This page deals with Tourist or Visitor visas. Please refer to the Short Term Business visa page for business visitor visas. As at the 23 March 2013 the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) no longer accepts applications for the following visitor visas as part of their visa simplification exercise:
- Tourist visa (subclass 676)- except in e-676 format to apply for the 600 visitor visa;
- Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679);
- Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976).
Applicants who were previously eligible for the visas listed above may now be eligible for one of the following 3 visa sub-classes below.
- Visitor visa (subclass 600)
- Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
- e-Visitor (subclass 651)
Visitor visa (subclass 600)
This new visa has four streams:
- Tourist stream: for people travelling to Australia for a holiday, recreation or to visit family and friends. If you apply for this visa in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is decided. If you apply for this visa outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the visa is decided.
- Business Visitor stream: for business people travelling to Australia for a short business visit. This includes going to a conference, negotiation or meeting -BUT no specialist work is allowed. Applicants must use the 400 (Short stay activity) visa. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is decided.
- Sponsored Family stream: for people travelling to Australia to visit their family. You must have a sponsor who might be asked to provide a bond. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is decided. You cannot apply for another visa after you have arrived in Australia.
- Approved Destination Status stream: for people from the People’s Republic of China who are travelling in an organised tour group. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is decided.
Persons overseas from certain gazetted countries may be able to apply on-line for the Sub-class 600 visa. Application may also be made on-line from within Australia
Electronic Travel Authority -ETA- (subclass 601)
This visa lets you enter Australia as many times as you want (limited to 3 months per visit) within a 12 month period from the ETA visa grant date, for the purposes of tourism, such as holidays, recreation or visiting family or friends.
No work is allowed.
You must hold a passport from an eligible country to apply for this visa. The ETA is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the ETA is granted. An ETA is linked electronically to your passport. It can be seen by staff at airlines, travel agencies and Australian border agencies.
If intending to visit for business purposes , please refer to the Short Term Business visa link instead.
e-Visitor visa (subclass 651)
This visa lets you enter Australia as many times as you want (limited to 3 months per visit) within a 12 month period from the e-visa grant date, for the purposes of tourism, such as holidays, recreation or visiting family or friends.
No work is allowed.
You must hold a passport from an eligible european country to apply for this visa. You must be outside Australia when you lodge your application for an e-Visitor. You do not need to visit an immigration office and you will not receive a stamp or label in your passport. However, you will be given a confirmation for your records. An e-Visitor is an electronically stored authority for travel to Australia. eVisitor can be accessed by airlines, travel agents and Australian border agencies.
If intending to visit for business purposes, please refer to the Short Term Business visa link instead.
Doctors and nurses who do not have the qualifications to work in their professions in Australia can undertake a bridging program to gain registration with the relevant Australian medical authority. A sub-class 600 Business Visitor stream visa is appropriate for doctors and nurses to undertake an approved bridging or pre-registration program for 3 months or less and for doctors to do their medical board examination.
In some circumstances a doctor or nurse may be obliged to extend their stay in Australia to undertake further registration related study or examinations or due to delays from the registration body. Although a Business Visitor stream visa remains the most appropriate visa stream for this purpose, a Tourist stream visa may prove a more convenient visa alternative as the holder does not have to leave Australia and re-enter after 3 months as would be necessary if they held a Business Visitor stream visa.
Officers will generally consider favourably visa applications by doctors and nurses who, because of circumstances beyond their control, may be required to extend their stay onshore to undertake further registration related study or examinations. Generally a 3 month Tourist stream visa would be considered suitable.
If specialised or emergency work (allowable for up to 3 months) that no other Australian can do is intended, then you must use the Sub-class 400 series visa and not the Sub-class 600 Visitor visa (Business Stream).
Extending visitor visas in Australia
Clients who are in Australia and enjoying themselves, often would like to extend their stay as a visitor or tourist, or to spend more time with their Australian relative or partner. Before applying for a visitor visa from inside Australia, there are a number of important things and factors to consider.
The main issue is the conditions on your current visa. If you have a ‘no further stay’ – 8503 condition on your visa you cannot apply for a further visitor visa ‘onshore’ (that is – while you are in Australia) – or in fact any other visa- unless you first have the no further stay condition waived. We can assist with this waiver exercise.
There are of course a lot of different scenarios, so you can imagine, when applying for a visitor visa there are a lot of variables to consider.
It is also important to understand your range of options. Sometimes a visitor visa is the right way to go – but sometimes it isn’t, or there may be a better option. Again, one of the keys to getting this right is allowing plenty of time. If you contact us early we can help you plan your immediate, medium and long term visas. If you contact us just before your visa is due to expire we may have far fewer options for you.
One of the great things about applying for a visitor visa in Australia is that in almost all cases application can be made online. We can assist you in preparing your application.
We can assist applicants and friends to obtain visitor visas -depending upon your circumstances- for the purpose of tourism and recreational purposes. The term ‘visitor’ and ‘tourist’ are often used interchangeably in this space. Some countries have informal restrictions (called ‘risk factors) depending on the age and sex of the visitor which make the task of obtaining a visa more difficult. Generally more detail is required where there are risk factors present.
Visitors from certain ‘eligible’ countries may be able to access the e-676 (to apply for a subsequent SC600 Visitor visa by way of extension), Electronic Authority (ETA) 601 or e-Visitor (SC651) on-line. Visitor grant periods are usually 12 months BUT stay periods for these short term visitor visas is usually 3 months.
Visitors from non-eligible countries or refused overseas tourist visas
For those not clients not able to access stream-lined e-visitor visas, or other on-line options, the only alternative is the Sub-class 600 Tourist visa , which is a hard-copy application processed in the applicant’s home country. Signet can assist in the preparation and lodgement of these visitor visas, as they require a physical application and quite often substantial supporting documents.
If visitor visas have been refused the first time around, then it is advisable to seek professional assistance to overcome this hurdle to a successful next attempt! We can also assist in visitor extensions whilst visitors are in Australia and wish to stay for longer. *** Please contact us for further information