Passports and visas
People who intend to travel to Australia need a certificate of identification – a valid passport. As well as a passport everyone, except citizens of Australia and New Zealand, are required to have a valid visa to enter Australia.
For some foreign citizens, electronic visas are issued for entering Australia. Electronic visas are linked to the passport number and can be easily checked by immigration officials and airline carriers.
ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is equivalent to a visa; it is submitted online and in most cases, depending on the passport country of issue it can be approved within 30 seconds. To be eligible for an ETA you must hold a passport from one of the ETA eligible countries. ETAs are typically issued for the purpose of short tourist of business stays.
For longer stays in Australia, e.g. for studying, longer medical treatments or immigration visas can be issued under a number of different categories.
Arrival in Australia
Before arriving to the airport, all passengers are given an incoming passenger card, for each passenger to declare what they are bringing in Australia. Certain things, such as food, plants, and various overseas animal products could introduce some of the world’s most serious pests and diseases into Australia, so they are not allowed in the country.
If you have brought something that needs to be declared, or you are unsure whether it needs to be declared, it is highly recommended that you tick the appropriate box, because if you fail to declare a dangerous item, you can be fined up to AUD $220 on the spot, or in some cases face imprisonment of 10 years, a criminal record and fines more than AUD $66.000.
Illicit Drugs are strictly forbidden in the country, and you could face long sentences including jail time if you fail to obey the law.
There is no limit in the amount of cash you may bring to the country, but if the amount of cash exceeds AUD $10.000, or equivalent foreign currency, you must declare it.
Australia is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers especially in the regional parts. Employments visas are issued to highly-skilled workers that may be sponsored by regional states or employers. If you are holding an ETA or Tourist Visa, you are not allowed to work while staying in Australia.
The Australian government actively encourages foreign students to study in Australia. There are a number of student visas options for foreign students, most of which require a confirmation by the educational institution. In most cases, even shorter stay visas, such as Tourist Visa and ETA allow studying in Australia for up to three months.
Extending your stay in Australia
The most typical pathway visas that lead to permanent residence or extending your stay in Australia are the skilled, business, family and humanitarian stream. Each of them has different visa subclasses and eligibility criteria.
A registered migration agent can provide immigration assistance and support with your visa application, for all visa categories.