Planning to visit

Everyone entering Australia needs to have a visa – even those just seeking a brief holiday, so make sure you are prepared before you take your trip to Oz.

For holiday makers, Australia offers electronic visitor visas (either ETAs or eVisitor visas) to people from most western countries. The procedure is very simple. You can either give your passport to your travel agent when the booking is made and he/she can arrange the visa, or you can apply for an the visa online (please note that you must normally be outside Australia before applying for an electronic visitor visa).

Electronic visitor visas are available both for holidays and short-term business purposes.
It always possible to apply for a conventional visitor visa if, for example, you do not come from an electronic visitor visa country or you wish to visit for longer than 3 months.

Family Visits

It is difficult to obtain visitor visas from some countries, and in the case of family visits, you may be required to obtain a sponsored visitor visa, which often involves putting up a bond which is returned to you when your relative leaves. In other cases, the family member in Australia may be required to lodge an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in order to succeed.

Students

Overseas students are now a major part of the Australian economy. In recognition of this, the Department of Immigration has made it possible to thoroughly assess eligibility and apply online. While acknowledging that this is possible, we would recommend using an experienced education agent where possible. We would be delighted to make appropriate recommendations to potential students.

Business People

Business visitors may apply for a wide range of short-term visas for particular purposes. For longer stays it is necessary to obtain advice from DIMIA or a migration agent, as the options are limited.

Sports, Education, Entertainment, Medical

For information on these possibilities and other visitor visas, go to the Department website http://www.border.gov.au or seek professional advice.

Working Holiday Makers

If you are between 18 and 30 you may be able to obtain a one year working holiday visa with the possibility of a one year extension. This is a visa you can only hold once in your life. Start with http://www.border.gov.au/Lega/Lega/Form/Immi-FAQs/what-is-the-working-holiday-maker-program to research this.

Retirement

For people who have enough money to look after themselves and enjoy Australia after they turn 55, there are retirement visas, with concessions for Australian resident children, however you’ll need to be able to invest considerable sums to qualify for this, see http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/405-

Costs

A long time ago, visas for Australia were cheap and the costing transparent. Today there are many obvious and not so obvious costs, you can start by looking at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa/Fees). Watch out for significant “second visa application charges”, “further application onshore” costs and the Department’s credit card surcharge.