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COVID travel: Why some people are allowed to leave the country

COVID travel: Why some people are allowed to leave the country

Thousands of Aussies are seeking travel exemptions to travel overseas. Under the current federal government travel ban, Australian citizens and permanent residents are able to leave the country for six reasons.

The six reasons that Australians and permanent residents are able to leave the country are:

  • Travel is part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak
  • Travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business
  • To receive urgent medical treatment not available in Australia
  • Urgent and unavoidable personal business
  • Compassionate or humanitarian grounds
  • Travel in the national interest
One Australian couple flew back to the UK as they have work visas until January.

They're among the 6,451 people who have been granted travel exemptions by Border Force officials in the last two weeks, with a total of 40,830 exemptions given since the beginning of March.

The Ratu couple first moved to London in January 2019 and had a plan to fly back to the UK in April this year, which was hindered due to COVID-19.

"We are excited," Mr Ratu said. "It seems that most of Europe is open for business and the UK is starting to get back to normal."

Their Border Force exemption was granted in just two hours.

"We found the approval process pretty straightforward and easy to navigate. As long as you have the correct documentation and evidence of moving overseas for an extended period of time, you get the exemption," Mr Ratu said.

"Our families are supportive and excited for our move overseas but also a little anxious about the current situation overseas with the pandemic and Brexit," he said.

A Border Force spokesperson said the top three categories with the most applications are: compassionate or humanitarian grounds; urgent and unavoidable personal business; and conduct of critical industries and business, including exports and imports.