There are several classes of visa available for people seeking to enter Australia for tourism or family/friend visiting purposes. Broadly speaking, tourist visas allow visitors to come to Australia to visit friends or family, or to travel and visit Australia. The four visa options are ETA(Visitor) visa, eVisitors, Tourist visa, or Sponsored Family Visitor visa. For information on each of these, visit the DIBP website section on tourist visa options.
The requirements to qualify for a tourist visa include having health/travel insurance, financial means to support yourself whilst in Australia, and meet the health and character requirements. The DIBP website provides a total overview of the requirements of a tourist visa.
There are options for some tourists to lodge an online application. For example, the eVisitor visa is available as an online application, and the application process costs nothing. There are restrictions on this visa – it is not for repeat visits, or for stays longer than 3 months.
A traditional Tourist Visa (subclass 676) has now been replaced by Visitor Visas, Sublasses 600, 601, 651. These have many of the same conditions as the subclass 676 and can authorise a stay of up to 12 months for both business and tourist purposes. There are costs associated with applying for these visa. The 600 visa has a base charge of between $135 and $335, the 601 is an electronic travel authority and has a $20 service charge while the 651 e-Visitor visa also carries a service charge of $20 but is only available to passport holders of certain countries.
Working holiday visas
Working holiday visas fall into two categories – Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417), and Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462). There are a limited number of countries with which Australia has working holiday visa agreements. Some countries fall within the 417 visa, and others within 462.
Both visas are for young people aged between 18 and 30. The fee at time of writing for a working holiday/work and holiday visa application was $270. The eligible countries under the 462 visa are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA. The 417 visa is for people from Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
The 417 visa has consistent requirements. It is for a period of up to 12 months, where the primary purpose is a holiday, and employment is for supplementing the holiday income. There is a non-refundable charge associated with the visa application. Under this visa, a visa holder can leave and re-enter Australia any number of times and study for up to four months while the visa is valid.
The 462 visa has different application requirements for each of the different countries. There are a limited number of visas available to most countries in this Subclass. The purpose of the visa is the same as the 417 in that it was for a period of 12 months, there is a non-refundable visa application fee, and the visa holder can study for up to four months, and leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid.
Eligibility for a student visa depends on the an applicant’s passport country and the courses of study. These determine the Assessment level under which the student’s eligibility for a visa will be assessed. There are eight subclasses of Student (temporary) visa, under which courses of study are classified. Whether an applicant is undertaking a course of undergraduate or postgraduate study will also influence the type and duration of their visa, as well as the rights that are granted under that visa. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection provides a comprehensive advice booklet online at: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/pdf/applying-student.pdf It is possible to apply for a student visa electronically, as well as manually. Student visas allow multiple entry into the country. The cost of student visas is generally over $500 (AU), but see the DIBP website for exact costs.
Medical Treatment Visa
The medical treatment visa allows a person to visit for treatment once until the treatment is completed, or as many times as the visa permits, or to visit for study for a period of up to three months.
Transit visas are applicable for people transiting through Australia for 72 hours or less. Any period over 72 hours (3 days) will require a different visa, such as a tourist visa. Some non-citizens do no require a visa in transit. Non-citizens who require a Transit visa can apply for one free of charge.
Event Organisers and Participants
People who are coming to attend, speak at, perform in, or compete in an international event, conference of meeting in Australia will need to apply for a Business Visit visa. Participants can go to the DIBP website for comprehensive information on the process.
For organisers of international events, the International Event Coordinator Network (IECN) Service is available to provide free advice on visas. Enquiries can be made on the DIBP website.