Firstly, we hope you are all keeping safe and healthy. The advice relating to travelling to both Australia and New Zealand is changing daily so we wanted to give you an update today with the most recent information. Accurate at the date of publication.
The prime minister announced that only Australian citizens/permanent residents and New Zealand citizens usually residing in Australia can travel to Australia. However, the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider entry under an exemption.
Exemptions as determined by the Commissioner:
- Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
- Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
- Persons with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
- Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia and their immediate family
- Case-by-case exceptions may also be granted for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.
Exemptions must be granted prior to these travellers undertaking travel to Australia. The request for an exemption through Commissioner’s Discretion must be accompanied by:
- Passenger details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, Australian residential address, Australian telephone number)
- Case information: why this case should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
- Supporting statement: the request should be accompanied by a statement and evidence of how the individual meets one of the grounds for an exemption or excise of the Commissioner’s discretion listed above.
You can apply for an exemption using this online form. Exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis and must be granted prior to undertaking travel to Australia.
Along with applying for an exemption, you will need to provide evidence that your employer requires you to start immediately for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response. We can assist with this.
Please note: You need to have your visa approved prior to applying for an exemption.
All travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities, in their port of arrival. Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. This requirement applies to anyone, including Australian citizens/permanent residents and temporary residents exempt from the travel ban.
It has yet to be determined how long the travel restrictions will last, we will keep up to date with developments and advise on any changes as soon as we have them.
As the above is all subject to change, we recommend referring to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for the most up to date information.
The New Zealand border is currently closed to most travellers. New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders can travel to New Zealand. Immigration New Zealand will consider exemptions to travel.
Consideration will only be made for people with exceptional circumstances who have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand.
You must have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand, and:
- meet health and character requirements for temporary entry
- be a bona fide applicant
- meet the funds or sponsorship requirements for visitors
- meet onward travel requirements.
You can use this link provides further information on the above criteria. You can use the filters to display country specific tips, to assist you with your application
Critical purposes for travelling to New Zealand
Essential health workers
A health care worker is a current or new employee where the employee holds a key clinical or non-clinical position working as a Medical Doctor in
- a District Health Board
- New Zealand Blood Service
- hospice or palliative care
- a primary care practice such as urgent care or a medical or healthcare centre
- aged residential care, respite or continuing care facility.
Consideration will be given as to whether the person holds the necessary qualifications and registration (if required) to work in New Zealand.
Partners and dependent children of essential health workers who will accompany them may also be included in the request.
You can apply for an exemption here. You can make a request if you already have a New Zealand visa, if you have submitted an application for a visa, or if you do not have a visa.
Once your application has been submitted, an immigration officer will assess your request and if they are satisfied that you are eligible to travel to New Zealand they will contact you with information about what to do. As they are dealing with high numbers of requests for assistance they are currently aiming to respond within two working days, however, this timeframe may be longer depending on enquiry volumes and the complexity of requests received.
Before submitting a request, please consider the availability of flights to New Zealand and travel restrictions for any country you may need to transit on the way to New Zealand.
If you arrived in New Zealand from any country in the last 14 days, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date you departed the last country you visited.
For further up-to-date information – please see here
We appreciate this is a difficult time with everything being so uncertain. Our team is here to help, so please do contact us if you have any specific questions or queries. We are in this together!