On first look the Australian visa system can seem a little complicated as there are quite few different options on offer… Here’s a low down on down under to help British visitors work out which Australian visa they need – depending on the nature of your trip and length of stay.
If you’re making one trip of less than 3 months in the coming 12 month period, you need an:
• eVisitors visa
Official name: ‘eVisitors (Subclass 651)’
The eVisitor is for visiting Australia for tourism or business purposes. Tourism covers holidays, recreation, and visiting families and friends. Business purposes might include attending a conference, meeting clients, or an exploratory business visit. You cannot undertake paid work in Australia when travelling with this visa, but some voluntary work is allowed – see official advice for full information.
You apply for an eVisitor online at the Australian Government Department of Immigration website. There is no application charge or service fee – it’s free. Official advice suggests you complete the application two weeks before travel. The eVisitor is an ‘electronically stored authority for travel’ which is linked to your passport number, so you don’t need a stamp or other documentation – however, you will be provided with a confirmation email.
An eVisitor lets you stay in Australia for up to three months within a twelve month period from the date it is granted. However, it is a single-use visa and does not allow repeat visits.
Remember that your eVisitor is linked to your passport number, so you must travel with the same passport as you used for your application. Separate eVisitors are needed for each member of travelling families, including children under 18 years.
Alternatively, if you plan to make multiple trips, but each less than 3 months in over a 12 month period, you need an:
• ETA (Visitor) visa
Official name: ‘ETA (Visitor) (Subclass 976)’
An ETA (Visitor) is for visiting Australia for holidays, tourism, recreation, or for informal study, and is valid for a year. You can’t undertake paid work in Australia when travelling with this visa, but limited voluntary work is allowed – see official guidelines for full details.
You can apply for an ETA (Visitor) online at the Australian Government Department of Immigration website, or through a travel agent, airline or specialist service provider. The visa is free – but there is service charge for issuing an ETA (Visitor). The government website currently charges $20 Aus – you may find cheaper offers from other online providers, so it can pay to shop around.
Official advice suggests you complete the application two weeks before travel. Like the eVisitor, the ETA (Visitor) is an ‘electronically stored authority for travel’ which is linked to your passport number, so you don’t need a stamp or other documentation – however, you will be provided with a confirmation email.
With a valid ETA (Visitor) you can make as many visits to Australia as you want – provided they are for less than 3 months stay – in the 12 months after the visa is granted. Remember it is electronically linked to your passport – if you lose or renew your passport you need a new ETA (Visitor).
If you obtain a new passport while you’re in Australia, you do not need to make an application for another visa so long as your ETA (Visitor) is valid – when you leave Australia, you may travel on your new passport, but keep your old passport with you as it holds your valid ETA (Visitor).
Like the eVisitors, a separate ETA (Visitor) is needed for each member of travelling families, including children less than 18 years old.
If you’re going to be way for longer, and plan to make a trip for between 3 months and 12 months, you need a:
• Tourist Visa
Official name: ‘Tourist Visa (Subclass 676)’
This visa allows you to make multiple visits to Australia for a holiday or recreation, or to visit family and friends, for up to six or twelve months. This visa is designed only to allow temporary travel to Australia for tourism purposes or to visit family and friends, and cannot be used for long-term stays or residence. If you want to remain eligible for a further Tourist visas in the future, you must maintain extended periods of time outside of Australia. There are other visa options if you wish to migrate or spend longer periods in Australia.
You cannot work while travelling on a Tourist visa, though you can study for up to 3 months, and some voluntary work is allowed.
Applications can be made online, in person or by post with the Australian Government Department of Immigration. Currently the Tourist visa costs $105 Aus – this charge is not usually refunded if your application is unsuccessful.
The period of stay and number of entries granted depends on the purpose of your visit and your personal circumstances. When you’re in Australia, if you want to extend your stay for tourism purposes, you must apply for a new visa at least two weeks before your curren visa expires. Otherwise you must leave Australia on or before the date your visa expires.
For families, children under 18 who are included on their parent’s passport can be included on their parent’s Tourist visa, but other family members with separate passports most have separate Tourist visas.
Finally, if you’re aged between 18 and 31 and want to work and travel for up to 12 months, you need a:
• Working Holiday Visa
Official name: ‘Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)’
This visa is specifically for young people looking to spend up to 12 months in Australia, working as they go to top-up their funds with short-term employment. You must have turned 18, but not 31 at the time of your application.
You need to apply for this visa through the Australian Government Department of Immigration – full details are found at their website. The current fee is a non-refundable visa application charge of $235 Aus.
With a Working Holiday Visa, you can stay in Australia for up to 12 months from the date of your first entry; leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid; work in Australia for up to six months with a single employer, and study for up to four months. A second Working Holiday Visa can be granted for a further 12 months after your first one expires if you wish to extend your stay.
Category: Travel Information