24th February 2018
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Visit Australia

Australian Visitor Visa

Australia's Visitor program consists of a series of visa subclasses which allow people to enter and remain in Australia for a short and definitive period of time, typically ranging from 6 weeks up to 12 months.

All Visitor Visas are temporary visas, and are suitable for people who want to come to Australia as travellers, tourists, holiday-makers, to visit family or friends, or to undertake short term business activities or training.

In the past 12 months, Australia has experienced record numbers of international visitors entering Australia on Visitor Visas. The second half of 2012 saw an increase of 6% in the number of Australian Visitor Visas granted compared to the same period in the previous year, and this upward trend is expected to continue throughout 2013.

Generally, applicants for an Australian Visitor Visa must demonstrate that they are genuine temporary visitors to Australia, and that they intend to return to their home country after their temporary stay in Australia. They must also demonstrate that they possess adequate finances to support themselves during their visit to Australia.  


Types of Visitor Visas

Significant changes were recently made to Australia’s Visitor Visa program. These reforms reduced the number of Visitor Visa subclasses previously available and standardised eligibility requirements across the program. The recent changes were intended to simplify the application process and clarify the entitlements and obligations of each Visitor Visa subclass.

Persons wishing to visit Australia on a short term basis will now need to make their application under one of the following Australian Visitor Visa subclasses:

Visitor visa (subclass 600)

The Visitor visa (subclass 600) is for people who want to travel Australia as tourists, for business or to visit family. It is a temporary visa and is generally valid for a period of between 3 and 12 months.

Note that the Visitor Visa (subclass 600) has replaced a range of previous visas, including Tourist Visa subclasses 676 and 679.

The Visitor Visa has four streams:

  • the Tourist stream for people travelling to Australia for holidays, recreation or to visit family and friends.
  • the Business stream for business people travelling to Australia for a short business visit to undertake business activities such as attending a conference, negotiation or meeting.
  • the Sponsored Family stream for people travelling to Australia to visit their family. Note that to apply under for a Visitor Visa under this stream, you must have a sponsor and they may be asked to provide a monetary bond.
  • the Approved Destination Status stream for people from the People’s Republic of China who are travelling to Australian as part of an organised tour group.

Applicants for the Visitor Visa (subclass 600) will need to determine which stream is applicable to their circumstances and the purpose of their visit to Australia, and then lodge their application under the appropriate stream of this visa subclass.

Note that the terms and obligations of all streams of the Visitor Visa (subclass 600) prohibit the holder from undertaking any paid work or providing paid services to any business or organisation whilst in Australia.  

Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)

The Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601) (ETA) allows the holder to enter Australia as many times as desired for a period of up to 12 months, with a stay in Australia of up to three months on each visit. Applications for an ETA must be made from outside Australia.

The ETA (601) visa has replaced the previous ETA (subclasses 976, 977 and 956) visas.

The ETA is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia and is linked electronically to the holder’s passport. It can thus be easily verified by staff at airlines, travel agencies and Australian border agencies.

Similar to the Visitor Visa (subclass 600), the ETA (subclass 601) visa permits the holder to travel to Australia for tourist purposes or business visitor activities. Tourism purposes may include holidays, recreation or visiting family or friends. Business visitor activities may include attending a conference, a business negotiation, or exploring business options.

To be eligible to apply for an ETA, the applicant must hold a current valid passport to one of the below countries:

Andorra Ireland South Korea
Austria Italy Spain
Belgium Japan Sweden
Brunei Liechtenstein Switzerland
Canada Luxembourg Taiwan
Denmark Malaysia The Netherlands
Finland Malta United Kingdom—British Citizen
France Monaco United Kingdom-British National (Overseas)
Germany Norway United States
Greece Portugal Vatican City
Hong Kong (SAR) Republic of San Marino
Iceland Singapore

Note that a holder of an ETA is not permitted to undertake any paid work or provide any paid services to a business or organisation in Australia. The new ETA (subclass 601) visa is available either through travel agents, airlines or through the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

eVisitor (subclass 651)

An eVisitor is an electronically stored authority that allows the holder to travel to Australia for tourism or business purposes. The eVisitor is valid for a period of between 3 and 12 months, and the holder is permitted to stay in Australia for up to three months each visit during the period the eVisitor is valid.

The eVisitor visa allows the holder to travel to Australia for short term tourist purposes or business visitor activities. Tourism purposes may include holidays, recreation or visiting family or friends. Business visitor activities may include attending a conference, a business negotiation, or exploring business options.  eVisitor holders cannot work for or provide paid services to a business or organisation in Australia or sell any goods or services.

Note that only persons holding a valid passport from the below listed countries are eligible to apply for this visa:

Andorra Iceland Romania
Austria Ireland Republic of San Marino
Belgium Italy Slovakia
Bulgaria Latvia Slovenia
Cyprus Liechtenstein Spain
Czech Republic Lithuania Sweden
Denmark Luxembourg Switzerland
Estonia Malta United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Finland Monaco Vatican City
France Netherlands
Germany Norway
Greece Poland
Hungary Portugal

Applications for an eVisitor must be lodged outside Australia. This visa is free of charge and is applied for via the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Note – Anyone wishing to visit Australia for the purposes of medical treatment, transit through Australia, or to undertake short term work in order to supplement a holiday, should not apply for an Australian Visitor Visa.

 

 
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