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In 2020–21, the Government announced around $800 million of additional support to strengthen Australia’s cultural and creative sector. This and our pandemic response and booming local industry has created huge interest in Australia as a hub for entertainment creation and production.

Despite the closure of our borders many people in the entertainment industry are applying for and obtaining visas to come to Australia to work on many exciting productions and projects.

What you get

An Entertainment Visa allows people directly working in the Arts to live and work in Australia for the length of the production or project (up to 2 years). This includes performers, artists, musicians, production and support staff. We can generally lodge these in a group for the production to ensure smoother and more consistent processing.

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Entertainment Visa Snapshot

Planning Visa Prep & Union Consultation Visa and Travel Exemption Flight delays Quarantine
7 days 7-14 days 14-21 days Varies 14 days


In most cases immediate family members can also be granted visas, as can most support and personal staff. However, due to border restrictions, family members may not be granted ABF permission (see below) to travel to Australia even if they have a visa. Our recommendation is that family not seek to travel unless there is no alternative.

Union consultation

In most situations the relevant union will need to be consulted before the visas can be granted (it is not necessary that they agree). We will handle the consultation process and find that the unions are mostly supportive of visa applications, provided Australians will benefit from the production.

Arts certificate from the Minister

For actors or performers, the Federal or State Minister of the Arts will need to provide a certificate supporting the issuing of visas related to the production. We will arrange.

Health & police checks in some cases

While health and police checks are not generally required, we have had cases where these have been requested and can slow up processing. This is most likely to occur if an applicant has a known health condition or criminal conviction, or are travelling from certain countries.

Australian Border Force (ABF) exemption due to the pandemic

This is a separate process to the visa process and is required before travelling to Australia. The ABF have imposed a number of requirements including the need for State approval for the arriving party in circumstances where it is a large group or the person will be moving on to another state in Australia after quarantine. This process is causing delays at the moment.

A travel exemption is only valid for one entry. Further approvals would need to be granted each time the person needs to depart and re-enter Australia. There is no guarantee that any subsequent approvals would be granted.

Flight delays

Australia currently restricts the number of weekly international arrivals which has caused difficulties in securing flights and often results in flight cancellations. This should be factored into any scheduling plans.


All international arrivals must quarantine for 14 days unless exempt for medical reasons. The traveller (or other person) must meet the costs of quarantine which vary slightly from State to State.

Quarantine is required even if fully vaccinated or the person has had COVID.

Extensions after arrival

In most cases it is possible to extend the visa after arrival should this be required.

Entertainment Team

Learn more about our Entertainment Team and discover how we can help you in your visa application process.

DISCLAIMER This information is current as of date of publication and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Author Ron Kessels

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