COVID-19: Trying to get home
This page has advice for Australians overseas who are trying to return home to Australia.
If you’re overseas and wish to come home, be prepared for delays and disruptions to your travel. There are fewer international flights available due to travel restrictions, disruptions to key transit hubs and limits on passenger arrivals into Australia. Travel regulations and restrictions are changing often and at short notice.
- Incoming passenger caps
- Additional commercial flights to Australia
- Registering with DFAT
- Overseas financial assistance
- Travelling to Australia by yacht or small craft
- Need help?
Incoming passenger caps
There are caps on the numbers of passengers coming into Australian airports from overseas. These are in place to ease pressure on state and territory quarantine facilities. These measures will remain in place until further notice.
Airlines manage the sale of tickets in line with the caps, not the government.
This could affect your flight into Australia. If you’re scheduled to fly home to Australia in the coming weeks, confirm your itinerary and travel plans with your airline or travel agent.
Other tips if you’re trying to get home:
- For questions about visas and other entry and exit requirements, contact the relevant foreign embassy or consulate.
- For up-to-date advice on local conditions and information on available flights to Australia, check the website of your nearest Australian embassy or high commission and follow them closely on social media.
- Subscribe to our travel advisories and news.
- Make sure you’ve considered all your available options, and be prepared to put in place alternative arrangements in case your flights are cancelled at short notice, or while en route.
- If you're receiving an Australian Government payment, you may be eligible to request an extension so that you continue to receive your payment. Contact Services Australia to discuss your situation.
Additional commercial flights to Australia
The government is continuing to help Australians return to Australia by arranging additional flights with commercial airlines. The number of government-arranged commercial flights depends on the number of people states and territories can quarantine in a given week.
On 16 January, the Prime Minister approved an additional 20 facilitated commercial flights to operate between 31 January to the end of June 2021.
The Australian Government will continue to work with the States and Territories to operate flights from a range of countries including UK, Europe, India and possibly other destinations in coming weeks.
This is in addition to the 28 flights facilitated by the Government since 23 October which assisted over 3,800 Australians return from destinations including London, New Delhi, Santiago, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Chennai, Paris, Los Angeles and a number of ports with direct connections through Singapore.
Those who've been identified as vulnerable are given priority access to these flights. If we can offer you a flight, we'll contact you via the email you registered with us. You'll then be able to book a flight using the information provided.
The airfares will be set at commercial rates, with loans through DFAT available to those who need assistance. See Overseas financial assistance below.
The government is engaging closely with state and territory authorities to increase quarantine capacity in major airports. It’s also looking at options to open up more airports to receive more Australians back from overseas.
Registering with DFAT
If you’re overseas and have been trying to return to Australia, you can register your details with us via our registration portal.
Registering your details with DFAT does not guarantee we can facilitate your return to Australia. However, it does allow us to better understand who is trying to return home and help us with planning.
To find out more, read our Registration FAQs.
Overseas financial assistance
If you’ve been unable to return to Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions and are experiencing financial distress, you may be eligible for interest-free loans to cover living costs while you wait for a flight to return to Australia and/or to help cover the costs of the flight. Find out more on the COVID-19: Overseas financial assistance page.
Travelling to Australia by yacht or small craft
If you’re planning to sail your yacht or small craft back to Australia, carefully consider the risks to your personal health and safety and that of your crew members from COVID-19 and related restrictions. Due to border closures and other restrictions, you may not have access to ports and supplies en route. It’s not the responsibility of the Australian government to negotiate access or facilitate your journey.
At this time, we recommend you either moor your boat and stay where you are, or if you wish to come home and flights are available, store your boat and fly back to Australia.
We know this is a very stressful time for those trying to come home. We encourage you to be patient, follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
For non-urgent enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your situation becomes life-threatening, or you have very serious concerns for your welfare, contact the nearest embassy or high commission or call the Consular Emergency Centre in Australia on +61 2 6261 3305.
- While you’re away
- Consular Services Charter
- Urgent help
- COVID-19: Overseas financial assistance
- Medical assistance overseas
- Taking care of your mental health overseas
- COVID-19: Staying overseas
- Travelling by boat
Australia has strict border measures in place to protect the health of the Australian community.
Read our advice on COVID-19, including leaving Australia, trying to get home, arriving in Australia and staying overseas.