The Australian government has extended the international travel ban that has been in place since 18 March 2020 until 17 December 2021. It is still unclear whether it will be possible to travel to Australia with a visa again after that date.
Australia hermetically sealed
As a result of the outbreak of corona in the country, the Australian government has introduced very strict travel restrictions to prevent further spread of the virus. Foreigners are only allowed to enter the country under exceptional circumstances, for example to escort underage Australian citizens back to the country. However, these exceptions are very limited. Only persons with Australian citizenship, immediate family members of these persons, New Zealand citizens living in Australia and a small group of other exempt persons are allowed to travel to Australia.
But even for these people, Covid-19 can really sabotage their plans. Australia applies a so-called "zero-Covid" strategy. This means that measures can be taken immediately in areas where coronavirus infections occur. As a result, the travel regulations for Australia may change at short notice.
It is not only foreign travellers to Australia who face travel restrictions. Residents of Australia are also not allowed to cross the border. Whereas countries throughout the UK and Europe have travel advice based on the severity of coronavirus abroad, Australia has imposed a total travel ban. People are only allowed to leave the country in exceptional cases.
However, it seems that the Australian government plans to lift some of these travel restrictions this year.
Travel ban extended until 17 December
The international travel ban imposed by Australia after the Covid-19 outbreak (officially known as the "human biosecurity emergency period") was supposed to expire on 17 September 2021. As expected, the Australian government has extended the measure by three months, until 17 December 2021. Australia has one of the strictest border closures in the world; its borders have been closed for 21 months. Although more than 40% of the Australian population is already fully vaccinated, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advised the government to extend the border closure anyway. According to the AHPPC, the coronavirus is still a real risk and there could be serious consequences if the travel restrictions are lifted too soon.
The Australian Government also announced a digital COVID-19 vaccination portal: the Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD). This system will replace the current Australian Travel Declaration form that one must fill out for a trip to Australia. Among other things, this system will check whether a person has been fully vaccinated and can be used for contact investigations and other health protocols. The announcement of this system is seen as a clear signal that Australia wants to make international travel possible again for both its own population and travellers to Australia.
The system is currently still in the development phase, but it is hoped that it will come into operation before the end of the year. It is still unclear how it will work with digital Australia visa system.
Digital Australia visa
If the borders do indeed open in December, strict conditions will initially apply to travellers seeking to enter Australia. This may include vaccination status, country of origin, pre-departure corona testing and other factors.
What is certain is that applying for an Australia visa will continue to be mandatory. Here, too, one can make use of a digital portal. British and European travellers are eligible for the eVisitor Australia visa, which can be applied for entirely online. An eVisitor allows you to stay in Australia for a maximum of 3 months, and costs only £24.95 per person.
The Australia visa application is made by means of the online application form. After paying the fee, the application is submitted directly to the Australian Immigration Service. The visa is granted after an average of 5 days.
As the borders are still closed until at least December, no visas are currently being examined by the immigration authorities. Visas that are applied for now will be put on hold and automatically approved when the immigration service resumes visa services.
Take note: this news article about the visa for Australia is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the visa for Australia.