The Australian Border will open in November. Australian citizens and Permanent Residents will be able to travel overseas. Then when they return, they may be able to quarantine for only seven days – provided they are fully vaccinated.
When will tourists be able to come to Australia?
The Australian Prime Minister has also indicated that tourism will begin in the New Year, meaning that provided Australia’s vaccination rates are above 80%, we will start to see visitors comeing to Australia early 2022. Most states and Territories are on track to be 80% vaccinated by late November or early December 2021. This means it is time to start preparing your application if you want your girlfriend to come to Australia to visit you. Contact our lawyer now to discuss getting your application to bring your girlfriend to Australia.
Australia’s border restrictions
On 28 March 2020, the Australian government closed Australia’s international border in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only travellers with an exemption were then allowed to enter Australia or leave Australia. Exemption categories included essential business needs, government officials and high-profile people, those with compelling and compassionate reasons for travel and all Australian citizens and Permanent Residents – and their close family – were allowed to cross the border.
It is this close family requirement which has seen most Australians with girlfriends, parents and children prevented from being together because the definition of close family has been policed too strictly. I personally have done many applications for long term de facto couples – who should have qualified for the exemption – only to be refused entry without any explanation being given. It seems to me that even though de facto couples were included in the exempt category, that in practice they were excluded because even the best applications for de facto couples who had been together for years in Australia and had even registered their relationship in Australia with a government authority – were still refused.
When will the Australian border open?
The border will open to Australians in November 2021. It is not yet clear if Australians will be able to travel with temporary visa holders, for example an Australian could return with his girlfriend but I expect that this will be possible in the next stage in January 2022 when the border is likely to open completely.
How long will it take to get a visa into Australia when the border opens?
Anyone with their girlfriend overseas will be looking closely at the possibility of getting her a visitor visa so that she can come to Australia to spend some time with you. Others with a well-established relationship might still be looking towards a visitor visa because those who apply for a permanent residence visa in Australia will be allowed to stay while the visa processes. This means that often it is best to bring your girlfriend to Australia before you lodge a permanent visa application. To do this you need a visitor visa and during the border closure, visitor visas have been on hold.
Visitor visa processing has been on hold since March 2020. This means there will be twenty-month pile of applications to go through before processing any new applications. Things will be slow – even more reason to get in quickly in my opinion, so that your wait is not further extended any more than it has to be. Normally, visitor visa processing takes between two and four weeks, however, I think that these timeframes will blow out for the first 6 months of processing to something like 6 to 8 weeks.
Get started on your girlfriend’s Australian visa application now
As soon as the border restrictions are lifted, visitor visas will begin to be processed again. We finally have an indication of when the border restrictions will start to lift – November 2021. So, applications that go in in October and November will be able to be processed as soon as the border restrictions are eased. If you are looking to get an application in for your girlfriend, so that she can come to Australia as soon as possible, then now is the time to speak to me about processing your application and getting it lodged along with providing biometrics and anything else that might be required so that her application is on track for processing as soon as possible. I have been processing visitor visa applications from South-East Asia for couples for over 12 years now and after a near two-year break I am so keen to get back into bringing couples together again!