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 17-09-2020.
Has the coronavirus reached Australia?
Yes. As of 17 September 2020, 26,813 infections have been confirmed and 832 people have died of coronavirus in Australia.
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 immediate 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. Travellers that do not fall under any of these categories, and 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.
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 not yet known when you can travel to Australia again on a normal visa. The Australian trade minister Scott Birmingham announced that Australia will likely not be opening its borders for foreign travellers this year. It is being investigated whether the travel limitations for students and other long-term visitors can be relaxed. Whether tourists and business travellers will not be able to travel to Australia until the end of the year has not yet been officially confirmed. Flights to Melbourne have been suspended until further notice. Keep a close eye on this page if you want to be kept up to date on the measures and restrictions that apply to usage of the Australia visa.
If you have the 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 is also 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. Keep in mind that 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. The British government recommends only staying in Australia if it is absolutely necessary. If you want to stay in Australia, check with your insurance company whether your insurance still applies now that travelling to Australia is no longer recommended. Also keep in mind that it will become increasingly difficult to return to the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. More and more coronavirus measures are being implemented, and it is expected that this will only increase further. If you decide to return, do this as quickly as possible.
If you want 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 normally cannot be applied for if you are in Australia, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, exceptions can be applied for with the immigration service.
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
Due to a drastic increase in the number of new infections in the state Victoria, the state implemented comprehensive lockdown measures starting 8 July and lasting until at least mid-September 2020. This includes a curfew, mandatory mask usage and travel limitations. The borders with New South Wales are closed. Until further notice, it is no longer possible to travel from Victoria to other states. People that have been to Victoria in the past 14 days can no longer travel to other states. Starting August, the city of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is in level 4 lockdown. The rest of Victoria is in level 3 lockdown. This means that there is a curfew in Melbourne between 20:00 and 5:00, and people have to stay indoors as much as possible and observe all additional rules in the rest of the state. The British Foreign Office advises against all travel to this area. The states Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have closed their borders. Non-residents of Tasmania are asked to leave the state.
Travellers returning from Australia might be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, depending on the regions they have been to.
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.