Wanting to leave Australia? When and Why You Can!

17 August 2020

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Hiding amongst all the material on internal Australian COVID19 restrictions, there is also a prohibition on Australian citizens and permanent residents leaving the country.

However, there is some flexibility under the relevant health direction – Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Overseas Travel Ban Emergency Requirements) Determination 2020

However, there is some flexibility under the Determination to apply for exemption to facilitate overseas travel. Fuller detail is available from https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/leaving-australia but summarised as follows: –

  • Travelling as part of the response to the mid-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid;
  • Travel essential for the conduct of critical industries in business (including export and import industries);
  • Travelling to receive urgent medical treatment not available in Australia;
  • Travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business;
  • Travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds;
  • Travel in the national interest.

Evidentiary support for an application is required and can include:-

  • Passport(s);
  • Marriage certificate(s);
  • Birth certificate(s);
  • Death certificate(s)Proof of relationships;
  • Proof of reason to move, for example to another country on a long-term basis for a job for example;
  • Production of current valid visas (whether Australian or overseas;
  • Letter from a doctor or hospital about any medical treatment/conditions the statements of reasons why travel is necessary;
  • Where relevant, a letter from an employer showing why the travel is necessary for work;
  • A statement or evidence of your ability and wish to return to Australia;
  • Any other supporting proof.

Any overseas documentation will need to be officially translated into English.

Application should be made at least two weeks but not more than two months before plan travel.

There are also some very narrow exemptions from the requirements. These include persons are normally resident overseas returning there, airline and shipping crew, certain New Zealand citizens, day-to-day engagement in outbound freight and travelling on official government business.

It is necessarily prudent to obtain approval in advance rather than be denied at an airport as, I understand, as happened to some people.

If we can be of any assistance to you in connection with the above, please feel free to contact the writer or your usual Eakin McCaffrey Cox contact.

The above was prepared for and is intended to provide a broad general overview about the topics covered. It is not intended, and must not to be relied upon, as definitive legal advice. Whilst Eakin McCaffery Cox have made every effort to ensure the information in this work is up to date and accurate, they do not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors or inaccuracies.

Gregory Ross



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