The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting a number of issues across the globe – from the economy through to financial circumstances and most obviously, health. But beyond this, immigration has also undergone a change, meaning how you’re allowed to travel – or stay – across various counties has shifted.

If you currently hold a visa in Australia or are looking to obtain one, here’s what you need to know about COVID-19, the border and immigration regulations.

Citizenship and Australia during COVID-19

Anyone travelling to Australia needs to conduct a mandatory 14-day quarantine at an allocated facility. This means you’ll be told where you need to stay when you arrive in the country so that we are able to effectively control and stop the spread.

If you’re a citizen of Australia, a permanent resident or are an immediate family member of someone who is (or you are a New Zealand citizen that lives here), you can travel into the country.

If you hold a temporary visa (except for Partner and Child visa holders) and wish to travel to Australia, you will need to seek permission from the Department prior to your travel to Australia. We do recommend speaking to experts – like AIM Lawyers & Consultants – about the options that might be available to you. Alternatively, you can apply here through the official government website.

There may be some extraneous reasons that allow you to travel into the country. These include:

  • Compassionate reasons
  • A reason that is deemed “compelling” by the Australian Border Force Commissioner. You will need to provide proof of exemption.
  • Foreign nationals travelling in nature to the COVID-19 response
  • Critical/essential medical services
  • Australian-accredited diplomats
  • Those exempted on case-by-case scenarios.

Note: Citizenship ceremonies have been suspended during this time. However, virtual alternatives are taking place instead. You’ll receive a link to access these ceremonies if you’re involved. During this time, an officer and a single conferee (or household group at the same location) will be present at the ceremony.

Don’t have a visa to continue your stay Australia?

Under Australian migration law, it is not possible for you to extend a visitor visa, student visa, and Working Holiday Maker visa unless you are able to fulfill the requirements for specific visa extension. However, Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic many of you may not be able to depart Australia as planned. In this case you must apply for a new visa before your current visa expires.

Australian migration law suggests that you must continue to remain lawful in Australia by checking your permitted stay period, visa expiry date and visa conditions to know the requirements and time to apply for a new visa. If you have condition 8503 ‘no further stay condition’ attached to your visa, you will need to apply for visa condition waiver before you make your new visa application.

When applying for a new visa to stay in Australia, you can still explore your visa options and make a visa application at ImmiAccount. We would strongly encourage you to speak to us as we would be more than happy to assist you in finding the visa option that best suit your condition and needs.

When you apply for a new visa, you will be granted a bridging visa that will keep you lawful in Australia until a decision is made on your visa application. If your current visa has expired, you must apply for a Bridging visa E (BVE) within 28 days of expiry in order to become lawful. A BVE is a short-term visa that allows you to stay in Australia while you make arrangements to leave Australia.

Helpful resources around Australian visas and the pandemic: