The Australian government is glad to share the beauty of the country to foreigners by allowing them to enter Australia with a visitor or tourist visa. However, the term “visitor” has different classifications that may be confusing to non-experts. People interested in going to Australia for a short-term period need to know how to obtain an Australian visitor visa.
The Australia visa for tourists, also called subclass 600, is intended for those who want to enter Australia to visit family and friends, to do tourist-related activities, and engage in casual business transactions. This visa allows holders to enter and re-enter Australia for a specific period until the visa expires. Applicants can be categorised into four streams:
Tourist – This is for holiday or recreation purpose. The applicant must choose to be either inside or outside Australia during application, and he or she must remain to be in the chosen location until visa grant.
Business visitor – This is for short-term business visits. The applicant must be outside Australia during application and visa grant. People who are eligible for this visa are those engaging in short stay business activities, doing highly specialised work for an organisation, attending an event, or participating in entertainment-related functions.
Sponsored family – This is for visiting families in Australia. The applicant must have a sponsor who might be required to provide a bond. The applicant must be outside Australia from lodgement until the Australia visa is decided.
Approved destination status – This is for Chinese citizens travelling to Australia in an organised tour group. The applicant must be outside Australia during lodgement and must be represented by an agent registered under this scheme.
Applicants for subclass 600 can lodge their visas online if they hold a passport from eligible countries; otherwise, they can file their visa by post or courier at the nearest Immigration Office outside Australia in their country of origin.
Each visitor visa stream comes with a document checklist that includes all the specific requirements the applicant needs to secure. It is advisable to complete all requirements before lodging the Australia visa in order to prevent delays.
Applicants need to provide health and character requirements aside from proof of sufficient funds to cover the trip and an “incentive to return.” The last requirement is especially imposed on visa applicants coming from countries with high rate of non-compliance, as reflected in the Modified Non-Return Rate matrix. In which case, the applicant in such condition is obliged to fulfill additional requirements that will show his or her intention to return when the visa expires.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship supports the hiring of an agent from National Visas in order to speed up visitor Australia visa applications. A National Visas agent will be able to answer your questions, especially in terms of including family members in the application or in determining the type of stream applicable to one’s situation. With National Visas, a professional migration agent will ensure that an Australian visa application will meet requirements for the best chance of success.