Immigration detention in Australia

We treat all people in detention with respect, dignity and fairness. While in an immigration detention facility, we provide appropriate food, medical, recreational and other support services, including mental health services.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Important information for visitors to an immigration detention​ facility

Updated on 17 October 2023

The Australian Border Force (ABF) is committed to the health and safety of all detainees, staff and visitors (this includes contractors) in immigration detention facilities. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in each jurisdiction. Check our website regularly as visit information can change on short notice.

General Information

We recognise that visits from relatives, friends, community contacts and relevant professionals are important for the wellbeing of detainees.

To make the visiting process as simple and efficient possible we:

A person must apply to visit a detainee. Approval of a visitor application is subject to operational considerations.

If you wish to visit an immigration detention facility, you must undergo security screening and follow COVID-19 measures. If you do not wish to undergo screening, you cannot enter an immigration detention facility.

Detainees must consent to a visit, unless required by law to accept a visitor.

Conditions of Entry

All visitors must follow the conditions of entry. This includes enhanced safety measures such as physical distancing and screening measures.

If you do not follow the conditions of entry, including safety measures and instructions from staff, we may refuse or terminate your visit. This may negatively impact your future visits.

Covid-19 Measures

You must not enter an immigration detention facility if you:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 7 days;
  • have been in close contact with someone who tested positive to COVID-19 in the last 7 days;
  • are currently awaiting a COVID-19 test result; or
  • have COVID-19 symptoms (Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Identifying the symptoms | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care).

Health screening measures are regularly reviewed and updated and can change at short notice. based on the COVID-19 environment, public health advice and applicable health orders.

COVID-19 vaccination requirements

Reducing the risk of COVID-19 in immigration detention facilities is a key priority of the ABF.

Providing proof of vaccination is no longer a requirement for visitors entering an Immigration Detention Facility. For information about COVID-19 vaccinations, refer to the Department of Health and Aged Care​.

Visiting an immigration detention facility

The Department usually limit visits to one visitor per detainee per day. We may consider exceptions in limited circumstances. This may include, for example, where a detainee’s minor children want to visit with an accompanying adult.

The following safety measures are in place to keep detainees, staff and visitors safe:

  • visits are held in designated areas;
  • brief physical contact permitted only at the start and end of the visit (this may include a handshake, fist-bump or hug), physical distancing maintained at all other times;
  • surgical masks are strongly recommended to reduce the risk of infection (available on entry);
  • visitors must perform hand hygiene before and after a visit (hand sanitiser is available); and
  • visitors must apply for and have approval prior to visits.

For visiting hours, contact the relevant immigration detention facility.

Other ways to contact detainees

In addition to in-person visits, we encourage community members to communicate with detainees through: 

  • phone calls
  • Skype
  • other audio-visual tools. 

Detainees have access to landline telephones and can make calls to Australian phone numbers free of charge. Detainees also have unrestricted access to personal mobile phones, and can obtain phone cards using Individual Allowance Program points.