Coronavirus and its impact on temporary visa holders

Anyone who has left or transited mainland China from 1 February 2020, regardless of nationality, will be denied entry into Australia, except:
  • Australian citizens
  • permanent residents
  • immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and have left or transited through mainland China on or after 1 February 2020, you must isolate yourself until 14 days after leaving China.

Note: A permanent resident is one who holds a permanent visa that allows them to remain in Australia indefinitely. Common permanent visas include some skilled work and family visas. It does not include temporary visas such as the Subclass 482, 457 or 400.

Apart from the above exceptions, all other foreign nationals who were in mainland China on or after 1 February will not be allowed to enter Australia until 14 days after they have left, or transited through, mainland China.

The Australian government has been coordinating with airlines to implement these travel restrictions. If you have been in mainland China from 1 February 2020, and:

  • you attempt to travel to Australia, your airline will not allow you to board the flight; or
  • you do arrive in Australia and it is determined you have been in mainland China from 1 Feb 2020, your visa will be cancelled and you will be placed in an alternative place of detention for a quarantine period. There have already been reported cases of this happening.

With strict border measures temporarily in place during the outbreak, people who fall under these restrictions have been urged not to travel to Australia unless they are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident or an immediate family member (spouse, minor dependent or legal guardian).

In addition to the above information, below are answers to some FAQs over the travel restrictions. This is general information only; seek the advice of a qualified migration agent or lawyer for how the restrictions apply in your individual situation.

I’m a visa holder in Australia. My visa is about to expire and I cannot return to China. Can I stay in Australia?

If you wish to remain in Australia beyond the expiry date of your current visa, you must apply for another visa. Whether you can successfully do so will depend on the exact conditions of your visa eg. whether there is a ‘no stay’ condition attached, or whether your visa offers a pathway to apply for a different visa.

I’m currently overseas and will not be able to enter Australia before my visa expires. What do I need to do to travel to Australia?

Prospective visitors must check Australian Government travel advice before making any travel plans. If you are outside Australia and are unable to enter before your visa expires, you will need to apply for a new visa before travelling to Australia.


I’m a Chinese national travelling overseas, but have not visited mainland China for some time. Can I still enter Australia?

As long as you did not leave or transit through mainland China from 1 February, entry should generally be permitted. As a precaution, it is always helpful to be able to show flight tickets or other evidence that proves you have been outside of mainland China during the relevant time period.

Why are Australian citizens and permanent residents being quarantined on Christmas Island?

While Australian citizens and permanent residents can enter the country, enhanced border control measures for health and safety reasons has meant that over 200 citizens and permanent residents recently evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, will be quarantined on Christmas Island for two weeks.

When will these measures be lifted?

These measures are temporary and subject to review. The government has said that arrangements will be made to reinstate visas as appropriate following the lifting of these enhanced border control measures.

However, as the situation is constantly in flux, travellers and visa holders should continue to monitor the news. Here are some useful links for updates from official Australian government sources:

To find out more about how the temporary travel restrictions apply inn your particular situation, book a consultation with one of our migration agents today.

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DISCLAIMER: No material on this website, including but not limited to documents, articles, general comments, responses and other communications should be interpreted as relevant or accurate legal advice for any individual or specific situation. The information is of a general nature and cannot substitute for professional legal advice. Such advice is only provided by our firm following the acceptance by a client of our written agreement, and the payment of the required fees.