Novak Djokovic was denied entry to Australia and had his visa cancelled due to not being vaccinated against Covid

Australia's home-affair website states here

If your visa is cancelled

Cancellation of your visa might also bar you from making further visa applications or prevent you from being granted certain visas to travel to, enter or stay in Australia .



If we refuse or cancel your visa, you might be able to request a review of our decision. You cannot appeal a decision if it was made by the minister personally.

Does this mean that if somebody's appeal against visa cancellation is dismissed, they could be banned from entering Australia for a certain time? If so, for how long?

I'm asking since we have a group of athletes (surfing) from Europe (EU) to prepare in Australia for the 2022 season and have one athlete in a similar situation.

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    might also are the keywords of the sentence. Jan 6, 2022 at 1:34
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    Even if there's no ban or other punishment, it seems that at the very least, your unvaccinated athlete would be refused entry and sent back home. So why would they bother traveling to Australia in the first place? Jan 6, 2022 at 5:00
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    Does "your" surfer have an exemption like Djokovic thought he had? Otherwise I see no reason for him to even bother travelling to Australia. Jan 6, 2022 at 8:27
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    @Henriksupportsthecommunity It seems the prudent choice to just not bring any athletes that are not able or willing to get vaccinated. That is the less complicated way of doing it.
    – Stian
    Jan 6, 2022 at 12:38
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    "will they be banned from entering Australia again if they appeal against visa cancellation?" No. They could be banned depending on the ground s for cancellation. If they are not banned originally a failed appeal won't cause a ban to be applied. Cancellation may cause bans, not appeal.
    – xngtng
    Jan 6, 2022 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


I'm asking since we have a group of athletes (surfing) from Europe (EU) to prepare in Australia for the 2022 season and have one athlete in a similar situation.

That athlete should insure that they fulfill the medical exception listed at the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) site at the time the visa application is made and again before traveling in case the rules suddenly change.

Does this mean that if somebody's appeal against visa cancellation is dismissed, they could be banned from entering Australia for a certain time? If so, for how long?

That would depend on the individual situation.

If the person fulfilled the AIR conditions at the time the visa was applied for and again before departure, but due to a last minute change in the rules, no longer fulfilled them upon entry/arrival

  • then a long term ban is unlikely

That would be most likely be considered a force majeure situation since the traveler showed good faith by fulfilling the AIR conditions at the time of the visa application and departure.

Preparing to travel to Australia from overseas | COVID-19 and the border

Obtain your foreign vaccination certificate
If you are unable to meet the proof of vaccination requirements, you will not qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller. You will need to follow the current border processes when leaving or coming to Australia.

If you are coming to Australia, are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, and have a medical contraindication recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) you can show an Australian COVID-19 digital certificate to airline staff. You can otherwise provide your immunisation history statement.

If you do not have your medical contraindication recorded in the AIR you will need to show airline staff a medical certificate. This must state you are unable to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition.

Immunisation medical exemptions - Australian Immunisation Register [AIR] - Services Australia

  • Page last updated: 10 December 2021

What counts as a medical exemption
The only reasons you might be able to get an exemption from having a vaccine are if you:

  • had anaphylaxis after a previous dose of a vaccine
  • had anaphylaxis after a dose of any component of a vaccine
  • are significantly immunocompromised—for live vaccines only
  • have natural immunity—for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox only.

What doesn’t count as a medical exemption
You won't be able to get an exemption if your reason for not having a vaccine isn't valid.

These aren’t valid reasons:

  • mild illness without fever—meaning your temperature is below 38.5ºC
  • any family history of adverse events following immunisation
  • history of convulsions
  • treatment with antibiotics
  • treatment with locally acting steroids, inhaled or low dose topical
  • replacement corticosteroids
  • asthma, eczema, atopy, hay fever or sniffles
  • previous infection with the same pathogen
  • prematurity, vaccination shouldn’t be postponed and can be given if the infant is medically stable
  • history of neonatal jaundice
  • low weight in an otherwise healthy child
  • neurological conditions, including cerebral palsy and Down syndrome
  • contact with an infectious disease
  • child’s mother is pregnant
  • child is being breastfed
  • woman is breastfeeding
  • recent or planned surgery
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    So to sum up the long list, the only accepted reason to be exempted from the vaccination requirement is previous anaphylaxis (after a vaccine or component thereof). Neither immune compromise nor natural immunity apply to Covid.
    – TooTea
    Jan 6, 2022 at 13:04
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    @TooTea That seems to be the case presently for Australia. Many other countries still consider recovered persons (up to 6 months after) as an acceptable exception, but this may soon change due to the Omicron variant. Jan 6, 2022 at 13:15
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    Funnily enough someone recovered from Omicron would now be safer than someone vaccinated as the vaccine is not optimized towards the new variant. I suspect that’s what Djokovich has an exemption for is that he already had Omicron recently. Djokovich also had the original Covid variant back in 2020.
    – JonathanReez
    Jan 6, 2022 at 17:45
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    @JonathanReez That may be the case, but I have a lot of friends and family who are pissed off with Djokovich for his apparent attempt to skirt the rules
    – Peter M
    Jan 6, 2022 at 18:58
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    @JonathanReez No, the report only says he had 'a Covid infection' not Omicron. The court will probably rule that since the Australian Immunisation Register, binding for Australian Border Force, does not recognise a previous infection as a valid medical exemption and thus the federal rules overrides the state rules. Prime Minister Scott Morrison later confirmed that this was the case under federal rules - despite an exemption provided by the Victorian state government. Renata Voracova visa was also canceled for the same reason. Jan 8, 2022 at 10:18

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