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Australia | Tafapolsky & Smith LLP

Covid-19 Updates

last updated 15 Nov 2020

Australia Covid-19 Regulations

  1. Entry Restrictions

Travelers are generally not permitted to enter Australia, with the following exceptions:

  • Australian citizens and their immediate family members;
  • Permanent residents of Australia and their immediate family members;
  • New Zealand citizens residing in Australia and their immediate family members;
  • Travelers arriving from New Zealand who have been in New Zealand in the past 14 days and travelling on a Safe Travel Zone flight;
  • Holders of valid Australia visas who have been granted a travel exemption prior to their departure to Australia (requests for travel exemptions must be filed at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before the planned travel);
  • Passengers transiting Australia for 72 hours or less;
  • Travelers holding a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.

Travelers from New Zealand and travelers on flights facilitated by the Australian Government must complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before their departure to Australia.

2. Quarantine/Self-Isolation Requirements

Travelers arriving in Australia by air or sea are generally required to go into government approved mandatory quarantine for 14 days from arrival, except for the following:

  • Travelers coming to Australia from a green safe travel zone
    • Passengers from New Zealand to Australia, if they have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more and not been in a designated hotspot  and they are travelling to Australia on a quarantine-free flight (quarantine-free flights only carry passengers who have declared they have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more and have not been in a COVID hotspot in New Zealand in the last 14 days before travel)
  • Travelers who fall into  an exemption category, for example:
    • Airline, medevac and air ambulance crew are exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements;
    • Transit passengers who stay at the airport and their next flight is in up to 8 hours (transit passengers whose next flight is not until 8-72 hours must quarantine at a state designated facility).

Travelers arriving in Australia will arrive either via a red or green travel zone. Passengers arriving from a high-risk country for COVID-19 will be considered as arriving from a red zone. Passengers arriving from a low-risk country or area will be considered as arriving from a green zone.

Green and red zones have been created at airports in Australia to ensure the separation of passengers arriving on ‘quarantine-free’ flights, from other passengers who are required to enter 14 days mandatory quarantine.

The local state and territory governments in Australia manage quarantine arrangements including:

  • transport for travelers from their arrival point to their quarantine government accommodation; and
  • quarantine arrangements at the accommodation facility

Travelers must quarantine in the city where they arrive in for 14 days, even if they plan to travel elsewhere in Australia. During quarantine, travelers may be tested for COVID-19 in the first 48 hours and then between days 10 to 12 of quarantine. If travelers refuse testing, they may have to quarantine for a longer period. Exact testing arrangements will vary depending on each Sate/Territory.

3. Impact on Work/Residence Permit Processing

The Australian Department of Home Affairs continues to process visa applications, though processing times are currently longer. While a granted travel exemption is not required for the adjudication of a visa application, it might be helpful to receive a faster adjudication of the underlying visa application.

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Robin Paulino


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