The visa you apply for in Australia depends on the purpose of your visit, whether it is for tourism, business, work, study or family visit. Holders of passports from many countries can easily apply for a visa online, those who do not must submit a paper application at an embassy or consulate.
What Is an Australian Visa?
An Australian visa allows you to travel to Australia for a specified period of time. Unlike many other countries, Australia does not have a visa stamp or sticker in your passport. Instead, your visa eligibility is recorded electronically in an online database and when you travel to Australia, the immigration officer will check the database to see if you have a visa.
Do I Need a Visa for Australia?
With the exception of New Zealanders (who can obtain a visa on arrival), all other people must apply for a visa or permit before traveling to Australia. For short stays, you can apply for an eVisitor, Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or visitor visa, depending on your nationality:
On the other hand, if the purpose of your stay is to study or work for a longer period of time, non-New Zealanders must also apply for an appropriate visa.
Australia Visa Policy for New Zealanders
New Zealand citizens can visit, do business, study, work or live in Australia without first applying for a visa. New Zealand citizens are eligible for a special category visa (subclass 444), which can be applied for upon entry.
After living in Australia for five years, you can apply for permanent residency if you meet all other requirements, including income and health and safety checks. However, there is no time limit on SCV, so you can continue to live in Australia on SCV alone.
How Can I Get an Australian Visa?
Depending on your nationality, you can apply for an Australian visa online or at an Australian embassy/consulate:
- Apply for an eVisitor through the online services of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
- Apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) through the official ETA portal of the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
- You can apply for an Australian visa online or in person at an embassy or consulate.
Do I Need to Submit Original Documents?
You do not need to provide original documents to apply for an Australian visa. If you are applying online, you must scan the document and attach it as an electronic file. If you are applying in paper form, you will need to submit certified copies. This means that you must make a copy of the document and send it to the person who will “certify” the document, and that person must write, “This is a certified copy of the original as viewed by me.”
However, not just anyone can issue a certificate. You must be an Australian citizen or a non-Australian practicing one of the “qualifying professions” such as a doctor, judge, court clerk, banker or police officer.
Here you can find out what documents you need for an Australian visa and who can provide them.
When Should I Apply For a Visa?
The time you need to apply for an Australian visa depends on the type of visa you are applying for.
- If you are applying for a tourist visa, you must apply at least one month before your intended travel date, but it is possible that you will need more time. Although most applications are processed within a few weeks, there have been cases where tourist visa applications have taken more than four months.
- If you are applying for an eVisitor or an ETA, you should easily apply about a week before your trip.
- If you are applying for a long-term visa, such as a work visa, it can take several months to a year or more, so you should start the process as soon as possible.
Who Issues Australian Visas?
The authority that reviews and decides on all visa applications is the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Australian Visa Types
Australian visas are divided into the following categories:
- Visitor visas: This category is for short-term travelers who do not intend to settle in Australia and includes the following visas and travel authorizations:
- Tourist Visa (Subclass 600)
- Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601)
- eVisitor (Subclass 651)
- Medical Treatment Visa (Subclass 602)
- Study and training visas: This category includes visas for international students, interns, and parents or guardians of minor international students:
- Student Visa (Subclass 500)
- Training Visa (Subclass 407)
- Student Guardian Visa (Subclass 590)
- Parent visas: This visa category is issued to parents of Australian citizens, Permanent Residents or eligible New Zealand citizens and is divided into the following categories:
- Parent Visa (Subclass 103)
- Aged Parent Visa (Subclass 804)
- Contributory Aged Parent Visas (Subclass 884 and subclass 864)
- Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 173) – Temporary
- Contributory Parent Visa (Subclass 143)
- Family visas: Visas in this category are issued to dependents or guardians of minors or adults who are Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens. It is divided into:
- Adoption Visa (Subclass 102)
- Aged Dependent Relative Visas (Subclass 114 and subclass 838)
- Carer Visas (Subclass 836 and subclass 116)
- Dependent Child Visa (Subclass 445)
- New Zealand Citizen Family Relationship Visa (Subclass 461) – Temporary
- Orphan Relative Visas (Subclass 117 and subclass 837)
- Remaining Relative Visas (Subclass 115 and subclass 835)
- Partner visas: This visa category is issued to the spouse, de facto partner or prospective spouse of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and is divided into the following categories:
- Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300)
- Partner Visa (Subclass 309) – Provisional
- Partner Visa (Subclass 100) – Migrant
- Partner Visa (Subclass 820) – Temporary
- Partner Visa (Subclass 801) – Permanent
- Humanitarian visas: These visas are issued to refugees who have met Australia’s protection obligations and are divided into the following categories:
- Refugee Visa (Subclasses 200, 201, 203, and 204)
- Global Special Humanitarian (Subclass 202)
- Protection Visa (Subclass 866)
- Temporary Protection Visa (Subclass 785)
- Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (Subclass 790)
- Bridging visas: This type of visa allows the holder to remain in Australia while their immigration application is being processed. Depending on your circumstances, they are divided into the following categories:
- Bridging visa A – BV (Subclass 010)
- Bridging visa B – BVB (Subclass 020)
- Bridging visa C – BVC (Subclass 030)
- Bridging visa E – BVE (Subclass 050 and 051)
- Work visas: This type of visa allows the holder to work legally in Australia. Depending on the type of work they are divided into the following categories:
- Global Talent Visa (Subclass 858)
- Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)
- Permanent Residence Visa (Subclass 191) – Skilled Regional
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187)
- Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional Visa (Subclass 494) – Provisional
- Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
- Skilled Nominated Visa (Subclass 190)
- Skilled Recognised-Graduate Visa (Subclass 476)
- Skilled Regional Visa (Subclass 887)
- Skilled Work Regional Visa (Subclass 491) – Provisional
- Temporary Activity Visa (Subclass 408)
- Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)
- Temporary Work Visa (Subclass 403) – International Relations
- Temporary Work Visa (Subclass 400) – Short Stay Specialist
- Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
- Business and investment visas: This visa category is issued to business owners who wish to operate or invest in an existing or new business in Australia. Depending on your circumstances, it is divided into the following categories:
- Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 888) – Permanent
- Business Innovation and Investment Visa (Subclass 188) – Provisional
- Business Owner (Subclass 890)
- Business Talent Visa (Subclass 132) – Permanent
- Investor Visa (Subclass 891)
- State or Territory Sponsored Business Owner Visa (Subclass 892)
- State or Territory Sponsored Investor Visa (Subclass 893)
- Work and holiday visas: These visas are issued to nationals of certain countries that have a work and leave agreement with Australia:
- Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462)
- Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
- Transit visa (subclass 771).
- Special Category Visa (subclass 444)
- Resident Return Visas ( Subclass 155 and 157)
- Declaratory Visa
Can I Appeal a Visa Refusal?
If your visa to Australia has been refused, you may appeal to the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of the decision. You should appeal as soon as possible after you receive the refusal notice. Appeals usually take between seven and 28 days.
The visa refusal notice will state whether you are eligible to appeal and, if so, when and how to do so.
After You Get the Visa
Once you have obtained an Australian Tourist Visa, you will be issued a Visa Grant Number. You can use this number to check your visa details in the VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online) system. Since all information is available in the online database, there is no visa stamp in your passport.
However, you should print a copy of your visa issuance letter and take it with you on your trip. This letter will contain all the information you need to obtain your visa. The immigration officer at the airport will use your ImmiAccount or visa number to check your visa status in the online database.
How Long Is the Processing Time for an Australian Visa?
How long it takes to apply for a visa in Australia depends on the type of visa. Generally, tourist visa applications are processed within a few weeks to four months, but if everything is in order, they can be processed in a few days. eVisitors can be processed in one to two days and ETAs are usually processed within a day.
Longer-term visas can take several months to a year or longer, depending on the visa.
Do I Have to Provide Biometrics For my Visa Application?
Biometric data (visa photo and fingerprints) must be submitted in the following cases.
- You are applying for a visa that requires biometric data.
- You are applying for a visa from a country that requires biometric data.
Do I Need Travel Health Insurance?
If you have a long-stay visa, you must have adequate Australian health insurance at all times. On the other hand, if you have a visitor visa, you are not normally required to have health insurance, but the Australian government strongly recommends it.
How Long Can I Stay in Australia With a Valid Visa?
If you are visiting Australia for tourism or other short-term purposes, you can usually stay for up to three months at a time.
- The eVisitor and ETA are valid for one year from the date of issue. During this one year, you can enter Australia as many times as you like, as long as each stay does not exceed three months.
- Tourist Stream Visas are issued for a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.
Work visas, study visas and other long-stay visas are issued for periods ranging from a few months to five years, depending on your particular circumstances.
How Long Do You Have To Leave Australia Before Returning?
If you have an ETA or eVisitor, there are no restrictions on how long you can stay before returning to Australia. However, you must make sure that you leave the country before the three months are up. If you re-enter Australia, you can stay for another three months, not to exceed your visa’s validity of one year.
Please note that you cannot work in Australia or study in Australia for more than three months on an ETA, eVisitor or Tourist visa.
Can I Extend an Australian Visa?
If you are already in Australia and want to stay longer, you can apply for a new visa at least two weeks before your current visa expires. You can apply for a new visa up to two weeks before your current visa expires, but only if it is not marked “No Further Stay”. In other words, unless there are special circumstances, you cannot extend your visa or apply for a new visa if you entered the country on a tourist visa marked “No Further Stay”.
If you apply for another type of visa, you will be issued a bridging visa that will allow you to stay in Australia until a decision is made by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
How Long Can You Stay After Your Visa Expires?
You cannot stay in Australia past your visa expiration date unless you have applied for another type of visa. If you overstay for even a few days, it will be noted on your immigration file and may affect your future visa applications.
If you stay longer than 28 days, you may be questioned by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship upon departure, and you may be subject to a three-year ban on entry.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule if you have a valid reason for overstaying.
How Much Does an Australian Visa Cost?
Australian visa fees vary depending on the type of visa, how you apply for it and how long you stay.
- Tourist visa (Tourist Stream): AUD 145
- eVisitor and ETA: Free, except for a service fee of AUD 20
- Student visa AUD 620
- Education Visa: AUD 620 AUD 310
- Work Visa: AUD 310 AUD 310 to AUD 4,045 (depending on visa)
Can I Get a Refund If I Withdraw My Visa Application?
If you withdraw your Australian visa application, you will not be entitled to a refund in most cases. A person who withdraws a visa application is only entitled to a refund in one of the following circumstances.
- The death of the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family.
- If the applicant has been issued another visa in the same category.
- In the case of a parental visa application only. the applicant has applied for another category of Australian parental visa and wishes to be heard on the decision on the second application.
If your visa application is rejected, there will be no refund.
How Can I Check My Visa Validity And Conditions?
You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) to check the details and conditions of your visa. To access VEVO, you will need one of the following documents
- Transaction Reference Number (TRN) – This is the number you will receive when you start your visa application online.
- Visa Delivery Number – This is the number you will be issued if your application is successful.
- Visa Evidence Number – This number is issued when a visa label is affixed to your passport for any reason.
You will also need to enter information such as your date of birth, passport number and nationality.
How Do I Find Out About The Progress of My Application?
If you have applied online, you can check the status of your application on ImmiAccount. Once the Home Office has reviewed your application, the process will be updated in your account as follows.
- Incomplete – if your visa application is not yet complete.
- Ready to Submit – if your application is complete but you have not yet submitted it.
- Submitted – the application has been submitted.
- Received – indicates that DHA has received your application.
- Initial Review – DHA is currently reviewing your application.
- Further Assessment – When DHA requests additional information.
- Finalized – A decision has been made and you will be notified shortly by email or mail.
How Can I Pay For My Visa?
If you apply online, you can pay the visa fee by credit or debit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, etc.). When you submit the application at the Embassy or Consulate, you will be informed how to pay the fee at the counter.
What If I Make a Mistake During My Application?
When you submit your visa application online, you must ensure that there are no errors. If you notice an error before you have completed your application and paid the visa fee, you can correct it. If you notice an error before you submit your application, you will need to resubmit your application.
The good thing is that you can review your application before you submit it and if you notice a mistake, you can correct it.
Remember that you can get into trouble at the border if you get your passport information wrong.