Eligible citizens of 45 countries planning a stay of up to 3 months for tourism, transit or business are able to get an Australian visa (either an ETA or eVisitor) through a simple online application. Those not eligible, or who wish to stay for longer periods, can apply for the visitor visa for Australia through the Australian Immigration Department.
What is the visitor visa for Australia (Subclass 600)?
While citizens of the 45 eVisitor or ETA-eligible countries are able to complete the online Australia visa application for short tourism or business stays, all other passport holders are able to apply for a visitor visa for Australia for the same purposes, as well as for longer stays.
The visitor visa for Australia has replaced the now-defunct Australia tourist visa and can be applied for online through the Australia Immigration Department by all citizens except those from Somalia, who must apply in person.
Within the subclass 600, there are different classifications of visitor visa that depend on the purpose of the stay and the nationality of the applicant. The Australia visitor visa can be granted for a stay of either 3, 6, or 12 months for either single or multiple-entry, determined on a case-by-case basis by Australian Immigration officials.
Citizens of the People’s Republic of China who often travel to Australia for business or personal reasons are able to apply for a frequent traveller visitor visa, which allows for consecutive stays of 30 days within a 10-year validity period.
Those eligible will need to meet the Australia visa requirements for the visitor visa before applying. Primarily, this involves having a passport valid for at least 3 months upon entry into Australia, and additional supporting documentation may be required depending on the purpose of the visa.
Visitor visa for tourism
This classification of the visitor visa for Australia is the equivalent of the ETA or eVisitor for citizens not eligible for those visa types, and allows a stay in Australia for a holiday, as part of a cruise, or to visit family or friends.
Unlike the other sub-classifications, it is possible to apply for the Australia visitor visa for tourism from either within Australia or outside the country. A stay of either 3, 6, or 12 months is possible with applications made from outside Australia, while eligible parents of Australian citizens might be granted a longer validity period.
It is only possible for a 12-month Australia visitor visa to be granted if applying from within the country. This is a good option for holidaymakers in Australia with another visa that is about to expire and who want to stay longer.
Visitor visa for families
Travellers who are able to be sponsored by an eligible family member who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident can apply for the sponsored family visitor visa for Australia.
This type of visa is valid for a 12-month stay in Australia to see family members, for a holiday or to enter Australia as part of a cruise. It is also possible to train or study for up to 3 months with the Australia visitor visa for families, but not if this is the main reason for the trip.
It will be necessary to provide a letter of invitation from a family member in Australia as supporting documentation in order to get the Australia visitor visa for families. The traveller’s sponsor may also be asked to pay a security bond as a guarantee. If a family member wants to lend support without becoming a sponsor, the petitioner can apply for a visitor visa for tourism.
Visitor visa for business
The business subtype of the Australia visitor visa allows foreign nationals not eligible for the ETA or eVisitor visa a short stay in Australia for professional reasons but not to work or sell goods. Valid purposes include:
- Making general business or work enquiries
- Activities as part of an official government visit
- Business contract investigations or negotiations
- To attend a trade fair, seminar or conference, as long as the applicant has not been paid by the organisers to attend
The Australian visitor visa for business is valid for a maximum stay of 3 months and can be granted as a single or multiple-entry visa. Applicants must be outside of Australia when submitting a request for the business visitor visa for Australia, and must remain abroad until a decision about the visa is made.
If the purpose of coming to Australia is paid work, or to undertake studies or a training course as the main reason for the visit, the Australia visitor visa will not be valid. A different type of Australian visa will be required.