General Visa Requirements
All foreign nationals, except New Zealand citizens must have a valid visa before travelling to Australia. New Zealand citizens can travel with their New Zealand passport, and receive a visa on their arrival in Australia.
Residents from all other countries can obtain a visa from their closest Australian offices, such as Australian Embassy, Australian Consulate and High commissions. In some instances, an Australian visa can be provided by travel agents and airlines.
Important things for travellers to Australia:
- Airlines won’t allow travellers without valid visas and passports to board their aircraft;
- It is recommended for all visitors first to obtain their visa, before buying airline tickets or entering into any other financial commitments depending on their entry to Australia;
- While in Australia, all visitors are required to have a valid visa;
- Tourist visa holders are not allowed to work during their visit in Australia.
- All foreign country visa holders must exit Australia before their visa expires.
People, who wish to work in Australia, have to apply for an Australian temporary residence visa, business visa, student visa or other visa that permits working in Australia. There are rigorous sanctions for people who breach the work conditions on their visa.
Types of visas
The type of visa depends on what you wish to do during your stay in Australia and how long you wish to stay.
For example, you may want to visit Australia as a tourist, or make a business trip, or study, or live permanently in Australia, and there are different options for obtaining a visa under each category.
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) - an ETA is electronic authority to travel to and enter Australia for a short term stay for business purpose or tourism, and it’s linked electronically on your passport.
ETAs are officially available to passport holders from 31 countries in Europe, North America and Asia, through participating travel agents and airlines. The Australian Government doesn’t charge external service to providers that offer this service to travellers.
Tourist ETAs are free of any Government fee.
Tourist visas usually are valid for up to 12 months, and can be granted with single or multiple entries in Australia.
While on tourist visa, you may not study for more than 3 months time.
There is a fee charged for all tourist visas.
Business visas are for people that want to do business in Australia for short periods. You should consult with an Australian Visa Office about your business circumstances that will determine your duration of stay in Australia, how long your visa will be valid for, and the number of permitted journeys.
In some cases, this visa can be valid for up to five years and allow any number of business visits for up to 3 months each time during the five years. There is a charge (fee) for all business visas.
Temporary residence visas are for people who want to come temporarily to Australia for some specific things or engage in some activities. This type of visa can be used by people who want to study, find a job or participate in a wide variety of activities like: amateur and professional sporting, cultural or entertainment activities etc.
Depending on the visa type, you may be required to be sponsored by an Australian organization or future employer in Australia.
If you are planning on making several visits to Australia, it is best to apply for a longer valid multiple-entry visa.
Temporary residence visas cover the following sectors:
- Sports – for amateur or professional sports people involved in racing or training programs;
- Media and film staff visa - for photographers, film and television crew that are making documentary, film or a commercial for overseas markets, correspondents and other professional media in Australia such as overseas news organisations;
- Students – for people who want to continue their studies in their professional field or learn English;
- Working Holiday - for young people from the UK, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Canada, Malta and the Republic of Korea who are able to work and want to go to Australia to supplement their funds or travel around Australia.
- Employment- for employers to hire key personnel and overcome temporary skilled labour shortages in the Australian Market.
The basic requirements for an Australian Skilled Visa are:
- Age - you must be under 50 when you apply;
- English language – sufficient English language knowledge (at least at a competent level);
- Nominated occupation – when you apply for visa you must nominate a skilled occupation, which fits your skills and qualifications;
- Skills assessment – before applying you must have your skills assessed by the Australian recognised assessing authority;
- Health assessment – you should be of reasonably good health;
- Character assessment – you should be of good character.
For more information about any particular visa fees, please visit the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website.
If your visa is about to expire, you must leave Australia before it does, or you should consult with a registered Migration Agent such as AMALSA of what your options may be. If you are in Australia and your visa has expired you risk the consequences of being placed in a Detention Centre and being deported. Any person who is deported from Australia has a 3 year exclusion period. Do not overstay a visa!