Frequently Asked Questions: Impact of COVID-19 on Australian Visas
Indah answers your coronavirus questions.
1. I’m on a short-term tourist visa stuck in Australia with no way to fly home. What if I might accidentally overstay my visa due to coronavirus?
It’s really important that you take action now to avoid the possibility of overstaying your visa because it is likely to affect your ability to apply for another visa to Australian in the future. It’s also possible that you might get a three-year entry ban so you need to have a valid visa to remain lawful. The Australian government has said that it will be flexible in how it handles the situation of people with a ‘no further stay’ condition on their temporary visa. If you are worried that you could be affected, please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options.
2. What if I am in Australia on a multi-entry visa that requires me to leave Australia soon and I won’t be able to come back because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions?
It’s not clear yet how the Australian government is handling this visa situation but it has said that it will be flexible for people like you. You may be able to extend your stay (and avoid the need to leave Australia) by applying for another visa while in Australia if you meet the eligibility criteria for that visa. We are happy to offer a free consultation to discuss your options.
3. What if my Temporary Australian visa has expired?
If your Australian visa such as visitor, student or graduate Visa have expired, you should apply for a bridging visa by either saying that you will depart once the borders are open or explaining your plans on your current visa. If your visa has expired and you are not in the process of applying for any other visa, you will be considered to be an overstayer. You should apply for a bridging visa as soon as possible, which we can assist you with.
4. What are the visa restrictions on travelling to Australia because of COVID-19 Pandemic?
Since 19 March 2020, the Australian government has put in place travel restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus. It means that, until further notice, many people are not able to travel to Australia and that self-isolation measures will be in place for those that are allowed to travel to Australia.
5. Who is allowed to travel to Australia during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
There are three groups of people that are able to travel to Australia. The first is Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens who are usually resident in Australia are able to return home. Please note that New Zealand citizens must have proof of their residency, such as a driver’s licence.
The second group is immediately family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents. This means that if you are a spouse, child or legal guardian and if you don’t have a visa already then you can still apply for a visa to travel to Australia.
The third group is people that have a compelling or compassionate reason for traveling to Australia. This includes to care for a close relative who is ill or to attend the funeral of a close relative.
6. What are the self-isolation measures during the Coronavirus Pandemic in Australia?
The Australian government has put in place strict self-isolation requirements for all people arriving in Australia. Everyone is required to self-isolate for 14 days at home or in a hotel.
– You may board a domestic flight to your intended destination in Australia to self-isolate there.
– If you are well and not symptomatic, you may self-isolate in a hotel.
– If travellers do not comply with their 14-day self-isolation requirements, they may face a range of penalties that exist in each State or Territory.
Please see the Australian health department’s self-isolation guidance here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-guidance.
7. What if I want to travel to Australia in the future after the COVID-19 Pandemic?
At this stage, it is not known for how long Australia’s borders will remain closed to foreign visitors. Visa applications are still being processed by Australian Embassies on a case by case basis so you are still able to apply for your visa for future travel.
8. What if I have family in Australia and I want to visit them?
It’s still possible to travel to Australia if you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or a permanent resident who already has the valid visa (except Prospective Marriage Visa holders). This means that if you are a spouse, child or legal guardian then you can still apply for a visa. When you apply for your visa, you will need to include proof of your relationship, such as your marriage certificate, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children.
9. What if I am an immediate family member and I already have a temporary visa but I have not traveled to Australia yet?
If you are an immediate family member, then you are allowed to travel to Australia if you can provide documents such as your marriage certificate, evidence of your de-facto relationship such as shared finances or property, your birth certificate or birth certificate for your children. However, this does not include Prospective Marriage Visa holders. Please note that if this applies to you, there is a form that you need to complete and the Department of Immigration will consider your case. We can help you with a free consultation on this process to give you the best chance of success.
10. What if I am a student and I am due to go to Australia to study after the Australian government closed its border?
Unfortunately, with the Australian border now closed until further notice, you will not be able to travel to Australia. We suggest that you contact your education provider for more information on how this affects you.
11. What if I can’t provide additional information due to office closure (Health or Police clearances, Biometrics, English Language Testing)?
You will be given additional time to complete checks and provide requested information. You may need to provide documentation to show your intention to obtain the request. You would need to contact Immigration to ask for an extension while the relevant services are unavailable.
12. What if I can’t return to Australia before my visa expires and want to return?
You will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted.
13. What if I can’t return to Australia in time for my new visa which requires me to be in Australia at time of application or grant?
You will need to apply for a new visa once the travel restrictions are lifted. At this stage, we can’t ask for the extended date on your visa grant notification.
14. What if I can’t complete the Australian Study Requirement or periods of stay under the regional initiatives for Temporary graduate visa holders?
These situations are being considered on a case-by-case basis.
15. Where can I find out more information about the travel restrictions?
Please check the government’s coronavirus website regularly: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus.
Indah Melindasari, our principal migration agent (MARN: 0961448), is an experienced agent with the one-decade worth of experience dealing with working and employer-sponsored visas. As a registered Australian migration agent with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA), we are regulated in our professional practice. We are bound by the profession’s Code of Conduct issued by the Migration Agents Registration Authority.
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