Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a valid Australian visa to enter Australia. You can apply for a range of visas, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate
There are a variety of visas available to travellers to Australia. The type of visa you should apply for depends on the length of your stay, your passport and the purpose of your visit.
Currently, there are three types of Australian visitor visas, however, your country of origin will determine which visa you can apply for.
These visas are:
· eVisitor (subclass 651)
· Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601)
· Visitor visa (subclass 600)
eVisitor (subclass 651)
This is a free visa for multiple visits to Australia for tourism or business purposes for up to three months at a time within a 12-month period. This visa is available to passport holders from a number of European countries and it cannot be extended.
Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601)
This visa allows you to visit Australia as many times as you want, for up to a year, and stay for three months each visit. This visa is available to passport holders from a number of countries and regions, who live outside Australia. There is no visa application charge for an ETA, however, a $20 service charge applies for online applications only.
Visitor visa (subclass 600)
The Visitor visa is designed for people who are not eligible for the eVisitor or Electronic Travel Authority visa. This visa allows you to visit Australia, either for tourism or business purposes, for up to three, six or 12 months. Applicants will have to pay a fee to submit their application.
Differences between the visa
While each visa allows applicants to travel to Australia, for travel, family or business-related activities which do not involve employment, there are slight differences between the three categories.
The Subclass 600 visa suits every traveller’s needs. It is designed for people travelling to Australia for up to either, three, six or 12 months, or people visiting Australia for business visitor purposes. There are five different streams available to applicants; tourist visa, business visitor, frequent traveller visa, sponsored family visa, and approved destination status. If you are on a tour with a registered travel agent from the People’s Republic of China, you will also be eligible to apply for this visa.
If you are wanting to visit Australia on multiple occasions within a 12-month period as a tourist, or for business visitor activities, or your passport is only valid for three months at a time, you may be able to apply for a 601 visa. This will allow you to come to Australia to visit as a tourist or to visit for business purposes as often as you wish, and stay for up to three months each time you visit Australia, within a year. Only certain passport holders of certain countries can apply for this visa, and to be eligible you will need to be outside of Australia upon application.
As a subclass 651 holder, you will be able to visit Australia for three months at a time within a 12-month period for tourist or business visitor purposes only. This is a free visa however, only eVisitor passport holders of certain countries can apply for this visa and to be eligible you will need to be outside of Australia upon application.
The time it takes to process your application will depend upon the type of Visitor Visa stream that you choose. The average processing time varies from three to 67 days.
The average processing fee for an Electronic Travel Authority Visa is less than one day. The eVisitor visa usually takes one to two days for the Department to process.
While the above circumstances are unavoidable, there are some factors which will ensure faster processing time. These include:
· Lodging a complete application, attached with all of the necessary supporting documents.
· Being prompt in responding to any additional information the Department requests.
The base application charge for a Visitor visa is priced from $140 to $1,020 depending on your circumstances.
If you are eligible for an Electronic Travel Authority Visa, you will need to pay a service fee of $20 for your online application.
If you are travelling to Australia on an eVisitor visa, you will not be charged any fee by the Department.