Coronavirus Lockdown: How does this affect your visa?

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

The possibility of a COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak in the local community is a real threat that many are advised to be prepared for. The Australian Federal Government has already taken measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 coming into Australia.


At this stage, there is no medical solution available for the virus and as such, the Federal Government has instead instituted a national lockdown. This is a policy that can have adverse effects for visa holders and visa applicants living within Australia or travelling to and from the country.



We at Trinity York Legal + Migration can help assist those who are stranded in Australia and need assistance with extended visas due to travel bans and COVID. Please refer to this table below for a list of frequently asked visa-related questions. Below the table are answers to these questions.


If you have any further inquiries or you have a question that is not found on this table, please reach out to us by visiting our website or by contacting us via our telephone (07) 3012 6404 or email info@trinityyork.com.au.


Please note, many of these travel restrictions are temporary and can change.


You are outside of Australia


Q1. You are travelling to Australia after leaving China, Italy, Iran or South Korea.


Do not attempt to travel to the country within 14 days of leaving China, Italy, Iran or South Korea unless you are:


  • an Australian citizen

  • a permanent resident

  • an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident including spouses/de facto partners, minor dependants and legal guardians • a New Zealand citizen resident in Australia

  • an accredited diplomat


If you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, please contact us so that we may assist you with this legal problem.


If you are an Australian citizen returning home after travelling to these countries, you must spend 14 days in quarantine before returning to society.


Q2. Can I return to Australia using my Bridging B visa (BVB)?


Travel restrictions mean you will be unable to enter Australia while holding a temporary visa, unless you satisfy one of the above exemptions. If you have left or transited through China, Italy, Iran or South Korea within 14 days, do not attempt to travel to Australia. Bridging visas are not able to be granted if you are outside Australia. If your Bridging visa expires and you are outside Australia, you will need to apply for another visa once the travel restrictions have been lifted.


Q3. I am currently overseas and will not be able to enter Australia before my visa ceases. What do I need to do to travel to Australia?


You cannot extend the validity period of a visa. If you are outside Australia, then you are unable to enter before your visa’s validity ceases, you will need to apply for a new visa if you wish to travel to Australia.


Q4. I am a New Zealand citizen. What does ‘usually resident’ mean and how do I prove it?


Special Category (Subclass 444) visas granted to New Zealand citizens are not a permanent residence visa. However, if you usually reside in Australia, you will not be subject to the current travel restrictions. You may prove your residence in Australia by showing your driver’s license or any documents in relation to home ownership or rental property.


Q5. I am a former permanent resident. Can I travel to Australia?


As a former permanent resident, you may be able to apply for a Resident Return visa, however, you will need to wait to be granted that visa before you can travel to Australia.


Q6. I think my visa has been cancelled. What do I do now?


Since the introduction of the temporary travel restrictions, the Department has cancelled a small number of temporary visas for persons who have attempted to travel to Australia.


These persons have been notified in writing of their visa cancellation and provided with advice on how to seek revocation of the cancellation decision. Revocation requests will be prioritised for consideration by the Department after the temporary travel restrictions have been lifted. Visas will be reinstated for people who can demonstrate they have been outside of mainland China for a minimum period of 14 days or if they fall within one of the existing exemption categories.


Q7. I was given 28 days to provide additional information for my visa application, but I can’t meet this timeframe.


The Department is aware that some services overseas are temporarily closed which affects applicants’ ability to obtain biometrics, health and police clearances. These applicants will be provided additional time to complete checks and provide requested information.


Q8. I have applied for a permanent visa. Will that still be processed?


The Department continues to process Skilled and Family permanent visas for people usually resident in China, South Korea, Iran or Iraq. Visas will be granted where travel restrictions are lifted.

You are in Australia


Q9. I am a visa holder in Australia, my visa is about to expire and I cannot return to China. Can I extend my stay in Australia?


If you wish to remain in Australia beyond the expiry date of your current visa, you must apply for a further visa. Information on staying in Australia beyond your current visa expiry date can be found at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/visa-about-to-expire/stay-longer


Q10. When should I apply for another visa to remain in Australia?


An application should be made before your current visa expires. In this case, you may be eligible to be granted a bridging visa, which will keep you lawful in Australia until a decision is made on your visa application.


Q11. I am a visa holder in Australia and my current visa has the ‘No Further Stay’ condition attached? Can I stay in Australia?


If your current visa includes a ‘No Further Stay’ condition (includes 8503, 8534 and 8535), then you are unable to make a valid application for most other visas while you are in Australia. If you wish to remain in Australia beyond your visa’s expiry date, a request to waive this condition must be made.


Q12. I am a visa holder in Australia and my visa has condition 8558 (Non Resident cannot stay for more than 12 months in any 18 month period) and I have already been in Australia for nearly 12 months in the last 18 months? Do I need to apply for a new visa in order to remain?


If you currently hold a visa which includes condition 8558, and you wish to remain in Australia for more than 12 months in any 18 month period, you will need to apply for a further visa in order to avoid breaching this condition.


Q13. I don’t have a valid visa. What do I do now?


If your visa has expired, you need to apply for a Bridging E visa (BVE) immediately in order to become lawful. A BVE is a short-term visa that lets you remain lawful while you make arrangements to leave, finalise immigration matters or wait for an immigration decision.


If you have any further inquiries or you have a question that is not found on this table, please reach out to us by visiting our website or by contacting us via our telephone (07) 3012 6404 or email info@trinityyork.com.au.


Visa and federal policy information sourced from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs' website: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-media/current-alerts/novel-coronavirus


CreativeCommons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/deed.en


The information provided in this article is for general purposes only. It is not to be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Trinity York Legal + Migration is not liable for losses caused by reliance on the material in this article. Formal legal advice should be obtained.

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