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I think everyone is aware of the travel ban announced by Scott Morrison yesterday (Thursday 19 March 2020). Australian borders have been closed to most non-Citizens of Australia. 


Coronavirus and Australian Travel Bans


Travel Ban Exceptions

  • Australian Citizens, of course
  • Australian Permanent Residents
  • Spouses, dependents and guardians of the above

They have not set an end-date on this.


Jeff’s Thoughts


Yes, no doubt a good idea from the perspective of eradicating Coronavirus. Less people will come in, and those who do come in will need to self-isolate for 14 days as per the last announcement.

Will it contain and reduce spread of the virus? Well, their logic is that 80% of cases were due to overseas visitors, so stopping or reducing that flow will make all the difference. What difference that makes when everyone has to self-isolate anyway? No idea. But that’s their thinking.

I would think that unless they start enforcing the wearing of masks etc, most notably when you see crowds of crazies descending on supermarkets in search of the elusive dunny rolls. A bit more attention to localised spread….as they’re doing very effectively in the Philippines…..would I think have more of an impact. 

And how long will it last? My guess is 1 – 2 months. Economic factors will come into play. The flow of money needs a flow of people, and they’re more aware of this than I am. 

And what about availability of flights? No doubt less. However there will be less people flying, so should be quite a pleasant experience when it happens. 


Travel Ban Effect on Visas to Australia

Disclaimer: This is based on what I would call a clear interpretation on what the press releases say. Please watch this space for any changes when and if they happen.


Tourist visas for girlfriends and visiting relatives, obviously won’t happen until they lift the ban. 

Tourist visas for spouses (married and de facto spouses) will continue as per normal (once the Manila ban is lifted in the middle of April). 

Tourist visas for dependent children (note that I said DEPENDENT children, and not the 28 year old son) will continue. 

It appears that Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa holders won’t be allowed in during the ban. Will let you all know if there are any changes to that.

Partner visa holders will be able to enter, because they are spouses of Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents.


What about Onshore Partner Visa applications on tourist visas?

As above, if you want her to enter as a girlfriend, won’t be able to AT THE MOMENT (ie remember this is NOT a permanent arrangement!). 



If it were me? Go to Philippines after mid-April and marry the girl! No-Frills marriage in front of the judge. Tone down the wedding dresses, barong tagalogs and 27 bridesmaids. Tone down the feeding of the 5,000 (wedding guests). 

Do this, and she’s your spouse! She can then enter!

You can also apply offshore for a partner visa. Nothing stopping you from doing this. You just have a longer wait to contend with.

Other option? Realise that this travel ban is a temporary measure. Get stuck into preparing an excellent visa application, along with your Best Friends in the World (the Down Under Visa Team), and stick to the original plan!


Years ago when I was just a Baby RMA, Government visa charges were I think $1,300.00-and-something. Fees went through the ceiling. Did sponsors give up? Did they decide that the bachelor life was for them? Hell no! Some took time to save up the fees, but they did just that and it was business-as-usual as it is now.

Offshore partner visas and prospective marriage visas took 4 – 6 months to process. Now they’re taking 12 – 18 months from our client results. Sponsors and applicants never tossed in the towel and gave up.

Oh, and up until 4 – 5 years ago I would say 99%+ tourist visas came with an 8503 No Further Stay. Onshore partner visa applications were virtually non-existent. Everyone coped!

My point is that when something matters to you, you cope! You adjust. You change plans. You tough it out! This travel ban is a temporary speed-bump on the road to marital bliss and a long and happy life. I wouldn’t expect a single couple to do anything less than to do what it takes!


Some Positive Thoughts

(courtesy of a client’s email to me last night)


  • China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them.
  • Indian Doctors successful in treating Corona. Combination of drugs used: Lopinavir, Retonovir, Oseltamivir along with Chlorphenamine. They are going to suggest the same medicine globally.
  • Researchers of the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody against coronavirus.
  • A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for 6 days in Wuhan, China.
  • Apple reopens all 42 china stores,
  • Cleveland Clinic develops COVID-19 test that gives results in hours, not days.
  • Good news from South Korea, where the number of new cases is declining.
  • Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe.
  • Scientists in Israel likely to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
  • Two more Filipinos have recovered from COVID-19 and is now discharged from the hospital. Only two Filipino COVID-19 positive patients remain in hospital isolation.
  • A network of Canadian scientists are making excellent progress in Covid-19 research.
  • A San Diego biotech company is developing a Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore.
  • All 7 patients who were getting treated for at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi have recovered.
  • Plasma from newly recovered patients from Covid -19 can treat others infected by Covid-19.



Free online visa assessment form from Down Under Visa
COVID CONCERNS? Australian visas ARE still being granted. We can assess you (a) for an Australian visa AND (b) for a travel ban exemption. CLICK HERE and find out!



Jeff Harvie is a Registered Migration Agent from Australia, but resident in Philippines since 2010 with his Filipina wife Mila and large extended family. Experienced with the Philippines culture, cross-cultural relationships and bureaucracy as well as Australian visas and Australian Migration Law, he writes with authority and fortunately with enough informality and humour that the average Aussie gets it!


Stuck in Australia and can’t travel back to Philippines?
Tourist Visa Application from Philippines to Australia - Should you get help?


  1. Marian Davidovic

    Hello Jeff,
    Just wonder whats happened to people that have been granted visas but because of the government travel ban to Australia and for this reason they can no longer travel here are these visas automatically renewed until the bans are lifted or have they lost there money and need to apply again ?

    • Jeff Harvie

      Assume you’re talking about tourist visas, Marian? Tourist visas are normally valid for 6 months, ie you have 6 months in which to enter Australia. This will all be ancient history in 6 months time.

  2. Carmen U

    Hi Jeff, my husband has 457 visa and I too as dependent. He is in Australia while I’m here in the Philippines Have you heard anything on lifting the travel ban for 457 visa holders? Thanks

    • Jeff Harvie

      No sorry and 457’s are not my area of expertise

  3. Ross Edwards

    Hello Jeff, my wife (Filipina) and myself live in Australia. For over a year we have been planning on bringing my wifes mother to Australia on a tourist visa, is it still possible or do we have to keep waiting for all this covid 19 to be over? My wife is a permanent resident here.

    • Jeff Harvie

      You won’t get a travel ban exemption for your mum in law at this stage, sorry. You need to wait for the bans to be removed.

  4. Lhena

    Hi Jeff good day how to get a tourist visa to visit my fiancee in perth austrailia on his birthday on febuary 24 2021. There is posible that.Do I will be granted for an exemptions for travel ban.

    • Jeff Harvie

      If you are his spouse by marriage or long-term de facto relationship, we can apply for an exemption. If you are only his fiancee, we cannot sorry.

  5. Nadine Mendoza

    Hi Jeff my husband’s visa just got approved before the Pandemic,then suddenly they implemented travel banned. What will happen next? I heard about travel banned exemption, who’s gonna apply for it? His employer? And who are those have the priviledge for the exemption? He’s a Mechanic by the way..

  6. John

    Hi Jeff I have Girl friend in the Philippines and we are building a shop and house because of bands i can’t Visit just yet , but can travel to Singapore . I am from Australia and we can both met up in Singapore and get married there. Once married can i travel to the Philippines as a married couple.
    Thanks John


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