Australia Lockdown: What You Need to Leave Australia

Australia Lockdown: What You Need to Leave Australia

Since March last year, Australia has banned its citizens from leaving the country as part of its COVID strategy. 

That restriction has not previously applied to Australians who usually live in other countries. But they will now need to apply for an exemption for outbound travel

The Australian government has introduced a tougher travel law for those who want to leave Australia effective 11 August 2021.

Anyone who wants to leave will have to demonstrate to the border force commissioner that they have a “compelling reason for needing to leave the Australian territory”.

It is part of emergency biosecurity laws to help stem the transmission of COVID-19. Previously, Australians living abroad had been exempt from needing permission to leave. Now, anyone who returns to Australia will not automatically be granted permission to leave again, unless they meet the grounds for an exemption.

The policy applies until 7 September 2021. This latest policy does not cover foreign nationals who wish to leave Australia, however, they would need to wait until Australia lifts the ban for incoming foreign nationals if they plan to return to Australia.

Request for Exemptions to Travel Outside Australia

Australians living abroad will need to prove they have an “established and settled” home overseas by providing supporting documents. The application can be done online at least 2 weeks but not more than 2 months prior to the travel date.

The supporting documents may include:

  • foreign government issued documentation, for example:
    • foreign drivers licence
    • foreign government issued residency card
  • evidence you have an established and settled home overseas, for example:
    • tenancy/residential agreement
    • utility bills, rate notices
  • evidence you are employed or have ongoing business interests overseas:
    • letter from your employer/employment contract in a foreign country
    • business tenancy agreement

Meanwhile, citizens living permanently in Australia cannot leave unless they meet a narrow set of criteria. You must meet at least one of the following:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid
  • your travel is for your business/employer
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling outside Australia for a compelling reason for three months or longer
  • you are travelling on compelling or compassionate grounds
  • your travel is in the national interest
  • you are ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia.

The government has said Australia will not re-open until at least 80% of its population is vaccinated, likely to be sometime next year. 

Do you need to renew your passport? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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