The Impact of Coronavirus on Australian Visas

Coronavirus and Australian Visas

It is important to understand how Coronavirus impacts your migration and visa status.

This page provides simple and reliable information about the impact of Coronavirus on Australian visas and travel.

On this page:

Read about Australian Working Holiday Visa updates on our dedicated page.

Migration Agent Darren Chatt advises that “staying informed means knowing when to move forward with a visa application or ensuring you do not breach your visa conditions. Failure to stay updated about Coronavirus and Australian travel could jeopardise your chances of going to Australia. If you are unsure you should seek advice from a Licensed Migration Agent or The Department of Home Affairs.”

Visa conditions during Coronavirus

Yes – you must always abide by your visa conditions.

If you are in Australia and your visa is due to expire, you should apply for and be granted a new visa to remain lawfully in Australia. Alternatively, you should leave before you current visa expires.

Failure to comply with visa conditions will negatively affect your chances of entering Australia in the future. Your visa conditions will be outlined on your visa grant letter which you can download from your ImmiAccount.

Travelling to Australia before visa grant

If you are an immediate family member of an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident, you can currently enter Australia. For example you are a dependent child or spouse of an Australian.

You will require a valid visa to enter the country. You can apply for a Visitor Visa (subclass 600) and exemption to enter Australia, providing evidence of your relationship to the Australian. This could include a marriage certificate or birth certificate.

The Department of Home Affairs is experiencing high levels of demand for exemptions and an exemption is not guaranteed. You should make your application at least four weeks but no more than three months before you travel.

We recommend having the visa and exemption in place before making travel arrangements.

Australia’s quarantine requirements

All travelers arriving in Australia must undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. Most states have started charging for this, with costs starting  at $2,500.00 AU.

For full details on the exemption categories, application form and documentation required, see the Department of Home Affairs website.

Your visa Initial Entry Date of Visa

When you are issued an Australian visa you will receive a visa grant letter. This letter details your visa conditions, one of which is your IED (initial entry date). The IED is the date by which you must enter Australia to activate your visa. This is generally 12 months from the date your visa was granted.

The first entry date condition is a legislative requirement attached to permanent and provisional visas granted offshore. It is not possible to waive the condition or vary the date. Visa holders who breach the first entry date condition may be subject to visa cancellation.

However, in the majority of cases, visa holders who are unable to make their first entry by the required date may be allowed to enter Australia at a later date, provided their visa is still valid and there is no other reason to consider cancellation of the visa. (Source: Department of Home Affairs 2020)

SEE HERE: The Department of Home Affairs: Information for first entry to Australia

Applying for a Travel Exemption – Critical Skills

An individual or business can submit a request for a travel exemption under the critical skills category.

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant an individual exemption if you are a non-citizen:

  • travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agriculture, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry)
  • delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available
  • providing critical skills in religious or theology fields
  • whose entry would otherwise be in Australia’s national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority.


When applying for a travel exemption, you must provide evidence of how you will provide critical good and services in Australia. You can apply online on the Department’s website.

Further Resources

Check out the below articles on Coronavirus and Australian visas:

For full details on Coronavirus and the Australian border please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website.

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