Depending on your purpose, Australia offers a number of visitor visa options. Visitor visas are for individuals who wish to visit their friends and family or for limited business purposes. They are issued from anywhere between 3 to 12 months. Most visitor visas can be acquired through a travel agency or the Australian visa office. Once approved, the visitor visa is linked to your passport so that any airline or government employee can see the type and duration of your visa.
All visas require an individual to hold a valid passport. Every applicant has to file a separate application and in most cases visitor visas should be applied from outside Australia. Generally, once your application is submitted, you are not allowed to make corrections. The government issued guideline suggests applying for a visa 2-3 weeks prior to visiting Australia. All visa conditions and laws should be complied with.
General Eligibility Criteria for All Applicants:
- Must meet the health requirement
- Must meet the character requirement
- Pay your debt, if any to the Australian Government
- Have the intent to stay temporarily and obey all conditions attached to your visa
- Buy health insurance or be personally liable for all healthcare costs in Australia
General Activities Permitted While on a Visitor’s Visa:
- Take a cruise or a holiday in Australia
- Visit family and friends
- Train or study for maximum 3 months
- Undertake limited business activities such as business or employment enquiries, review contracts for business, participate in conferences or trade fairs without any monetary gain. Please note that you cannot provide services, sell goods or work on a visitor’s visa.
Subclass 601- Electronic Travel Authority Visa:
This visa is most commonly used by for tourist visits to Australia and allows a tourist to stay in Australia for up to 3 months on each arrival within 12 months from the date the visa was granted. The application process is online for applicants from eligible ETA countries (hyperlink to countries). As long as you meet all general criteria, the application is processed instantly and linked to your passport. If you do not belong to an eligible country, you could apply for this visa through a travel or immigration agency.
Subclass 651- eVisitor Visa:
This is similar to the 601visitor visa and allows you to stay in Australia for up to 3 months on each arrival within 12 months from the date of the issuance of the visa. However, this visa is only available to applicants that hold a passport from eligible countries (hyperlink).
This is designed for applicants who wish to take a trip longer than 3 months to Australia. This visa grants a stay for up to 12 months depending on the purpose and personal circumstances and it allows successful applicants single or multiple entries into Australia. This can be granted for tourism/family or business reasons. This visa takes approximately 20 days to be processed. Additional documentation maybe be required in addition to the generally required documentation. If applicants seek to stay for longer than 6 months in Australia, applicants may be required to undergo a chest x-ray or medical examination in additional to providing health insurance proof and proof of funds to cover your stay. You could be in Australia and apply for this visa as long as you are in Australia on a valid visa without “no further stay” conditions attached. For passport holders of certain countries (hyperlink), there is an online application process. If you do not hold a passport from an eligible country, then you are eligible to submit a paper application.
Work and Holiday Visas:
This category allows young adults (18- 30 years) to enjoy an extended stay in Australia (for up to 12 months) and also work to fund their stay. Generally, this visa comes in three subclasses (first work and holiday visa; second work and holiday visa and third work and holiday visa). Similar to visitor visas, once approved these are linked to the applicant’s passport. Besides meeting the general criteria and eligibility requirements (including holding a passport from an eligible country-hyperlink), there are additional education requirements for this subclass. Applicants must have functional English language skills and if required have a letter of support from the applicant’s government institution. Additionally, you cannot be accompanied by dependents on this visa and must pay Australian taxes on your Australian income.
Applicants who have previously been issued a first work and holiday visa are eligible to apply for a second work and holiday visa and subsequently a third work and holiday visa. If you wish to stay beyond 12 months, you are allowed to show exceptional circumstances for your request or are eligible to apply for a visitor visa from outside Australia.
Working Holiday Visa:
Similar to the work and holiday category, this is for applicants who wish to fund their extended stay in Australia by working in Australia for up to 12 months. If you are Canadian, French or Irish this subclass extends the previous age limit from 30 years to 35 years. This also comes in three subclasses (first, second and third working holiday visa). If an individual work at an eligible employer for 3 consecutive months, they are allowed to apply for second and subsequently third working holiday visas. Applicants are required to hold a valid passport from an eligible country (hyperlink) for this visa. Second and third working holiday visas may be applied for while in Australia or outside.