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Key Points

  • On August 11, 2021, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs announced new guidelines and rules for leaving Australia
  • Effective August 11, 2021, permanent residents with non-Australian domicile and Australian citizens will not be automatically exempt from departure travel restrictions
  • All travelers seeking to leave Australia must now apply for exemption through the Travel Exemption Portal


Individuals applying for travel exemption must provide supporting evidence for their departure. Examples of evidence include:

  • Foreign government-issued documentation
    • Foreign driver’s license
    • Foreign government-issued ID or residency document/card
  • Evidence of an established overseas home
    • Tenant lease or residential agreement
    • Utility bills, notices for bill payment
  • Evidence of overseas employment and/or -ongoing business interests
    • Employment verification letter or employment contract from a foreign country
    • Business tenancy/rental agreement

If individuals have planned travel and do not meet ordinary resident requirements, they must apply through the travel exemption portal under the “ordinarily resident” category.

If individuals received travel exemption approval before August 11, 2021, and have not yet departed Australia, they may utilize their approval for one (1) single departure from Australia. They do not need to apply for another exemption unless they have already departed on a previous approval or intend to depart again in the future.

For individuals outside Australia: If these individuals wish to travel to Australia, then return to their home country of residence, they may apply for an outwards exemption prior to arriving in Australia.
Transitional Considerations

Until 7 September 2021, travelers who arrive in Australia without an exemption will be allowed to travel if an ABF officer confirms their “ordinarily resident” status upon departure. These travelers will be advised to apply for exemptions in the future.

What are the changes?

Previously, permanent residents and Australian citizens had more flexible exemptions for leaving the country. With increased risks from the COVID-19 Delta variant, the Australian government is exercising an abundance of caution.

Looking Ahead

The Australian Department of Home Affairs continues to monitor the epidemiological situation and may implement similar policies. Employers with Australia-bound or -based talent should continue to exercise caution and heed all public health protocols.

Source: Australian Department of Home Affairs

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