Overview

A Visitor Visa allows you to come to Australia to have a holiday, visit friends and family, or to undertake short-term business activities.

You cannot work in Australia while holding a Visitor visa.

With a Visitor visa you can study for up to three months, purchase property, volunteer, and work online if it is incidental to a holiday. A Visitor visa can be granted for three, six, or twelve months. In some cases, the Department may impose a restrictive condition, which prevents the holder from applying for further visas from within Australia. If this is not the case, you can apply for another kind of visa from within Australia, including a Partner visa, Humanitarian visa, Student visa or Skilled visa.

In some cases it is strategic to come to Australia on a Visitor visa and apply for another visa from within Australia.

There are three kinds of Visitor visa depending on your nationality. These are the Subclass 600 Visitor visa, the Subclass 601 – Electronic Travel Authority, and the Subclass 651 – eVisitor. The main differences between these visas is how you apply and the evidence you need to submit with your application.

More information about these visas is set out below.

Visitor visa (Subclass 600)

The Subclass 600 Visitor visa allows you to visit Australia as a tourist, to visit friends or family, or undertake short term business activities. There are different streams of the Visitor visa including the Tourist Stream, the Business Visitor Stream, Sponsored Family Stream, and Chinese Visitor Streams.

Popular Visitor Visa Streams

  • Tourist Stream:
    This visa stream allows you to travel to Australia for a holiday, to visit family and friends or for purposes other than business or medical treatment. You can apply for the visa from inside or outside Australia. If you apply from within Australia you will receive a bridging visa and have review rights if your application is refused. The visa may be granted for up to 12 months.
  • Business Visitor stream:
    Business visitor activities include making a general business or employment enquiry, investigating, negotiating, entering into, or reviewing a business contract, undertaking an activity as part of an official government to government visit, or participate in a conference, trade fair or seminar in Australia. The visa may be granted for up to three months.

To apply for a Subclass 600 Visitor visa, you must:

  • have access to enough money to support yourself while you are in Australia
  • be a genuine visitor and intend to come to Australia only for the purpose of the Visitor visa
  • intend to stay temporarily in Australia
  • complete bio-metric identity testing in some cases
  • meet health and character requirements in some cases

Visitor visas are frequently refused particularly if you are from a poor country or there is civil unrest. You need to be very careful to present information showing you have sufficient funds for the visit, intend to visit for the purpose of the visa and for the period of the visa grant, and that you intend to return to your country at the end of the visit.

Processing times are indicative only and may vary depending on individual circumstances or government policy.

The latest processing times published by the Department of Home Affairs are as follows:

  • 75% of applications in 2 month
  • 90% of applications in 9 months.

Apply in Australia

Eligible applicants can apply for this visa in Australia. If you apply in Australia, you must be in Australia when the Department of Home Affairs decides on your application.

You can apply for a new visa if your visa does not have a condition that prevents further stay, such as condition 8503. You might be able to request a waiver of the no further stay condition in some circumstances.

The visa costs from AUD$365 for each applicant.

Apply outside Australia

The visa costs from AUD$145 for each applicant.

To work out what your visa will cost use the Visa Pricing Estimator. The estimator does not include other costs you might also have to pay such as those for police certificates, health checks, biometrics, and professional fees to get assistance with the visa application process from an immigration lawyer/agent.

Electronic Travel Authority visa (ETA) (Subclass 601)

The Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601) is an electronic travel visa that is linked to your passport and designed only for tourism and business visitor purposes.

With this visa you can

Travel to Australia:

  • as a tourist – for example, to cruise or have a holiday
  • to visit family or friends
  • as a business visitor.

You can study or train for up to 3 months in total on this visa. But if your main reason for travelling to Australia is study, a student visa might be more appropriate.

To be eligible to apply for an ETA you must:

  • hold a passport from one of these countries:

    Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR of China), Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (excluding official or diplomatic passports), The Netherlands, United Kingdom—British Citizen, United Kingdom—British National (Overseas), United States of America, Vatican City.

  • be a genuine visitor and intend to stay in Australia temporarily
  • meet health and character requirements.

Processing time for this visa is not available.

The ETA is free. There is an online application service cost of AUD$20.

eVisitor visa (Subclass 651)

The eVisitor visa allows individuals to visit Australia for business visitor purposes and stay in Australia for up to 3 months at a time within the 12-month time frame.

To apply for eVisitor visa, you must hold a passport from one of the eligible countries.

An eVisitor visa is stored electronically, which can be accessed by airlines, travel agents as well as by the Australian border agencies. You must be outside Australia while applying for this visa type.

You may be eligible for an eVisitor if you:

  • want to visit Australia as a tourist or for business purposes are outside Australia
  • are from the eligible countries
  • are free of tuberculosis when you enter Australia
  • do not have any conviction for which the total sentence is more than 12 months (whether the sentence has been served).

Eligible Countries

You must be a citizen of and hold a valid passport from one of these countries to be eligible for the eVisitor:

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vatican City.

Processing times are indicative only and may vary depending on individual circumstances or government policy. The latest processing times published by the Department of Home Affairs are as follows:

90% of applications: 85 days.

The eVisitor is free.

To discover whether you are eligible for Visitor visa, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

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