In some instances you will need more than just your plane ticket and passport to travel to Australia. It really pays to find out all of the applicable requirements and to carefully consider your options.
From 22 January 2021, whether travelling to or transiting through Australia, you must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 (PCR) test to your airline, taken 72 hours or less before your scheduled departure. In the absence of evidence of a negative Covid-19 (PRC) test, you would not be allowed to board your flight to Australia.
Depending on your country of citizenship, apart from a valid visa, you may also need to be granted an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions as well as authority to enter Australian states or territories.
For the latest advice on border restrictions please consult the Australian Department of Home Affairs’s website – www.homeaffairs.gov.au.
Australian passport holders do not need a visa to enter Australia.
If you hold Australian citizenship and reside outside of Australia, one option is to obtain your Australian passport to give you the right to enter Australia.
In general, New Zealand passport holders (i.e. NZ citizens) can travel to Australia without a visa and obtain a Subclass 444 – Special Category visa on arrival at the airport.
However, please note that entry to Australia is currently subject to the applicable travel restrictions due to Covid-19 pandemic.
New Zealand citizens may be refused entry into Australia if they have:
criminal convictions resulting in at least 1 year imprisonment
ever been asked to leave Australia
been removed or deported from another country
have active tuberculosis (TB).
New Zealand citizens who have been deported from Australia due to their criminal conviction(s) in Australia will be permanently prohibited from coming back to Australia.
Enter Australia with a criminal record
New Zealand citizens, with any kind of criminal record, should always check if they need to apply for a visa before leaving New Zealand. Contact the Australian High Commission in Auckland well before you intend to travel to find out if you need to apply for a visa.
Australian permanent residence
New Zealand citizens who have been granted Australian permanent residence, are recommended on arrival in Australia to tell immigration clearance officers the following:
that you have a permanent residence visa (for example a Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa)
that you do not want a Special Category visa (Subclass 444)
If you don’t tell Australian immigration clearance officers, you might be granted a Subclass 444 visa on arrival. Grant of a subclass 444 visa might affect your eligibility for:
permanent residency (including any Government benefits)
being eligible for a Resident Return Visa
All other passport holders need the right visa to come to Australia. They also need to get their visa before traveling to Australia. It is possible that you may need a visa to transition through Australia to another destination.
You may not be able to enter Australia if you do not meet the Australian Government’s health and character requirements.
If on a previous occasion you have overstayed your Australian visa or didn’t comply with your visa conditions, the Australian Government may not let you return to Australia for a set period of time. This is called an exclusion period.
Do your research on the right visa to apply for
There are different types of visas depending on your travel purpose and length of intended stay.
Each visa has conditions about what you can and can’t do in Australia. Having a visa to enter Australia does not automatically mean you can work, study or undertake other activities.
Applicants must make sure that they apply for the visa that matches what they want to do in Australia, and that they are eligible to apply for that particular visa.
Visitors who overstay their visas — even for a short period — may be detained and/or deported by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs.
If you are not sure if you have a right to enter Australia or which visa matches what you want to do in Australia, get legal/immigration advice before you travel or make your visa application.
Being refused a visa or entry to Australia can be very costly and detrimental to your immigration history.
Contact us for professional legal advice that will give you peace of mind.
Talk to Elly Fleming, Solicitor, Pitt & Moore.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.