COVID and Australian borders being closed in Australia continue! However there is some light at the end of the tunnel…..long, long tunnel!…..which is creating some excitement but still some confusion. We at Down Under Visa are getting emails from clients saying “I hear the Australian borders are opening! Can I bring xxxxxx to Australia now?” Well, no. Not quite that simple……yet!
Australian borders re-opening in November 2021
This is the headline that everyone is seeing! It’s partially-true, but it ain’t all there is to it. They are intending to open Australian borders for outbound travel for fully-vaccinated Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents. They did NOT say the borders are going to open completely and that anyone can come in from overseas! And note they said fully-vaccinated! I believe Australia is an 44% vaccination now, so this will mean that many of you will not qualify unless you get it done.
Be aware that it’s all very fine to say “Yes, we can leave Australia!” But if you intend coming to the Philippines, remember that there’s a border here too! And it’s currently closed to tourists. Who can get in now?
- Any Filipino Citizen
- Any Aussie who is:
- (a) married to a Filipina,
- and (b) has Filipina wife AND marriage certificate by his side when he arrives at Immigration in Manila! No wife = no entry!
- Any Aussie married to a Filipina IF he already has a permanent resident visa like a 13a spouse visa (Philippines visa…..not Australian)
- Any Aussie IF he has a permit to enter, which needs to be organised from the Philippines Embassy in Australia. We do not advise in this area!
Significance of COVID vaccination
At the moment there is no “must be vaccinated” rule to entering Australia……YET!
However I think the writing is on the wall that this is inevitable. Sooner or later it will become difficult to do anything without a vaccination card showing full vaccination, ie two injections!
There appear to be some airlines (Singapore Airlines) which are operating vaccinated-only flights. Am I the expert to consult on this? Sorry, no. I did hear of one client who couldn’t get on a Singapore Airlines flight because of this, and their website talks about “Vaccinated Travel Lane” flights. Again, I think the writing is on the wall and it’s only a matter of time before it will need to be done in order to get anything significant done in the world.
How is COVID Vaccination?
Jeff’s experience. Fully vaccinated as of Thursday last week. Had my second dose of Moderna. Mila did the same. Brother and sister in law received second shot too.
Remy and Morris (daughter and future-son-in-law…..this December!) had their first shot last week. Three of our staff I think two weeks before. Three teenagers who live with us plus one of our daughters (who turned 18) done yesterday.
Sore arms for everyone. Some mild sore throats. A few had low-grade fevers. Feeling a bit tired and light-headed. All got over it within a day or two. And no one has grown an extra head!
Note that this is Philippines! Nothing happens simply or easily here. This is done here….in our case at a University in the town….at some facility by the Government. Could be the Barangay hall. Could be something organised by the City.
Can anyone get it done?
Senior Citizens, anyone who can establish they have “co-morbidities”, OFW’s who intend to work overseas and need to be vaccinated, or because someone “knows someone”. Not as straight-forward as it is in Australia, but realise that Filipinos are a pretty resourceful lot. If your Filipina lady needs to get it done, she will find a way. So don’t try to be knight in shining armour and organise it from Australia, as you can’t!
How does Jeff feel about being “forced” to do this?
I put my foot down with battles I (a) feel very strongly about and (b) which I can win! Can’t win a fight over this one, and I’m not convinced that there’s anything dreadful about vaccination! I also live in a house with 7 adults and 8 kids! I’m not OK about taking the risk of someone getting the bug and bringing it home!
I hope that none of you are prepared to “fall on your sword” over this issue if they decide to make it compulsory. I really do! Because if they do and you refuse, you will probably be stuck apart for many years if at all!
The future and Australian borders opening
I think that the writing is clearly on the wall here too! I think this is coming to an end. November 2021? Ummm, no. Too soon. But my guess is Feb or March next year. ONLY A GUESS, mind you! I don’t get clever inside-information. We RMA’s are kept in the dark until the last minute like everyone else.
But all the politicians are talking a lot lately about easing restrictions, and about encouraging the states to follow suit. Philippines is planning a tourism campaign for when borders are open again. Qantas have scheduled flights to various places from (I think) January 2022. And logic tells you that with increased vaccination comes increased immunity and reduced spread! So whilst we can’t flash the green light to say it’s all over yet, I think we’re closer than we’ve been so far. So stay positive!
Visa Options right now
Following up on previous BLOG posts, I will say that the following are THE partner visa options for this time, regardless of borders opening in the next 4 – 6 months or not.
Prospective Marriage Visa
If you’ve met in person and wish to marry in Australia? THIS is the option! Can start preparing now, and can lodge anytime. Manila are processing these visa applications at a productive speed right now, and Travel Ban Exemptions are granted readily (from our experience over the last few months) to allow fiancees to travel from Philippines to Australia and to start a new life.
More information HERE
Offshore Partner Visa
- already married,
- Already in an established de facto relationship, or
- Intend to marry ONLINE
Then this is the option for you.
Even OK if you haven’t been able to meet in person yet, but can show that you have a genuine and committed relationship and obviously intend to remain together for the long term.
They are also processing these fairly quickly lately out of Manila, and no Travel Ban Exemptions are required at all! Visa holders may travel freely to Australia. NOTE: Online wedding couples need to organise a Report Of Marriage (ROM) via the Philippines Government in order to attend the CFO. This is necessary to leave the country with a granted visa.
More information on Offshore Partner Visas HERE
More information on Online Weddings HERE
More information on ROM’s and the CFO HERE