The visa application process for Australia can be difficult to navigate through. In addition to several types of visas, there are also different application options available depending on your situation and nationality.
How to Apply for an Australia Visa?
You can apply for an Australian visa in two different ways:
- Online application.
- Paper application.
Since 2015 Australia stopped issuing visa labels for passports, so now all visa records are available in the VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online) service. Nowadays, the online application is more feasible for storing all of your data and the reviewing process is easier.
However, some countries (or visa types) may not be eligible for the online application and in those cases, a paper application through an embassy has to be submitted.
For each type of application, there are specific guidelines you have to follow when you want to apply for a visa.
Australia Visa Online Application Steps
Here are the steps that you need to take to apply online for an Australia visa:
- Create an online account.
- Select the visa type.
- Fill in the Australian visa form.
- Attach the required documents.
- Pay the application fee.
- Submit the application.
Create an Online Account
The first thing you need to do if you want to apply for an Australian visa is open an individual online account at the official website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs (ImmiAccount). You can open the account free of charge – all you have to do is put in your personal information, set up a password, and confirm your account via email.
The online service helps you manage your application, attach your documents and follow the reviewing process for your visa.
There is also an option to open an organisational account if the applicant is:
- A migration agent (registered).
- From an organisation.
- From a sponsoring company.
Select the Visa Type
There are several Australian visa types you can choose from. These will mostly vary on the reason for your visit, you can apply for a tourist visa, a student visa, a work visa, etc.
Fill in the Australian Visa Form
For each type of visa, there is a different application form. Once you select the visa type you can continue with filling in the form. In the form you have to put down your personal information (name, birthdate, marriage status, etc.), the reason why you want to go to Australia, how long you plan on staying, and so on.
If you are applying with family members/friends every individual needs to have their own separate application form.
Attach the Required Documents
For the online application, this is how you attach documents:
- Select the option “attach a document”
- Select who you are attaching the document for.
- Select the reason why you are attaching this document.
- Select the type of document.
- Name the file.
- Select attach.
There is a separate section for attaching pictures, all you have to do is initially select the option “attach a passport photo” when you want to upload photos.
The required documents for an Australian visa are different according to your visa type, but, the general requirements include passport, identity pictures, travel insurance, financial statements, etc. Make sure your documents are scanned coloured copies.
Pay the Application Fee
The visa fees for Australia change depending on the visa. However, you have to pay the application fee before you submit your application, otherwise, your application won’t be processed.
The online application allows you to pay the fee through various means. You can pay either with a credit card, debit card, or Paypal.
Submit the Application
Once you complete these steps you can go ahead and submit your application. The ImmiAccount allows you to go back and contact the Australian authorities if something has changed. For example, if your address has changed you can let the Department of Foreign Affairs know through the account.
You can track the visa application process through the account, and while the processing time varies, as each application is different, if there are no issues you may receive a visa as soon as within a few days’ time.
Australia Visa Paper Application Steps
Here are the steps you need to take for an Australia visa paper application:
- Find the nearest Australian embassy/consulate.
- Set up a meeting at an Australian office.
- Verify the required documents.
- Fill in the application form.
- Pay the application fee.
- Submit the visa application.
You can submit a paper application in cases when the online application can’t happen.
Find the Nearest Australian Embassy
Before you begin your application process, find the nearest Australian embassy in your country or consular point. Paper applications have to be submitted to a representative office of the Australian government. Sometimes the nearest office may not be in your country at all, and for this reason, it’s important to identify the embassy/consulate first. In addition to this, some paper applications can be sent by post or courier fax, you still have to consult with a local embassy to see if these options are available for you.
The Australian office nearest to you will help you identify what type of visa is most suited for you and which documents you have to submit when you apply.
Set Up an appointment At an Australian Office
Once you find where the nearest embassy is located then you can either email them or go in person to set up an appointment. Most of the time a prior appointment has to be recorded for when you can go and lodge your application.
As soon as your appointment has been confirmed you can start getting ready to apply for an Australia visa.
Verify the Required Documents
Verifying your documents has to be on top of your list of things to do. For your paper application, there is a list of required documents (passport, family certificates, insurance, visa application form, etc.) you must put together so you can attach them to your application form. These documents have to be verified copies of the originals.
You can verify your documents through someone who is:
- An Australian citizen.
- A citizen from your country of residence.
- An individual that is not related to you (by birth, marriage, or romantic relationship).
- An individual that works a profession accepted by the Australian authorities.
The person who verifies your documents must declare on one-page documents that they recognize these copies of your original documents. On documents with more than one page, the declaration should be written on the first page and initials on every page.
Fill in the Application Form
Next, make sure you fill in the correct Australian visa application form and signed it. You will find instructions on how to fill it written in the form. Once you complete the application put it with the rest of the documents and submit all of them together.
Pay the Application Fee
You can use an ImmiAccount to pay the fee. There are cases where you can pay the fee the day you go to submit the application. However, since the payment has to be finished first it’s always best to check in with the Australian visa application centre in your country.
Submit Your Visa Application
As soon as your payment has been verified all that’s left is to submit your application at the local embassy. The processing time for your visa application is different for every applicant, but keep in mind that paper applications take longer to get processed than online applications.
When Should I Apply for an Australia Visa?
The Department of Home Affairs recommends that applicants should apply for a visa as early as four months prior to their departure date. Nevertheless, the visa processing times vary on several factors, and it may take even less time to process your visa. Still, it’s always best to apply as early as possible.
Can Someone Else Apply on My Behalf for an Australia Visa?
You can authorise anyone else to help you with your application. However, this person is authorised only to receive all of the communications pertaining to your visa, you still have to fill in the form and sign it yourself.
You can appoint an authorised recipient through your ImmiAccount or you can fill in form 956A for appointing or removing an authorised recipient, which you can find here.
How Do I Withdraw an Australia Visa Application?
If your visa hasn’t been approved yet and you want to withdraw your application you have to fill in this form.
If you applied online then simply attach the form to your application. If you applied on paper then email the form to the relevant authorities in your country where you submitted your visa application initially.
If your visa has already been processed you can’t withdraw your application anymore, you can only apply for a new visa.
How Do I Know If I Received a Visa for Australia?
The Australian authorities will notify you in writing (email or post) whether you’ve received a visa. If you apply online, you can check the status of your visa application, when it says “finalised” then you know your application has finished being processed and you will receive an answer soon.
For paper applications, you will also receive the answer either by email or post. If by any chance the Australian Immigration office can’t reach you, then they will notify a near embassy/consulate.
What If My Australia Visa Application is Rejected?
In case your visa application is denied then you have 28 days to argue why your visa rejection should be revoked. The time limit for refusal will depend on what type of visa you applied for, you should find all the information on how to appeal in your rejection letter. Depending on the circumstances on why your visa was denied, you may be barred from receiving another visa for Australia.
Should I Buy my Plane Ticket Before Submitting an Application?
No, you shouldn’t purchase your flight ticket or make any other financial obligations before your visa is processed. The Australian Immigration Office is not responsible for any purchases you may have made in case your visa is rejected or is issued later than expected. However, you can offer dummy plane tickets if requested as proof of round-trip reservations.