The Consulate raises awareness of Australia’s capabilities across a range of sectors, including the creative industries (film, music and fashion), innovation and technology, infrastructure, education, and tourism. In addition, the Consulate-General in Los Angeles manages the annual G’Day USA program, which brings together business, academia and policy makers to showcase Australia as an innovative and high-quality partner for the US, build people to people links, and enhance dialogue on shared priorities such as cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, defence industries and innovation.
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STAY INFORMED: COVID19
**Last updated 3.00pm EDT Friday 17 April 2020 - Please monitor this page and our social media channels for updates.
- COVID-19 – What to do when you can’t get home
- COVID-19 - Ban on Departure from Australia
- Information for Australians (including quarantine for arrivals)
- Australian Government Information
- Travel within Australia: State and Territory restrictions
- Information for Australian Pet Owners
- Cruise Ship Information
- Embassy visitors
- Passport and consular clients
- Information for travellers to Australia
- US Visas
- Operating Status and Local Information
COVID-19 – WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T GET HOME
Advice as per Smartraveller: We understand that it’s stressful and frightening if you can’t get home because of border closures and flight cancellations overseas.
We suggest you continue to check with local authorities and airlines about available flights out, but you may have to wait it out in that country until the border closures are lifted or other arrangements are made.
Here’s our advice for what to do if you can’t leave the country you’re in: smartraveller.gov.au/COVID-19-cant-get-home
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.
COVID-19 - BAN ON DEPARTURE FROM AUSTRALIA
There is a currently a ban in place on Australians travelling overseas. This is on top of Smartraveller advice to not travel overseas at this time.
The ban will help prevent travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus. Some exemptions will apply including for:
- people ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
- airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers
- New Zealand citizens holding a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa are not permanent residents for the purposes of the Biosecurity Determination and are permitted to depart Australia. New Zealand citizens who are permanent visa holders may apply for a Commissioner’s discretion
- people engaged in the day to day conduct of outbound and inbound freight
- people whose travel is associated with essential work at offshore facilities and
- people travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force
More details will follow on advice from the Department of Home Affairs.
For more information go to Smartraveller's COVID-19 Travel Ban page.
INFORMATION FOR AUSTRALIANS (PER SMARTRAVELLER)
QUARANTINE FOR ARRIVALS UPON ENTRY TO AUSTRALIA
From 11:59pm AEDT 28 March, all travellers arriving in to Australia from overseas will go into monitored quarantine in hotels or other designated facilities for 14 days, before they can go home. Self-isolation will be at your city of arrival into Australia. Restrictions in place until: Further notice. See https://pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-270320.
- All travellers arriving in Australia by air or sea must be isolated in mandatory quarantine accommodation for 14 days from their arrival, with few exceptions. These requirements will be managed and enforced by state and territory governments with Australian Government support, including from the Australian Defence Force and Australian Border Force.
- You will be quarantined in the city you arrive in for 14 days, even if you don’t normally live there or plan to travel elsewhere in Australia from there.
- Most quarantine accommodation is being managed by state and territory governments. They will handle transport for travellers from their arrival point to their quarantine accommodation and manage quarantine arrangements at the accommodation facility.
- To find out more about how quarantine works in your state or territory, or to ask about someone you know who has been quarantined, contact your state or territory government health department.
- For further information see New arrangements for arrivals from overseas.
On 24 March the Prime Minister announced a ban on all overseas travel, with few exceptions. This is on top of Smartraveller's 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.
The Australian Government advises all Australians do not travel overseas at this time. This is the highest advice level (level 4 of 4).
If you are already overseas and wish to return to Australia, the Australian Government recommend you do so as soon as possible by commercial means.
As more countries close their borders or introduce travel restrictions, overseas travel is becoming more complex and difficult. You may not be able to return to Australia when you had planned to. Consider whether you have access to health care and support systems if you get sick while overseas. If you decide to return to Australia, do so as soon as possible. Commercial options may become less available.
If you choose to stay, note our ability to provide consular assistance in some places may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.
Contact your airline, travel agent or insurance company to discuss your travel plans and options for cancelling or postponing current bookings, or to arrange commercial flights back to Australia.
All cruise ships which have sailed from a foreign port have been banned from entering Australian ports for 30 days.
For urgent consular assistance contact:
- +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
- 1300 555 135 from within Australia
For non-urgent inquiries, email [email protected]
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
The Australian Government is providing important information and resources for all Australians. Various departments are responsible for specific elements of the whole-of-government repsonse to COIVD-19. The Government is supported by the National Cabinet comprising the prime minister and all state and territory premiers and chief ministers.
The Australian Government COVID portal: one-stop-shop on how the Government is responding to COVID-19.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smartraveller: smartraveller travel alerts and consular contact details.
Department of Home Affairs: border closures, immigration and cyber security.
Department of Health: resources to help you flatten the curve.
Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade): information for Australian exporters.
Treasury: economic overview of the response.
Services Australia (Centrelink): financial support for individuals.
Business Australia: assistance for Australian businesses.
TRAVEL WITHIN AUSTRALIA: STATE AND TERRITORY RESTRICTIONS
Australians must avoid all non-essential domestic travel. Social distancing is slowing the spread of coronavirus and it’s important that this continue at Easter. Australians should stay at home this Easter and not undertake holiday travel.
Seasonal workers planning on travelling between urban and regional areas need to self-isolate for 14 days when moving between areas to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
States and territories can apply their own restrictions, including closing their state borders. Find out more about restrictions in your state or territory:
- Australian Capital Territory: ACT Government Health
- New South Wales: NSW Government Health
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Government
- Queensland: Queensland government health and wellbeing
- South Australia: Government of South Australia SA Health
- Tasmania: Tasmanian Government Department of Health
- Victoria: Victoria State Government Health and Human Services
- Western Australia: Government of Western Australia Department of Health
INFORMATION FOR AUSTRALIAN PET OWNERS
The current COVID-19 pandemic does not change the existing risks posed by diseases of biosecurity concern to Australia or the need for cats and dogs to meet the import permit conditions in full. These import conditions protect Australia against exotic diseases. To ensure animal welfare and manage the significant biosecurity risks posed by international transport of animals, all animals destined for the quarantine facility at Mickleham, Victoria must arrive directly into Melbourne Airport. Animals cannot be transhipped to Melbourne on a domestic flight from another Australian port. As current flight routes from the United States do not include Melbourne, entry of pets from the United States to Australia cannot be facilitated at this time. Pet owners should make alternate arrangements for the care of their pet in the United States until such time that travel conditions change. For more information please see the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website.
CRUISE SHIP INFORMATION
The Embassy is aware of Australian crew currently being required to remain on board their cruise ships within U.S. waters. This will continue until there is a change in U.S. policy regarding disembarkation and onwards travel of cruise ship crews, or until the cruise lines are able to arrange charters to fly crew out of the U.S. and back to their home country. Additionally, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia is aware of the more than 100 cruise ships off the coast of the U.S. which have been impacted by the global outbreak of COVID-19 with upwards of 90,000 crew remaining on board.
Plans to disembark and repatriate crew in the U.S. are evolving in line with changing global travel restrictions. Since 4 April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has required cruise lines to organise chartered flights out of the U.S. before crew can disembark at U.S. ports. U.S. authorities will not allow crew to travel on commercial aircraft or other forms of public transportation at this time.
The U.S. requirement for crew to depart the U.S. only on charter fights has created some unique challenges that the cruise line industry is working to overcome. We continue to work with the cruise lines, U.S. authorities and others to see that Australian crew are repatriated as expeditiously and as safely as possible given the restrictions imposed by the U.S.
In the meantime, we advise Australians who are crew members on cruise ships to:
- talk to their employer if they have concerns about where or when they can disembark, or how they might return to Australia;
- speak to the cruise ship medical staff if they have any health concerns, including access to any medication; and
- make contact with family and friends in Australia and keep them up to date with their situation.
We have been advised that the cruise lines are engaging daily with U.S. authorities and are working 24/7 to find a solution to the current issues confronting crew trying to get home.
EMBASSY AND CONSULATE VISITORS
The Australian Embassy and Consulates-General are taking precautions to protect visitors and staff during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily such as tables, light switches, countertops, door handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
Please note, in the public facing areas of our Embassy, only passport, consular and notarial services remain open, our gallery is temporarily closed, until further notice.
Australian Consulate-General Los Angeles: In compliance with Mayor Garcetti’s Safer at Home Order dated 19 March and revised 10 April 2020, all members of the public who enter the Australian Consulate-General Los Angeles must wear a face covering during their time in the Consulate.
PASSPORT AND CONSULAR CLIENTS
TEMPORARY PASSPORT ARRANGEMENTS DURING COVID-19
Passport and Consular Services
The Australian Embassy and Consulates-General remain open to provide essential passport and consular services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wherever possible we encourage you to lodge your passport application (including renewals) via mail or follow the instructions on the Passport applications during COVID-19 page
For contact details of our offices please visit our Passport Locations page
The safety and health of our visitors and staff is a priority. For the safety of our staff and other visitors, we ask that you do not bring anyone to your appointment who is not required to attend. If you are accompanied by friends or family members, they are welcome to wait outside our locations while you lodge your application.
Staff may wear gloves during security screening and the exchange of documents with visitors. Visitors are being asked to use hand-sanitizer as appropriate.
INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS TO AUSTRALIA
From Friday 20 March 9pm AEDT (6.00am EDT) Australia will NOT allow the entry of people who are not citizens, permanent residents or their families.
From 11:59pm AEDT 28 March, all travellers arriving in to Australia from overseas will go into monitored quarantine in hotels or other designated facilities for 14 days, before they can go home. Self-isolation will be at your city of arrival into Australia. See https://pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures-270320
Immediate family members who are not permanent residents must apply for an exemption if they wish to travel to Australia during this period. Detailed information about the exemptions is available here website.
A web form is available for family members to apply for an exemption. Proof of the family relationship should be provided as part of this request. Non-family members may also use the form to apply for an exemption if they have a compelling or compassionate reason for travel.
What does this mean? If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you and your immediate family will be able to return to Australia. You’ll still be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If you’re a foreign national visiting Australia, you’ll still be allowed to depart Australia.
For additional Australian visa information in relation to COVID-19 please refer to our Visas and Migration page.
There are confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia. For the latest information on coronavirus cases in Australia, please refer to the Department of Health's website.
Additional travel alerts are in place for a number of countries. If you are considering travelling overseas or visiting Australia you should contact your travel agent and visit the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website for the most up-to-date advice.
Currently all Australian airports are open and, with the exception of flights to and from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. A number of airlines have reduced or cancelled flights in response to a drop in demand for these services. We recommend checking with your airline or travel agent before booking or undertaking travel.
Australian citizens who reside in the United States but are currently in Europe, please refer to the US Department of Homeland Security website for information on returning to the United States.
All enquiries about US visas and your status in country should be directed to the relevant US authorities. If you are in Australia, please contact the US Embassy in Canberra, or one of the US Consulates in Sydney, Perth or Melbourne. If you are already in the United States, please contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on +1 800 375 5283, or the Department of State’s Visa Services on +1 202 485 7600.
For Australians in the US looking to apply online, extend or change their non-immigrant status (including E3 visa holders) please visit this link: https://www.uscis.gov/i539online.
If you can’t contact USCIS and are delayed beyond your departure date (e.g. due to airline cancellations or you are unable to apply to USCIS to extend your stay because USCIS offices are closed) you should keep documentation in order to present to US authorities in future should the need arise, and seek the advice of a migration lawyer.
We would also encourage you to consult your employer or sponsor and speak with an immigration attorney to see what options may be available to you.
US Department of State: suspension of routine visa services: In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates have canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020. As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide emergency and mission critical visa services. More information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/suspension-of-routine-visa-services.html
All enquiries about ESTAs should be directed to the relevant US authorities. If you are travelling in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and are concerned about your status in country, contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on +1 800 375 5283. You can also speak with an immigration attorney to see what options may be available to you
OPERATING STATUS AND LOCAL INFORMATION
Operating status updates for each state, including schools, restaurants, emergency services and transport are available on the state's local website. We recommend you closely monitor and register for alerts from these local authorities in your state. For your convenience we have compiled a list of all state local information on our Local Conditions: COVID-19 page.
Smartraveller has the latest, authoritative travel advice so you can be informed and prepared about overseas travel. Subscribe to receive travel advice updates - by simply supplying your name and email address – straight to your inbox.
You can now also subscribe to the new SMS service - by supplying your mobile number – to receive critical alerts in the event of a crisis overseas.
In a crisis, Smartraveller will activate a crisis page on its website. It will make it easier for you or someone you know to contact the Australian Government if you need help. It will supplement the consular emergency hotline.
Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au to subscribe or connect with Smartraveller on Facebook and Twitter.