Getting a Travel Visa for Australia
If you are planning on traveling to Australia, it important to know that Australia has a stringent set of requirements for entry and exit into the country. There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information circulating because of the recent changes made to the application process in July, 2013; therefore, it is important that you are aware of the updated requirements. One of the main rules you should be aware of is that all travelers, other than citizens of Australian and New Zealand, are required to have a visa and a passport. The type of visa that you apply depends on the reason for your visit.
Some of the most common reasons people want to travel to Australia include
- Family visits.
- Holidays and extended vacations.
- People studying or seeking study, training, or skills development in Australia .
- Business travel for meetings and conferences.
- Employers sponsoring skilled people to work in Australia.
- Those seeking medical treatment.
- People wanting to live and work in Australia for a period of time.
- People moving permanently to Australia or returning from overseas.
Since there are so many types of visas that are available, it can be very confusing to determine which type of visa is required — so much so that visitors sometimes turn to immigration lawyers to assist them with the visa application process.
Applying for a Visa
You can apply for a visa through the Australian Government’s website in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship section. You should know the answers to following questions before starting the application process:
- Why do you want to visit Australia?
- What is the country of nationality on your passport?
- What country do you expect to be in when you make the application?
- How long you intend to say in Australia?
To make it easier to determine which type of visa a traveler is required to have, there is an interactive wizard provided by the Australian Government (http://www.immi.gov.au/visawizard/) that can help you select the right visa to apply for. It is important that you make the correct selection from the onset because application fees are generally not refundable.
Australian Visa Application Fees
There are fees applicable to certain types of visas. If fees are applicable, they are paid in two installments. The first installment payment is due when the application is sent and includes a base application charge. It may include additional charges such as an applicant charge, a non-Internet application charge, and a temporary application charge. The second installment is payable after you have sent in your application and before the visa is granted.
The fees can vary quite a bit, ranging from a $115 (AUS) base charge for a tourist visa to a $420 (AUD) base charge for work and holiday visas. Fortunately, the Australian Government’s website (http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/Pricing-Estimator.aspx) provides a visa pricing estimator so that you can find out what the exact fees are in advance before beginning the application process.
Whether immigration lawyers are used to help you complete the application process or if you decide to take on the task yourself, it may be best to ensure that you start the process well in advance of your anticipated travel date. You want to be sure that you visa application is approved before finalizing travel arrangements.