Travel Exemption Statistics during Covid

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Travel Ban Exemptions during the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

Statistics for Travel ban exemptions, for incoming travel between Oct 2020 and Jan 2021, under the ‘Compelling and Compassionate’ reasons group. This covers relationship applications.

An average of 907 exemptions each month were granted for Compelling and Compassionate Reasons, between Oct 2020 to Jan 2021.

An average of 1,504 per month were found to be exempt from restrictions, during Oct to Dec 2020, being assessed to be immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Those two add up to an average of 2,411 each month being permitted entry.

Between Oct 2020 and Jan 2021 there were also 10,838 Grants and 11,252 Refusals for Critical Skills, National Interest and Medical treatment reasons.

There was a total of 14,468 grants and 46,445 refusals.

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Compelling and Compassionate Reasons:
3,630 granted.
35,303 refused.

Critical Skills (non medical)
9,736 Granted.
10,852 Refused.

Critical Skills (medical)
363 Granted.
92 Refused.

National Interest (including diplomats)
513 Granted.
11 Refused.

Urgent Medical treatment
226 Granted.
187 Refused.

Freedom of Information Requests

Originally posted 20th June 2020

About 80% of the Travel Exemptions applied for under compassionate grounds, appear to be granted.

Actual numbers,  released by tbe Dept of Home Affairs, shows that out of 996 requests for travel exemption on compassionate grounds, during 2nd Feb to 6th May, 801 were approved, and 195 rejected.

Travel exemptions on compassionate grounds would normally be granted to partners of Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents, where the foreign partner has applied for a visa, and they are being kept separated due to the Coronavirus.


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The information we give is based on personal experiences, reading and formulation of available statistics.
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7 thoughts on “Travel Exemption Statistics during Covid”

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  1. If you feel like sending $5 to buy me a cup of coffee, please click the donate button.

  2. Travel Ban Exemptions under the ‘Immediate Family member of an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident’ category.

    February 2021
    4,614 Applications with 1,321 grants.

    January 2021
    5,048 Applications with 1,146 grants.

    December 2020
    5,024 Applications with 1,187 grants.

    November 2020
    5,803 Applications with 1,810 grants.

    October 2020
    5,490 Applications with 1,717 grants.

    September 2020
    5,020 Applications with 1,877 grants.

  3. Hi Admin,

    If an individual working in Australia since 3+ years on work visa, gets a PR sponsored by same company, can his/her partner be allowed to get a travel exemption?
    What kind of reasons mostly get travel exemptions ?


    1. I think the reasons must be compelling enough to show how Covid has caused the couple to be separated for too long.

      A voluntary separation, prior to COVID, would not get the priority when compared to a forced, COVID caused, separation.

      They probably get 10 times as many requests than they have quarantine places for, hence only 1 in 10 get approved.

  4. Between 1 October and 31 December 2020, 4,514 individuals were found to be exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions as they have been assessed to be immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

    Freedom of Information request: FA21/02/00368

  5. Australian inbound travel exemptions granted by month between September 2020 and January 2021.

    Discretionary exemptions*
    Sep-20 3,935
    Oct-20 4,571
    Nov-20 3,511
    Dec-20 3,871
    Jan-21 2,507

    Immediate family**
    Sep-20 1,877
    Oct-20 1,717
    Nov-20 1,610
    Dec-20 1,187
    Jan-21 1,145

    * Includes travel exemptions approved under a discretionary category (such as compassionate and compelling reasons, or critical skills)
    ** Individuals found to be exempt from current restrictions on travel to Australia, on the basis of being the immediate family members of an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

    Freedom of Information Request: FA 21/02/00411

  6. Update with latest data.

    The ABF received over 87,600 travel exemption requests up to 31 July 2020.

    At least 10,440 foreign nationals were approved to enter Australia before June 30.

    Only 1,740 of these were allowed to enter on compassionate grounds.

  7. Travel exemption grant times do seem to vary a lot. I have seen it vary from getting the grant within an hour of application, some getting it the next day, but others still waiting after almost a month.

    Immigration do say that you must: “have a compelling or compassionate reason to travel to Australia urgently​”

    I assume that the applicant’s reasons and amount of proof shown, will affect decisions.

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