There are countless reasons to visit Australia – the multitude of vibrant natural wonders and wildlife, white sand beaches, perfect weather, beautiful cities, and friendly locals, just to name a few.
Who Needs a Tourist Visa to go to Australia?
Everyone, except passport holders of the countries listed below, has to apply for an Australian tourist visa:
- New Zealand
- European Union countries
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong (SAR PRC)
- South Korea
- United States
If you have a passport from one of the countries listed above, you can apply for an eVisitor or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). These two travel authorizations are obtained quicker than the Visitor Stream visa.
If you are from New Zealand, you can travel without a visa and obtain one on arrival.
Required Documents for an Australian Tourist Visa
The documents you must attach to your Australian tourist visa application include:
- Your passport.
- A copy of your passport’s identity page.
- The Visitor Visa Subclass 600 Form. You can download the form here.
- A recent picture of yourself. It must have a white background and you must be clearly and fully visible.
- Proof you can sustain yourself financially while you are in Australia. You must include your bank statements or a letter from your sponsor claiming they will help cover your finances during your visit.
- Proof you have travel health insurance.
- Letter from your employer (if applicable). It must state the requested time of leave and when you intend to return.
- Letter from your school (if applicable). The letter must prove your enrollment and when you are expected to return.
- Letter of Invitation (if applicable). If you have a family member or a friend in Australia who can sponsor you, they must write you a letter of invitation. The letter must include the relation between the two of you, the duration of your stay, whether you will stay with them, and what you intend to do during your visit.
- If you have a sponsor in Australia: your sponsor has to pay a security bond, which will be returned to them after you leave Australia.
- If travelling to get medical treatment: a letter from your doctor and hospital in Australia stating the details of your condition and the type of treatment you will receive.
- Completed Form 1257 and Form 1229, if the applicant is underage and will be in Australia with someone other than their parent/guardian or is travelling alone.
- Proof of accommodation in Australia, such as hotel reservations or rental contracts.
- Proof of booked flight tickets and a complete travel itinerary.
- Evidence that you will return to your home country before the visa expires.
All the documents for an Australian visa must be certified copies.
The documents must be in English. If they are not, you must have them translated by a professional translator.
How to Apply for a Tourist Visa for Australia?
You can apply for an Australian tourist visa in one of two ways:
- Online. To apply online, you have to create an ImmiAccount, which is the official portal handling Australian visa applications.
- On paper. To apply on paper, you have to submit your documents to the nearest Australian Embassy.
Applying for the Australian Tourist Visa Online
To submit an online application for the Australian tourist visa, you have to:
- Create an ImmiAccount. The ImmiAccount is the official portal of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. It handles all visa applications. You will have to fill in your personal information and then confirm the account via your email.
- Select the Tourist Stream Visa, Subclass 600. Once you create an account and log in, you have to select the type of visa you want to apply for, which in this case is the tourist visa.
- Complete the online application form. Then, you will be redirected to the online application form for your visa. You have to answer questions such as the reason for your trip, the duration of the trip, your name and birthday, your marital status, and other personal details.
- Attach all the required documents. You will have to attach electronic copies of the required documents, such as your passport, travel insurance, proof of finances, etc.
- Pay the visa application fee. Once you upload the documents, you have to pay the visa fee either through a debit/credit card or via PayPal.
- Wait for the visa to be processed. The Immigration authorities will notify you about the outcome of your visa application.
- Get the visa. If your application is successful, you will receive your visa grant number along with information about the duration of your visa. You can print the visa notice and take with you when you travel.
Most people choose to submit their visa application online as it is the most convenient method.
Once you get to Australia, you have to complete an Incoming Passenger Card at the border.
Apply at an Embassy (On Paper)
If for any reason, you cannot apply for your tourist visa online, you can also submit a paper application to the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate. The process is as follows:
- Find the nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate.
- Set up an appointment. The Embassy or Consulate may only see you with an appointment, so make sure you contact them beforehand.
- Complete the Visitor Visa Application Form. You have to answer questions about your personal information, purpose and duration of the visit, employment status, health details, whether you have ever been convinced of a crime, etc.
- Collect the required documents. The documents are listed on the application form.
- Pay the visa application fee. The Embassy/Consulate will notify you of how to pay the fee.
- Submit the application. On the date of your appointment, submit the visa application along with all the required documents.
- Wait for the visa to be processed. The Embassy will notify you via email or phone about the outcome of your application.
- Get the visa. You will get a visa grant number, which will allow you to travel to Australia. You do not need to get a stamp on your passport, but you can print out the visa grant notice to carry with you when you travel.
Will I Get a Tourist Visa Stamp?
No, you will most likely not get a stamp on your passport. Your visa information will be saved on an online database, which the immigration control can access using your passport or ImmiCard.
When you receive the visa and travel to Australia, you should print and keep a copy of the visa grant notice since it has all the information to access your Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. You can access VEVO using your ImmiCard or the visa grant number which you receive on your confirmation email.
VEVO is the system that you can use to see the conditions and duration of your visa.
Applying for a Tourist Visa from Inside Australia
If you are in Australia on a substantive visa*, then you can apply for a tourist visa from inside the country as well. The application methods are similar to if you were applying from abroad:
- Apply online. You have to submit your application using your ImmiAccount.
- On paper. You have to print and complete the visa application form, collect the required documents, go submit them to an Australian Immigration Office.
*A substantive visa is any short-term visa that allows you to remain in Australia temporarily, except a bridging visa or a criminal justice or enforcement visa.
How Long Does the Application Process Take?
It usually takes a few weeks for the Australian immigration authorities to process your application for a Tourist Visa. However, provided that all your documents and requirements are in order, it could also only be a few days.
On the other hand, there have been cases where an application took months to process. It will depend on the circumstances of your application, your nationality, whether all your documents are in order, etc.
Australia Tourist Visa Application Fee
The fee for an Australian tourist visa is AUD 145 if you apply from abroad and AUD 370 if you apply from Australia.
How Long Can I Stay in Australia With a Tourist Visa?
A Tourist Visa for Australia is issued on a case-to-case basis, for three, six, or twelve months. It can be with a single or multiple entries. The validity of your visa depends strictly on the Immigration authorities who are handling your application.
Can I Extend a Tourist Visa in Australia?
In most cases, you will not be able to extend your current visa, but you have to apply for another one. Make sure to apply at least two weeks before your current visa expires.
However, if your visa has a “No Further Stay” condition, then you cannot apply for any other temporary or permanent visas at all. Exclusions to the “No Further Stay” condition apply if you are in a situation that you have no control over or there has been a major change in your circumstances.
What Can I Do With a Tourist Visa in Australia?
If you receive a tourist visa, you can visit the country as a tourist for the duration that the visa has been granted. During this period, you can take a short study course of up to three months but you are not allowed to take up gainful employment, under any circumstances.
Australian Tourist Visa for Chinese Citizens
Citizens of the People’s Republic of China are eligible to apply for two additional subtypes of the Australia tourist visa:
- Frequent Traveler Stream.
- Approved Destination Status Stream.
Australia Frequent Traveler Visa
This visa is issued to Chinese citizens who travel to Australia frequently, either for personal or business purposes. It costs AUD 1,065 and is valid for 10 years, during which time you can:
- Enter Australia as many times as you wish, but you cannot stay longer than three months per trip.
- Be in Australia as a tourist or for a cruise.
- Visit family or friends.
- Conduct business.
Remember that within each 24-month period, you cannot stay longer than 12 months in total.
Australia Approved Destination Status Visa
This type of visa is issued to Chinese citizens who are traveling to Australia as part of a tour. With an Approved Destination Visa, you must:
- Enter and leave Australia with your tour group.
- Only take part in activities that are part of your tour itinerary.
The visa costs AUD 145 and can either be issued as single-entry or multiple-entry.