Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on October 15 that parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents will be classified as immediate family, allowing them to travel to Australia in states and territories where the double dose vaccination objective has been met by 80%.
This came as a result of a regulatory change that allows parents to seek for an exemption to travel to Australia beginning this month.
The statement led hundreds of desperate families to seek visitor visas for their parents, resulting in even longer wait times for decisions on the applications, which ordinarily take three to six months to process.
Under the new rules, parents of Australians who do not currently hold a valid visa must apply for a visiting visa and subsequently a mandatory inward exemption in order to enter the country.
Before they can travel, parents must have their parental relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident confirmed by the Department of Home Affairs. They will be able to do so by submitting an application through the travel exemptions portal, together with proof of their parental relationship to the Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Once the parent’s relationship with an Australian has been confirmed, they will be informed that they are exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions. If the parent has applied for a temporary visa that has not yet been decided, the visa application will be prioritised for assessment and decision.