Australian citizens and permanent residents are unable to leave the country because of the coronavirus pandemic. This ban is in place until mid-December. Entry to Australia is closed except for citizens, permanent residents or those with an exemption. So how exactly has this ban impacted Australian visas?
Australia is a hugely popular destination for British tourists, including students who often choose to spend several months or even a full year in the country.
But the travel industry has been significantly disrupted this year as coronavirus struck Wuhan City in China before spreading rapidly around the world.
There have been more than 26 million cases of coronavirus so far around the world.
In Australia, there have been 26,049 cases of COVID-19, of which 678 have died.
What entry restrictions are in place for visitors to Australia?
Currently, entry to Australia is closed to all Australian visitors, except for citizens, permanent residents or those with an exemption.
All travellers entering Australia are required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility, such as a hotel, at their port of arrival.
Australian citizens, including dual nationals, and permanent residents need an exemption to leave the country unless they are ordinarily a resident of a country outside Australia.
Can you still use your Australian visa amid the coronavirus pandemic?
No travellers are permitted to enter the country unless they are citizens, residents or are immediate daily of people with Australian nationality.
Travellers that do not fall under any of these categories, and have a pressing reason to travel to Australia, can apply for an exception to the travel ban at the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Transferring in Australia is still possible for countries that do not require a visa to make transfers in Australia, which includes the United Kingdom and Ireland.
But travellers must have a ticket for the transfer and cannot leave the transit area at the airport.
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Are visa applications currently being approved?
Yes, visa applications are still currently being submitted.
It is possible to submit an eVisitor visa Australia.
This visa type is suited for holidays and business trips.
But approval of applications can take some time, likely until the moment the entry ban is lifted.
Visa applications are valid for one year, the visa can already be applied for a trip in the next 12 months.
When will travel to Australia begin again?
It is not yet known when you will be able to travel to Australia on a normal visa again.
The Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, has announced that Australia will most likely not be opening its borders for foreign travellers for the remainder of this year.
The “Human Biosecurity Emergency Period” has been in place since March and prevents Australian citizens or permanent residents from leaving Australia.
This ban can only be avoided with permission from the Government which must be pre-approved.
The Department of Home Affairs has allocated limited interim nomination places to states and territories.
The organisation has paved the way for the opening of the skilled visa programs ahead of the complete allocations to be delivered as part of the Federal Budget announcement on October 6.
Places will be limited due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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