• CMI Legal

COVID-19 International Travel Restrictions Update

The Australian federal government has recently tightened the COVID-19 international travel restrictions on its citizens and permanent residents.

Prior to 11 August 2021, Australian citizens and permanent residents who ordinarily reside overseas had automatic exemptions to leave Australia. To be someone who ordinarily reside overseas means that the person spends more time outside Australia over the last 12 to 24 months.

From 11 August 2021 tighter rules come into effect. Australian citizens and permanent residents who ordinarily reside overseas will also have to apply for travel exemption with the Australian Border Force by demonstrating compelling reason. A transitional period applies until 07 September 2021, in which Australian citizens and permanent residents normally residing overseas may leave Australia without exemption, as long as the traveller’s residence status overseas could be confirmed by an Australian Border Force officer at the airport during departure.

For any travels back to the usual place of residence after 07 September 2021, Australian citizens and permanent residents would have to apply for exemptions prior to travelling. Supporting evidence proving compelling reason and links with the overseas country may include:

  • Foreign government issued documentation (e.g. foreign driver’s licence);

  • Evidence of established and settled residence overseas (e.g. tenancy agreement, utility bills, rate notices); or

  • Evidence of employment or business interest overseas (e.g. letter from an employer).

If you are currently outside Australia and want to travel to Australia, then return to your usual country of residence, you may apply for an outwards exemption before you arrive in Australia, in order to ensure you will be allowed on your return flight. Travel exemption applications must be submitted at least 2 weeks, but not more than 2 months, prior to planned travel. If you’re travelling for compassionate reasons, you can apply inside this timeframe and the Department of Home Affairs will prioritise your application. Please note that you do not have to book a flight before requesting a travel exemption.

If you would like to enquire on your eligibility to leave Australia or require assistance in applying for your travel exemption, please kindly contact our office.

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