Your Guide to Moving Overseas or Interstate: COVID Edition

Moving interstate or overseas now requires significant consideration and planning due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Non-essential travel is limited and many of the things we love have been put on hold. Yet life can’t be paused. Whether you are trying to return home, reunite with loved ones or relocate for a new opportunity, we understand there are things that can’t wait. 

To simplify the process we’ve created this guide to moving interstate or internationally during the pandemic. Below we have addressed the most pressing questions about moving during COVID and provided resources to help you make safe, informed decisions. Protecting your health and the community is our top priority, so make sure to check the latest travel advice before you go. The world has changed a lot since Allied began, but our commitment to safe, quality transportation remains unchanged. As life moves on, we’re here to help you move with it. 

Can I move overseas or interstate during COVID?

Allied is considered an essential service and has continued to help move people and possessions around Australia and the world throughout the pandemic. This means that if you are permitted to move, we can help you do it safely and smoothly. However, acquiring the documents to travel will depend on where you are travelling to and from, as well as your reason for doing so. Each state and country has its own specific rules that you must follow in order to relocate safely and legally. These laws and guidelines are subject to change. So whether you are moving interstate or overseas it is essential to do your research first and to check updates regularly. 

Moving interstate within Australia

Health guidelines and travel restrictions within Australia have been left to the state governments to determine. The closure of state borders has become a main strategy for suppressing the spread of the virus throughout the country. As case numbers have risen and fallen, states have adapted their border restrictions to limit the flow of travellers from high risk zones. The result is that each state has its own requirements for entry depending on where you are travelling from. You must therefore check the regulations for the regions you are travelling through to determine whether your movement is permitted and what documents you will need to attain. 

Moving overseas to Australia

You are currently unable to enter Australia unless you are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or in an exempt category. Australia has strict border restrictions limiting the number of flights coming into the country. Disruptions on transit hubs around the world and social distancing rules limiting occupancy rates on planes have also greatly reduced the number of seats available. This means that even Australian citizens wishing to return home will experience long delays and difficulties finding a way home. For those who do attain a seat, you will need to abide by a number of health regulations. These include filling out a travel declaration, getting tested within 72 hours of your departure and completing 14 days of quarantine upon arrival. 

Moving abroad from Australia

Non-citizens living in Australia do not require an exemption to depart the country. They are allowed to do so provided the border restrictions in their home country permit it. Australian citizens and permanent residents wishing to move abroad must apply online for an exemption to travel. Exemptions are available for those moving for work, education, medical treatment or humanitarian purposes. Your application for an exemption must be accompanied by evidence to support your claims. Acquiring permission to depart Australia is only part of the process. You must also ensure you have the correct permits and documentation to enter your destination country in addition to following the health guidelines of your chosen airline. 

How do I plan to move overseas or interstate during COVID?

Check the relevant restrictions

Planning your move should begin by ensuring that your region of departure will permit you to leave and your destination will allow you to enter. Moving internationally or interstate is generally permitted for essential reasons. What is deemed to be essential will vary between different authorities but normally includes family, work, education or humanitarian purposes. 

Acquire any permits or exemptions

Once you have confirmed that your trip is permitted by the authorities, the next step is to apply for any relevant documentation. Typically this documentation comes in the form of a border permit or travel exemption to signify that your trip has been approved. The application process for these can be slow, especially for international itineraries. We recommend commencing your application as early as possible to ensure you can acquire the documentation in time for your desired move date.  

Choose a moving service you can trust

To minimise the risk and stress that you take on through the process, make sure you choose a moving service that is adapting to the times. That means removalists who have implemented social distancing measures and flexibility around rescheduling for coronavirus-related circumstances. It also means choosing a service that is responsive to your needs, adapting to health advice and prioritising the safety of its customers and crews. 

Take all necessary precautions & stay updated

Remain up to date with all relevant health guidelines. As the rules and recommendations are constantly changing to keep up with the developing health situation, it is imperative that you keep yourself informed and continue to follow recommended safety procedures. This means wearing a mask where recommended, practising social distancing and regularly sanitising your hands. Practicing social distancing will greatly reduce your chances of contracting the virus and of spreading it to other people.

What should I consider when moving overseas or interstate during COVID?

Flights

Available seats on flights are in short supply, for both domestic and international routes. If your moving plans revolve around flying, start your search early and don’t confirm your other plans until you’ve secured yourself a ticket. Be aware that each airline may have different health requirements for passengers. Familiarise yourself with the airline regulations and check for any last minute changes to your itinerary and the relevant health guidelines. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in place in the event of cancelled or postponed flights.

Travel Insurance

Ensure that you purchase travel insurance that can protect you from any of the risks you may incur through your move. Many travel insurance policies will not cover claims relating to COVID. Double check your travel insurance policy and know what you are getting before you commit to buy.

Timing

When planning your interstate or overseas move, you need to be aware of any possible delays or cancellations that might impact the timing of your move. From cancelled flights to snap lockdowns, there are many things that can pop up unexpectedly in the current climate. It’s a good idea to always have a backup plan ready and aim to be as flexible as possible with your moving plans.

You should also consider whether your plans are essential. The first step is to ask yourself: do you need to move now? Could your plans be postponed? It is important that you answer these questions honestly so that you can avoid incurring any unnecessary risk for you or your loved ones. If at all possible you should consider postponing your plans until health authorities in your region have deemed it safe to travel again. 

Personal health

Health is a top priority during a pandemic and so you should take all necessary steps to care for your personal health. This includes monitoring for symptoms, avoiding high risk areas, sanitising your hands regularly and wearing a mask.

Community safety

Keeping the community safe starts with taking care of your own health. If you are feeling unwell or have been in contact with someone showing symptoms, wear a mask and stay home if possible. Taking any unnecessary risks can potentially expose vulnerable groups to the virus. 

Legality

Once you’ve ensured that you are not putting yourself or the community at risk, the next factor to consider is whether your plans to move are legally viable. Violation of travel restrictions and border closures can result in heavy fines, legal action and mandatory quarantine. Even with the constantly changing laws, ignorance is no excuse. 

Quarantine

Be aware that many regions around the world enforce a mandatory quarantine period for any travellers entering their jurisdiction. These quarantine orders range in length and severity. Some authorities will require short term stay-at-home orders until you can produce a negative test result. Others will require a full 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine at your expense. So before you move, make sure that you are aware of any possible quarantine requirements and that you are willing to go through that process. 

Moving interstate or overseas?

As the world’s largest removals provider, Allied is uniquely positioned to adapt to the challenges of a pandemic. We are constantly updating our service to align with the latest information from our vast global network. Our quotes can now be completed over video instead of coming to your home, making the process faster and safer than ever. If you are planning to move interstate or overseas get in touch by filling out our Request a Quote form or calling us on 13 25 54 today.