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Leaving Australia (17/07/2020)

Leaving Australia

Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time.

All travellers arriving in Australia, including Australian citizens, are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel, in their port of arrival. By way of update you may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. To find out more about quarantine requirements, contact the relevant state or territory government health department

Non-citizens
Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Australia, including state and territory border restrictions, business closures and social distancing requirements, international visitors are encouraged to return home when possible to do so.

Temporary visa holders should be aware that if they wish to return to Australia while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, they will generally need a travel exemption.

Temporary visa holders returning home
Temporary visa holders impacted by COVID-19 can make arrangements to return to their home country, if border restrictions in that country allow.

Temporary visa holders do not need an exemption to depart Australia. They can leave at any time, as long as border restrictions in their home country allow them to return.

Remember the COVID-19 situation continues to change.
Check each week:

  • border restrictions
  • availability of flights.

Commercial flights are available in several major airports across Australia. 

Airlines flying include: AirAsia | Air New Zealand | China Airlines | China Southern Airlines | Emirates | Malaysia Airlines | SriLankan Airlines | Qatar Airways | United

You may also wish to find out if there are any private or government repatriation flights to your home country.
India is currently arranging repatriation flights.

If you would like further assistance to return home, you can contact your embassy or consulate in Australia.

You can also register your details.
The Department of Home Affairs will provide your information to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which may provide this information to your home government (either overseas or represented by the embassy, consulate or High Commission in Australia).

This service is only for temporary visa holders.

Australians and permanent residents
If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption. You can apply online but 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 essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • your travel is in the national interest.

You must provide evidence to support your claims that may include:

  • passport/s
  • marriage certificate/s
  • birth certificate/s
  • death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)
  • proof that you are moving to another country on a long term basis such as leases, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported
  • proof of your current valid visa, including in Australia and/or overseas
  • letter from a doctor or hospital about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary
  • letter from an employer showing why the travel is necessary or that the work undertaken by you is critical
  • statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
  • any other proof you may have to support your claims.

All evidence supporting a travel exemption claim needs to be officially translated into English.

You should apply for an exemption at least 4 weeks, but not more than 3 months before your planned travel. Please make only one request per person. Duplicate requests will delay assessment.

If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans. If granted an exemption, you must take evidence of that exemption decision to the airport.

You are exempt if you are: 

  • ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
  • an airline, maritime crew or associated safety worker
  • a New Zealand citizen holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
  • engaged in the day-to-day conduct of outbound freight
  • associated with essential work at Australian offshore facilities
  • travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

You are considered ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia if international movement records show that you’ve spent more time outside Australia than inside for the last 12 to 24 months. You do not need to carry a paper record of your movements with you. If required, Australian Border Force officers at airports can check your movement records in Departmental systems.

If you have not spent more time outside Australia than inside for the last 12 to 24 months, but still consider yourself to be ordinarily resident in another country, you can submit a request for a travel exemption.

Your request will need to include evidence, for example:

  • documents showing you have an established and settled home in another country
  • the location of your immediate family members
  • an employment contract for work outside of Australia
  • school enrolment for dependent children
  • evidence of ongoing business/property interests
  • evidence that you are a dual national or hold a valid visa for another country
  • evidence which shows that your absence from another country is temporary and you intend to return there.

If you do not think you need a travel exemption, you can present this evidence when you check-in at the airport. However, if you have any doubt about whether your circumstances fall within the definition of ordinarily resident, we recommend you lodge a request for assessment at least four weeks prior to your intended departure.


Last updated, Friday 17 July 2020.
Information obtained from the Department of Home Affairs website. 
https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/