Australia has also implemented strict measures 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 18-02-2021.
Has the coronavirus reached Australia?
Yes. As of 18 February 2021, 28,912 infections have been confirmed and 909 people have died of coronavirus in Australia. The virus appears to be relatively well under control in the country since October last year. Near the end of January 2021, relaxations of the rules also took place in Sydney and Brisbane, where a number of extra limitations applied due to a cluster of infections.
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 the New Zealand nationality living in Australia, and persons that have been in New Zealand for at least 14 days. 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.
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. However, these travellers must possess a ticket for the transfer, cannot leave the transit area at the airport and can only stay in Australia for a maximum of 72 hours. Travellers transferring in the state Western Australia can stay for a maximum of 24 hours.
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. The Australian airline Qantas has announced that they will perform regular flights from the EU and the USA to Australia starting 1 July (and is selling tickets with flight details starting that date). 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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If you have Australian nationality, an Australian permanent resident status, or are directly related to someone who is either of these, you can still travel to Australia. An exception can also be made if you work in a crucial sector or possess essential skills, such as providing medical services.
You require special permission from the immigration service to do so, on top of a valid visa. To acquire this permission, you need to prove that you meet the requirements. This permission must, if possible, be applied for at least two weeks but no longer than 3 months before the planned trip takes place. If you want to travel to Australia this year, you first need to apply for the exception to the travel ban. Once it has been approved, you will receive an invitation to apply for a visa.
Requirements for travelling to Australia if granted an exception
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 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 persons that have tested positive and carry a medical statement which proves that they have not had a fever or respiratory problems, 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.
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 and treatments
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.