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Returning to Australia
- Who can travel to Australia
- Caps on international passenger flows into Australia and paying for your hotel quarantine
- State & Territory website links
- Flights from Canada
- Quarantine Requirements
- Passport information
Staying in Canada
COVID-19 Health Information in Canada
Returning to Australia
You can travel to Australia if you are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia. Immediate family members of Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents can travel to Australia and are exempt from the travel restriction. Immediate family members holding a temporary visa will need to provide evidence of their relationship prior to travel by submitting their information in the exemption portal. They should not travel until they are advised that they can. Immediate family members include spouses, de-facto partners, dependent children and legal guardians. Further information can be found on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.
Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community. National Cabinet agreed to caps on international passenger flows. Very limited flights are currently available to and from Australia and you may not be able to travel at this time. Travel restrictions are subject to change and flexibility remains within these caps to as much as possible minimise disruptions to returning Australian citizens and permanent residents. It is ultimately a matter for each airline to determine which passengers are boarded on a flight in accordance with the cap arrangements. National Cabinet agreed to inbound passengers contributing to the costs of hotel quarantine — there are measures to support those in financial difficulty. All travellers arriving in to Australia from overseas will go into monitored quarantine in hotels or other designated facilities for 14 days, before they can go home. Quarantine will be at your city of arrival into Australia. Refer to your local state government for the latest responses to the coronavirus pandemic. You can also check restrictions in all states and territories using the COVID-19 Restriction Checker.
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Australians are currently not able to fly directly from Canada to Australia. Direct flights between Canada and Australia remain suspended, and we are unsure when they will recommence, please monitor the Air Canada website for their latest advice. Commercial options remain via third countries, however flights are subject to change at short notice. Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to predict future changes to flight routes or availability. Please confirm details directly with the airline or a travel agent. Please note: all air travellers in Canada are required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering, or you won’t be able to travel. All airlines and intercity trains will check your health before you board. This includes asking you health questions and looking for visible signs of illness. Those with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to board. You can transit Canada to a third country. However, the Canadian airport you travel through must have transit facilities to permit you to connect to your next flight without having to clear customs or immigration to enter Canada.
All international travellers arriving in Australia, regardless of nationality or point of departure, must complete self-isolation for 14 days in designated facilities (e.g. hotels), before they can go home. Some States may charge travellers for mandatory quarantine stays. Travellers should refer to Australian State Government websites above for up-to-date information on current entry restrictions and quarantine requirements.
The High Commission in Ottawa is still open, however due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation and recommendations from municipal, provincial, and federal health authorities, we have moved to an appointment-only model. Should you wish speak with one of our consular staff or make an appointment to visit the High Commission, please call us at +1 613 236 0841. If you are calling in regards to a passport application or inquiry, our passport officer can also be reached at +1 613 236 0841 (press option 2), or via email at: email@example.com.
The Australian Consulates in Toronto and Vancouver are also open for passport and notarial services, and are ready to support Australians who are seeking consular support or advice. If you wish to make an appointment to visit a Consulate, please make an appointment here.
Please do not attend the High Commission or either Consulate if you fall into any category requiring self-isolation by public health authorities.
Staying in Canada
Should you wish to remain, we advise all Australians to follow the advice of local health authorities (below) and to follow Smartraveller’s recommendations for Australians who will be remaining overseas for the foreseeable future: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-and-updates/covid-19-cant-get-home. Before deciding to stay, we strongly advise that you ensure that you have adequate access to health coverage and valid health insurance that covers a pandemic situation. As well you should be certain that you have sufficient finances and resources to be able to stay in Canada. It also is your responsibility to ensure that your visa eligibility will last for the foreseeable future and will allow you stay in Canada for an extended period of time.
The Australian Government will provide additional support to the most vulnerable Australian citizens whose return to Australia has been impacted by the restrictions arising from COVID-19. The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Marise Payne, set out the key elements of this support in her Media Release, dated 2 September 2020. In summary, if you’ve been unable to return to Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions and you are experiencing financial distress, you may be eligible for a one-off emergency loan to support your living costs while you wait for a flight to Australia and/or to help cover the cost of the flight. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra is administering the Hardship Program with emergency assistance. These emergency loans are only available as a last-resort. Applicants will have to meet strict eligibility criteria and must be intending to return to Australia as soon as a flight is available. Further information on the loans, eligibility and the application process can be found on Smartraveller's Overseas Finance Assistance page.
Two types of loans are available:
- emergency repatriation loans to help cover the costs of return flights to Australia, where available
- emergency living costs loans for Australians who are unable to return as quickly as they would like
This support is intended to assist the most vulnerable Australian citizens overseas, who are in financial distress due to COVID-19, to
- purchase return flights to Australia where this is possible, including where prices have increased
- shelter in place, including to cover the cost of safe, temporary accommodation
- and ensure access to medication and other essentials.
Australians encountering difficulty returning home can also register their presence with DFAT via covid19.dfat.gov.au. Please note, that registering with DFAT does not mean that you will automatically be considered for financial assistance. We encourage those seeking to return to Australia to remain in regular contact with their airlines or travel agents to confirm their arrangements.
Effective May 8th, 2020 and lasting until further notice, only foreign nationals currently outside Canada who: (i) hold a valid IEC work permit or Letter of Introduction; and (ii) have a current and active offer of employment will be permitted to enter Canada. Please note that this new provision applies to all three streams of IEC work permits: international co-op, young professionals, and working holiday. Foreign nationals who do not have a job offer, should not come to Canada at this time. Should you wish to make an enquiry regarding the status of your current Canadian visa, you will need to contact the Canadian authorities. This can be done via the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Client Support Centre here. If you are unable to obtain information from contacting IRCC, or through reviewing the information on their website, including their help centre, please contact the Canadian High Commission in Canberra to see if they can direct you to the information you require: https://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/australia-australie/index.aspx?lang=eng. For up-to-date information regarding existing Canadian visas, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on: +1 888 242 2100 or by visiting: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19.html.
Please visit the IRCC website here for information and updates related to your study permit. Individuals with concerns related to their scholarships or housing should reach out to their host institutions in Canada as a first point of contact. International students who remain in Canada can apply to renew their study permit, and can continue to study and work while their application renewal is being processed. More information on study permits, Employment Insurance, and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for international students can be found here. At this time, international students who held a valid study permit granted before or on March 18, 2020, will be able to travel to Canada. If your host institution will be offering online courses in the fall, a new 2-stage approval process will allows students to start their programs online from their homes. More information can be found here.
Visas in Australia
As of 25 March, the Australian Government has instituted a travel ban to help stem the spread of COVID-19. It will be important to monitor the information on the Department’s website: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus. There is no provision to extend the validity of visas, even if the visa holder has not travelled with their visa. Once the travel restrictions are lifted, if you intend to enter Australia past the validity of your visa, you will need to submit a new application and pay the visa application charge. For more information please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website at: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/staying-australia#3
The visa application charge (VAC) is the fee paid to assess your application and refunds are only issued in very limited circumstances. Refunds would not apply where visa holders are unable to stay in Australia for the duration of their visa validity and the VAC is payable regardless of the visa outcome or travel details.
If your Australian visa has not been granted and you would like to withdraw your application you will need to advise the Department of Home Affairs in writing. You can complete the form 1446 and attach it to your ImmiAccount or, alternatively, attach a letter clearly stating that you no longer wish to proceed with your application. Please note that visa application charges are paid to assess your application. Should you wish to withdraw your application you would not be refunded this fee.
The Australian Government has introduced new measures to assist international students and graduates. One of these measures includes a student visa fee waiver for those that have been unable to complete their study within the original visa validity due to COVID-19 and wish to re-enter Australia to complete their course. For further information on the eligibility requirements for the fee waiver, please visit the Department of Home Affairs website. Students have the option to submit their application now so that when the borders re-open they can make arrangements to travel.
Foreign nationals that will be transiting through Australian airports en-route to another foreign destination for a period of 72 hours or less will not be required to apply for an exemption. If the period awaiting a connecting flight in Australia is greater than 72 hours, the person will not be considered to be transiting and will require a discretionary exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions. You must follow the quarantine requirements in the state or territory that you arrive in. You may need to stay in hotel accommodation and you may be asked to pay for your stay, while you are waiting for your onwards flight. For information on quarantine requirements contact the relevant state or territory government health department.
COVID-19 Health information in Canada
The Canadian Government has closed Canada’s borders to almost all foreign nationals from all countries from entering Canada. For details of the Canadian border closure, as well details of various exemptions, please visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-special-measures.html. If you are exempt and do travel to Canada, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If you do not have an adequate place to self-isolate, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must remain for 14 days. More details on the Government of Canada’s border closure and quarantine requirements can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be available to workers who are residing in Canada and have a valid social insurance number. Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents (including temporary foreign workers and international students) may be eligible to receive the CERB if they meet the eligibility criteria as reflected on the Government of Canada website. The eligibility criteria can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html.
If you would like to speak with a consular officer, we can be reached, during regular business hours, on +1 613 236 0841 (Ottawa), +1 416-323-4280 (Toronto) or +1 604-694-6160 (Vancouver). If you require emergency assistance after-hours, please contact the 24hr Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas) or 1300 555 135 (within Australia).
If you would like to make an enquiry regarding Australian visas or immigration, please contact the Department of Home Affairs' Global Service Centre on +61 2 6196 0196.