Steps to apply for exemption to leave Australia

20 November 2020 Laura Barratt

News & Resources: Barratt Galvin Legal Recruitment Specialists

Australia currently has strict border measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens due to the ongoing threat of Covid-19.  Most Australians will not have departed the country since early 2020.  However, if circumstances arise that require you to leave the country, you must apply for an exemption to leave Australia.  We have set out below a guide on how to apply for this exemption.

When applying for an exemption to leave Australia, you must do so at least 2 weeks, but not more than 3 months, prior to travel unless your travel relates to death or critical illness of a close family member in which case priority will be given.  The majority of applications are finalised within 48 hours.

Conditions you need to meet

You must meet at least one of the following conditions in order to apply for an exemption:

  • your travel is as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the provision of aid 
  • your travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries)
  • you are travelling to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia
  • you are travelling on urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • you are travelling on compassionate or humanitarian grounds 
  • your travel is in the national interest.

Proof of evidence

You must provide evidence to support your claims which must be officially translated into English.  If granted an exemption, this evidence must be taken to the airport when departing.  Evidence may include:

  • passport/s
  • marriage certificate/s
  • birth certificate/s
  • death certificate/s
  • proof of relationship (for example, shared tenancy agreement, joint bank account etc.)*
  • proof that you are moving to another country on a long term basis such as leases, job offers and evidence your goods are being transported
  • proof of your current valid visa, including in Australia and/or overseas
  • letter from a doctor or hospital about any medical treatment/condition with statements on why travel is necessary
  • letter from an employer showing why the travel is necessary or that the work undertaken by you is critical
  • statement or evidence to show when you wish to return to Australia
  • any other proof you may have to support your claims.

Requesting an exemption

  • Check if you need to apply for an exemption or what documents you need to provide by clicking on COVID19 and the border
  • Prepare your supporting documents for uploading (up to 25 attachments per request, maximum file size 15MB)
  • Ensure you are using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari as your web browser
  • Create an account at
  • Verify your email address (you will be emailed a link)
  • Login to submit your request and to track the status of requests

Recommended sources

The situation is constantly changing; therefore we recommend you keep up to date with restrictions and exemptions via official channels including:

Barratt Galvin is an Australian based legal recruitment business providing law firm resourcing solutions.  Collectively, our consultants have over twenty year’s experience placing legal professionals into law jobs locally and internationally. 

Based in Sydney, we assist legal professionals looking for legal jobs within Australia, as well as those relocating to or returning from London and the Middle East legal markets.  

Our core client base is made up of elite private practice legal teams within mid to top tier and international law firms.  The legal jobs we recruit for include Lawyers, Legal Secretaries, EA/PA, HR, Business Development & Marketing and Office Support. 

As recruitment experts in Australia, London and the Middle East we can assist you with your international or local legal job search.   Barratt Galvin is focussed on providing you access to legal job opportunities that align with your career goals, at the best possible salary level within the market.

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