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 16-09-2021.
Has the coronavirus reached Australia?
Yes. As of 16 September 2021, there have been 80,402 infections and 1,128 deaths from coronavirus in Australia. About 24 million vaccines have been administered in Australia - out of a population of 25.36 million -, but that means only 9 million Australians are fully vaccinated. In theory, anyone who wants to can get vaccinated for free - including travellers on temporary visas - provided that enough vaccines are available.
Although the virus seemed to be relatively well under control in the country since October 2020, infections have been rising rapidly again since July, particularly in the state of New South Wales. In Sydney, a strict lockdown is in effect until at least the end of September, while Australian Capital Terrirotiry is in lockdown until at least 15 October. The Australian states and territories are taking various measures against the spread of the virus.
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.
Special exemption from the Australian government
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, and to individuals who have another pressing reason to travel, such as a seriously ill family member in Australia.
The exemption must be applied for at least two weeks, but no more than three months, before the planned trip if possible.
Transit or transfer in Australia
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. The "travel bubble" between New Zealand and Australia has been temporarily halted. Quarantine-free flights between New Zealand and Australia have been suspended at least until 18 September.
Returning to the UK
When returning to the UK from Australia, you must provide all your travel details via a passenger locator form and take a COVID-19 test at maximum 3 days before your flight is set to depart. You must also book a COVID-19 test to be taken on day 2 of your return to the UK. You will only need to quarantine if the test result is positive.
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.