Heading overseas - holidaying
Australia has reciprocal arrangements with many countries for entry and temporary visits. All of these agreements exclude the right to work, except the agreement with New Zealand. For advice on specific countries, travellers should consult www.smartraveller.gov.au and the relevant embassy website.
Australians can enter the United Kingdom for up to six months as a tourist if they have sufficient funds and do not intend to work. A stamp in the passport given by immigration officers in the airport is evidence of permission to enter. Gaining a work permit is relatively simple for Australian citizens who wish to work in the UK. They must apply to the British High Commission in Canberra.
Europe: The Schengen Convention
The Schengen Convention permits Australian tourists planning to spend less than a total of 90 days within a 180 day period in the Schengen area without a visa. Countries in the Schengen area are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. There is a separate arrangement with the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine are not part of the Schengen area.
Requirements for entry into countries in Asia differ. Popular destinations, such as Thailand and Vietnam have very different requirements. Before entering Vietnam, Australian citizens must obtain a valid visa. Thailand requires that travellers have at least six months validity remaining on their passports. When Australians enter through an international airport on an Australian passport they may enter for up to 30 days without obtaining a visa. This period is 15 days if the travellers enters overland. Visas are required for longer stays, or for purposes other than tourism. Consulting the relevant embassy page is always important before making departure plans.
Emigrating or working overseas
Applying for permanent residence or a working permit, or emigrating to another country with a spouse or with family can be complicated. For information on permanent immigration, or work permits it would be best to consult the embassy website of the country to which you are intending to go. Often, if employment has been secured beforehand, the employer will help to organise visas and sponsorship.
The DIAC website provides a list of embassies and other official government bodies that process working holiday visa applications. There are numerous countries with who Australia has arrangements so that Australian citizens can work and holiday abroad, these are as diverse as Bangladesh, the Republic of Korea and Malta.
New Zealand Citizens
Since the 1920s, various legal arrangements have provided New Zealand and Australian citizens with the right to enter each other’s country to visit, live, and work, without the need to apply for a visa. In 1994, changes to the Migration Act 1958 meant that while this basic right is unchanged, the Special Category Visa (SCV) was created for New Zealand citizens. When New Zealand citizens enter Australia on a valid New Zealand passport they are considered to have applied for the SCV. A stamp in their passport is evidence that a New Zealand citizen is holding a SCV.
Exceptions: Social Security Payments and Permanent Residence
While New Zealand citizens can enter Australia without applying for a visa, if they intend to stay and access certain social security payments, obtain Australian citizenship, or sponsor family members for permanent residence, they must first apply for and obtain a permanent residence visa.
There are also exceptions based on character and health considerations, such as possessing a criminal record. For more detailed information on New Zealand citizens in Australia see the DIAC website.