News report | | 18-11-2021 | ±3 minutes reading time

Although Australia has an entry ban for foreigners who want to visit the country, a limited number of people can still travel to this country. They need two things for this: a travel exemption and a visa Australia.

Am I eligible for a travel exemption?

Currently, most foreigners are not allowed to travel to Australia due to the closure of the border. Only travellers who have received a travel exemption from the Australian Immigration Service are allowed to enter Australia. At this moment, the following groups can travel to Australia without a travel permit:

  • Immediate family members of citizens and residents of Australia holding a permanent residence permit
  • Citizens of New Zealand who are legally residing in Australia
  • Immediate family members of New Zealand citizens normally residing in Australia
  • Persons who have stayed in New Zealand for at least 14 days before travelling to Australia
  • Persons who will remain in Australia for no more than 72 hours for transit purposes

Although there are other groups (such as diplomats) who can travel to Australia without a travel authorisation, most people have to apply for it. On 1 November 2021, the Australian government announced that parents of Australian citizens may also travel to the country. However, they must apply for an exemption permit.

A Visa Australia is also compulsory

A travel exemption alone will not get you into Australia. Applying for a visa Australia is still compulsory. The eVisitor visa Australia (subclass 651) is the cheapest option for European travellers. Currently, applications for the visa Australia are put on hold once the payment has been made. This will last until Australia reopens its borders to tourists, which is expected to be in the first few months of 2022. However, with an approved exemption permit, you can get your visa approved for travel to Australia before then.

Should I apply for the visa or for the exemption first?

For many travellers, it is unclear whether they should apply for their Australia visa first and then apply for a travel exemption, or vice versa. Although it has been reported that one cannot apply for a visa without a travel exemption, this is not true. You can either apply first for a visa first and then for an exemption, or for an exemption first and afterwards for the visa.

If you apply for a visa first, you must indicate on the exemption form that you have already applied for a visa, which visa type you have applied for and also enter the visa application number. This will enable the Australian Immigration Department to link your visa application to your travel exemption and in some cases accelerate the approval of the visa.

You can also apply for an exemption permit without a visa. However, this may delay the approval of the visa.

Applying for a travel exemption

To apply for a travel exemption, follow the steps below:

  • Open this form
  • Create an account by clicking on the button "create an account". You will receive a confirmation e-mail with a link to activate your account.
  • Click on "Submit new request" on the first page
  • When asked if you have already applied for a visa, answer "Yes" and fill in “eVisitor (Subclass 651)”.
  • If the form asks you for your visa application number (also known as TRN number) and you applied for the visa on our website, you will find it on your personal status page on our website. The link to this page can be found in the confirmation email you received from us after payment.

On average, a travel exemption application is approved within 7 days. After your permit has been approved, it usually takes a few days up to a week before your visa application is granted. Please note that these delivery times are approximate. For this reason, in order to avoid problems, you should always apply for your travel exemption and your visa Australia as early as possible.