Costas Paivanas was scheduled to travel to Athens last Sunday, May 17, but was informed by his travel agency that unfortunately he could not board the flight.
"My agent told me I would have to send a request to Canberra and ask for permission," Paivanas told SBS Greek.
The Australian Border Force has announced since late March a series of guidelines for those Australian nationals who need to travel abroad.
"I sent them a letter asking for their permission to travel to Greece and reunite with my family," said the expatriate.
However, the conditions for lifting the ban on the movement of Australian nationals and permanent residents abroad do not provide for the reunification of families. His request was not accepted.
Paivanas' wife, Athena, has been in Greece since the beginning of the year. He had to stay in Melbourne for a while longer in order to settle various personal and work issues. But that's when the coronavirus crisis began.
"I have been seeing my children and grandchildren for 4.5 years. And that's why I appealed to the Australian authorities to reconnect with my family ", said Paivanas to SBS Greek.
He has not decided his next moves in order to be close to his family in Greece.
It was preceded by the failed attempt of the Greek-Australian Lemonia Schoina to board a flight to Athens. She now states that she no longer wants to travel because the whole process is complicated.
As of June 15, 2020, Greece will accept tourists from those 20 countries: Cyprus, Israel, Germany, China, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Nth Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Norway.
However, despite Athens accepting Australians to arrive in Greece, it is unlikely that Australia will allow its citizens to leave unless they make an application that has to be accepted, with very specific reasons.
The Australian government says that “Australian citizens and permanent residents cannot travel overseas due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, if you want to leave Australia, you may be able to apply online for an exemption to travel if you fall under one of the following categories”
There are several categories, including travel for personal reasons that are urgent but various supporting documents need to be provided.
This application must be completed as soon as possible and at least 48 hours before the scheduled departure time.