Before You Travel… Australian Holiday Visas
If you’re British and hoping to travel to Australia, you need a visa. There are several Australian holiday visa options, depending on the nature of your trip and how long you plan to stay. Here’s a straightforward overview to help you work out which Australian visa you need.
eVisitors visa (Subclass 651)
If you’re hoping to stay in Australia for a single period of less than three months in the coming 12-month period, for either tourism or business purposes, you need an eVisitors visa. This type of visa doesn’t allow repeat visits, so you can’t use it to enter, leave and then re-enter the country.
You can’t undertake paid work in Australia when travelling with this visa, although some voluntary work is allowed.
Applying for an eVisitors visa
You can apply for an eVisitor online, via the Australian Government Department of Immigration web site. There is no application charge or service fee – it’s free. Typically you should complete the application at least two weeks before you plan to travel.
The eVisitor is what’s referred to as an “electronically stored authority for travel” that’s linked to your passport number, so you don’t need a stamp or other documentation. However, you will be provided with a confirmation e-mail.
Because the visa is linked to your passport number, you must travel with the same passport you used for your application. Separate eVisitor visas are needed for each member of a travelling family, including children under 18 years.
ETA (Visitor) visa (Subclass 976)
If you plan to make multiple visits to Australia but each visit will be for a stay less than three months and occur within a 12-month period, you need an ETA (Visitor) visa.
An ETA (Visitor) visa lets you visit Australia for tourism, recreation or informal study, and is valid for a year. You can’t undertake paid work in Australia when travelling with this visa, although limited voluntary work is allowed.
Applying for an ETA (Visitor) visa
You can apply for an ETA (Visitor) online at the Australian Government Department of Immigration web site or apply via a travel agent, airline or specialist service provider. The visa is free, but a service charge for issuing it is applied. This charge varies slightly based on the provider, so it can pay to shop around.
You should complete the application at least two weeks before you plan to travel. Like the eVisitor, the ETA (Visitor) visa is an electronically stored authority for travel linked to your passport number, so you don’t need a stamp or other documentation. You’ll simply be provided with a confirmation e-mail if your application is successful.
Note that if you lose or renew your passport, you’ll need a new ETA (Visitor) visa. If you obtain a new passport while you’re in Australia, however, your original ETA (Visitor) visa remains valid. When you leave Australia, you may travel on your new passport, but keep your old passport with you because it links to your visa.
Like the eVisitors, a separate ETA (Visitor) is needed for each member of a travelling family, including children less than 18 years old.
Tourist visa (Subclass 676)
If you plan to be on holiday in Australia for longer than a three-month period, you may need a Tourist visa. This visa allows you to make multiple visits to Australia, for up to six or twelve months, for tourism purposes or to visit family and friends.
The visa can’t be used for long-term stays or residence. You can’t work while travelling on a Tourist visa, but you can study for up to three months, and some voluntary work is allowed.
Applying for a Tourist visa
Applications can be made online, in person or by post, to the Australian Government Department of Immigration. A fee is payable for the visa, and this isn’t 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.
Extending a Tourist visa
If you want to extend your stay for tourism purposes, you must apply for a new visa at least two weeks before your current visa expires. Otherwise you must leave Australia on or before the date when your visa expires.
For families, children under 18 who are included on a parent’s passport can be included on the parent’s Tourist visa. Other family members with separate passports must have separate Tourist visas.
Working Holiday visa (Subclass 417)
If you’re between the ages of 18 and 31 and want to work and travel for up to 12 months in Australia, you need a Working Holiday visa. This is an ideal option for young people hoping to travel in Australia, working as they go to top up their funds through short-term employment.
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.
Applying for a Working Holiday visa
You need to apply for this category of visa through the Australian Government Department of Immigration. A non-refundable fee is payable for the visa.
You can apply for a second Working Holiday visa for a further 12-month stay after your first one expires if you wish to extend your stay.