26 March 2020:
On 24 March the Prime Minister announced a ban on all overseas travel, with few exceptions.
This is on top of our standing advice from 18 March to not travel overseas at this time.
While there are still commercial options available to return to Australia, take them.
There are currently unprecedented numbers of Australians trying to make their way home. If you’re one of them, we know it’s a stressful and difficult time to be overseas.
Most countries still have arrangements in place to allow Australians to leave. But in many cases, the window of opportunity to do so is closing. If you want to come back to Australia, and commercial flights are available, take them as soon as possible.
A number of major transit hubs are now closed to transiting passengers. If you need to transit, look out for any announcements from the airports and airlines you’ll be using. Some have signalled an intention to continue operating, while others may choose to close at short notice.
In countries where airlines have stopped operating, we are working with the airline industry and other governments to help Australians find ways to get home.
About 3000 Australians are also on cruise ships all over the world on more than 30 cruise ships. We’re working with cruise operators and other governments to help these Australians return home safely as soon as possible.
It’s important to understand that our ability to provide consular assistance in many places is now limited. This is due to tight restrictions on local services and movement, including of our embassy staff.
The scale and complexity of this crisis is greater than anything we have faced before. With the global shutdown of borders and transit hubs, it won’t be possible to help everyone get home from the many parts of the world Australians are travelling, until the travel restrictions are lifted.
Our focus will be on those places where Australians are most vulnerable.
Staying where you are
In some cases, you may need to make arrangements to stay where you are for a longer period, until your departure can be arranged or border closures are lifted. We understand this is a very challenging situation. Consular officials are doing all they can to assist those most in need.
In other 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 you’re staying somewhere longer than you planned, follow the advice of local authorities and take care to protect yourself from exposure to COVID-19.
Please stay in touch with friends and family back home and continue to monitor www.smartraveller.gov.au and the social media accounts of the closest Australian diplomatic mission.
Travel plans in the coming months?
If you have future travel planned or are considering going overseas, cancel or postpone these plans. A ban is in place. The risks to your health and that of others is too great.
The Foreign Minister decided on 26 March to direct the departure to Australia of all remaining non-essential staff and dependants from a number of Australian Embassies and High Commissions in countries where there is significant pressure on local health systems and reducing transport links. Relevant country travel advisories will be updated.
This will not affect the provision of services to Australians in these locations.
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. For non-urgent inquiries, email email@example.com