ABF statement on data from Inbound Passenger Card

Data sourced from the Inbound Passenger Card (IPC) showing travellers enter Australia to visit friends, go on holiday or for business trips does not reflect the categories under which people are approved to arrive into the country.

The ‘Main Reason for Travel’ reported on Data.gov.au is based on information passengers provide on the IPC.

The IPC existed prior to COVID 19 and the implementation of the travel restriction and travel exemption regime.

Non-citizens arriving into Australia, with the exception of the New Zealand safe travel zone, are still required to receive an approved travel exemption from the ABF unless they are already exempt from the travel restrictions. The ABF is the only agency able to analyse movements against exemption requests in order to understand the reason for travel. Nobody is approved to come to Australia under the current travel exemption arrangements for a holiday.

Data from other sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing a high number of non-citizens arriving into Australia can only report on the passport used to enter Australia. It’s important to note that Permanent Residents and their immediate family members who are not Australian citizens will travel on foreign passports.

ABF analysis of a seven day period in February, March, April, May and June has consistently indicated that over 80 per cent of arrivals that are required to quarantine within the hotel quarantine caps are Australian citizens, permanent residents or their immediate family


84.8 per cent


81.5 per cent


81.9 per cent


84.8 per cent


83.9 per cent

Those travellers who do not need to quarantine, include people arriving from New Zealand as part of the safe travel zone, pose a limited health risk to the community and do not take up quarantine places needed for Australians.

Australia’s travel restrictions and travel exemption policy settings support our efforts to return as many Australians as possible by ensuring any travel into Australia by foreign nationals is limited to very narrow exemption criteria and is guided by advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

All foreign nationals who do not have an automatic exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions must apply for and be granted an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions, either because they would be providing skills deemed critical for Australia or demonstrated compelling and compassionate circumstances.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization/author(s)and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.