10 July 2020:
The National Cabinet agreed today on a consistent national approach to manage the flow of international passengers into Australian airports. The number of incoming passengers will be restricted to ease pressure on state and territory quarantine facilities. If you’re overseas and wish to return home, we encourage you to plan your travel but be prepared for possible delays.
There will be caps on the numbers of passengers coming into Australian airports from overseas.
- These measures will be temporary and will be reviewed.
- The Government will seek to provide airlines with at least 48 hours’ notice to minimise disruptions.
- It’s up to the airlines, not the Government, to decide who it sells tickets to.
- This could affect your flight into Australia.
- If you’re scheduled to fly home to Australia in the coming days and weeks, confirm your itinerary and onward travel plans with your airline or travel agent.
When you arrive back in Australia, you may have to contribute to the cost of quarantine. We expect more states and territories will introduce charges. Contact your state or territory government health department for the latest information on their specific arrangements.
We know this will be stressful for some Australians who have been wanting to come home for some time. We encourage you to:
- be patient
- ensure you have a safe place to stay
- follow the advice of local authorities and
- minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Our network of embassies and consular posts will provide you with up-to-date advice on local conditions and, where possible, on available flights to Australia.
If you require urgent consular assistance you can contact the nearest embassy or high commission or call the Consular Emergency Centre in Australia on +61 2 6261 3305.
Note it’s mandatory to undertake 14 days' quarantine at designated facilities in your port of arrival in Australia. You may also have to undergo testing for COVID-19.
All overseas travel from Australia continues to be banned, with few exceptions.
Given the continuing risks from COVID-19 in many countries, if you’re overseas and wish to come home, we continue to encourage you to plan your travel. But be prepared for delays and disruptions to your plans. There are fewer international flights available due to travel restrictions and closed key transit hubs. Travel regulations and restrictions are changing often and at short notice. On 10 July, the Prime Minister acknowledged it would become more difficult to come home with reduced airport capacity.
If you're trying to get home:
- contact your airline or travel agent for the latest information on your travel arrangements
- follow official announcements from your transit airports and governing authorities
- contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the countries you’re transiting through if you have any queries about their entry or exit requirements
- check the website of your nearest Australian embassy or high commission and follow them closely on social media for up-to-date advice on local conditions and, where relevant, on available flights to Australia
- 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 should your flights be cancelled at short notice, or while en route.
- we encourage you to be patient, ensure you have a safe place to stay, follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19
- if you require urgent consular assistance, you can contact the nearest embassy or high commission or call the Consular Emergency Centre in Australia on +61 2 6261 3305
When you arrive back in Australia, you must undertake 14 days' quarantine at designated facilities in your port of arrival. During this time, you may have to be tested for COVID-19. If you don’t agree to be tested, you may have to quarantine for longer. You may also have to contribute to the cost of quarantine. Check your state or territory government health department for the latest information.
Staying where you are
In some cases, you may need to make arrangements to stay where you are for a longer period.
We understand this is a very challenging situation. Our ambassadors, high commissioners and consular officials are working hard to assist those most in need.
In some cases, particularly if you’re living and working overseas long-term, you may have the support, accommodation and income you need to remain where you are through this period.
If, for whatever reason, you’re staying somewhere longer than you planned:
- monitor and follow the advice of local authorities
- read our travel advice and subscribe to news and the travel advice for your location
- check the website of your nearest Australian embassy or high commission and follow them closely on social media for up-to-date advice on local conditions
- make arrangements for an extended stay
- take care to minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19
- COVID-19 - what to do when you can't get home
- COVID-19 - advice for Australians living, working or studying overseas
Travel to a third country or within other countries
As borders open up and restrictions ease overseas, you may be wondering if the ban on overseas travel from Australia applies to you. The border restrictions, including the outwards travel ban, the entry ban and quarantine requirements are about protecting Australia from the further spread of COVID-19. They don’t apply if you’re staying overseas.
However, travel between countries, and even within some countries, is still unpredictable and risky. We urge you to read our travel advice for your destination so you can weigh up the risks and make informed decisions about your travel.
- COVID-19 – advice for Australians living, working or studying overseas
- Travel advice explained - includes information on the difference between our travel advice and the travel bans
Our ability to provide our usual consular services in many places is limited during this time. In some countries, our embassy buildings are closed to the public or offering limited consultations by appointment only. This is due to tight restrictions on local services and movement, including of our embassy staff.
While we can’t always get out and about in the way we normally would, rest assured our staff are hard at work behind the scenes. We’re focused on sharing the most up-to-date local advice and information for Australians, providing consular and passport services in situations of genuine need and working with other governments on the international effort to combat COVID-19.
The Foreign Minister decided on 26 March to direct the departure to Australia of all remaining dependants and non-essential staff from a number of Australian embassies and high commissions in countries where there is significant pressure on local health systems and reducing transport links. This will not affect the provision of services to Australians in these locations.
Travel plans in the coming months?
If you have future travel planned or are considering going overseas, cancel or postpone these plans. There’s a ban on Australians travelling overseas. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs. Find out more on its Leaving Australia page.
And remember that, even if you're able to get an exemption, you’ll still have to comply with entry restrictions when you come back to Australia, including 14 days of mandatory quarantine.
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.
See our Travelling by boat page for further information.
For non-urgent inquiries, email email@example.com.
For urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest Australian embassy, high commission or consulate or call DFAT’s Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 from Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas.
- COVID-19 – information for Australian travellers
- Returning to Australia
- COVID-19 – what to do when you can't get home
- COVID-19 – advice for Australians living, studying or working overseas
- COVID-19 and consular services overseas
- COVID-19 – helping Australians to return home
- Travelling by boat
- Medical assistance overseas