refund unused visas.
Disclaimer: the coronavirus measures and advice of the British government as well as the immigration service of Australia change rapidly. No guarantees can be given that all the information about the Australia visa in this article is at all times up to date. We do try to keep this article updated regularly by adding new information or changing existing information.