Emigrating To/Visiting Australia: A Brief Guide To Visas

A 24 hour flight across the world is one of the most sought after destinations for ex-pats keen to start a new life.

Melbourne, Australia

Australia’s year round sunshine, incredible wildlife and epic scenery is beyond comparison, and as such, it attracts millions of Britons and Canadians each year.

However, British and Canadian Nationals are required to obtain a visa before they fly to Australia, even if just for a holiday…and if you want to move temporarily or permanently down under, you’ll face a further set of rules to navigate.

Visitor Visa

All Brits and Canadians travelling to Australia need to obtain a visa prior to arrival, and there are two different types of electronic visa to choose from; the eVisitor visa and the Electronic Travel Authority visa.

Both visas, if granted, are valid for 12 months, but require the applicant to leave Australia every 3 months.

If you apply through the Department of Immigration & Border Protection directly, there is no service fee for an eVisitor visa (subclass 651).

Alternatively, you can use a travel agent or airline to get an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which costs approximately £11/$18.

However, be aware that processing times for each visa can vary. Some applicants receive their visitor visa within a few minutes, while others receive theirs after a few days. Each applicant is assessed on whether they have traveled to Australia before, how long they resided there, and whether they intend to stay for an extended period of time.

Upon arrival, you should be prepared to show evidence of funds to support your stay.

And the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) add: “In certain circumstances you may be asked to undergo a health examination before a visa can be granted, for example if you are aged 75 years or older.

Transit Visa

If you are transiting through Australia on the way to a different destination, like Bali or New Zealand, then you must not forget to obtain a transit visa before you land in Australia.

Working Holiday Visa

A classic ‘gap-year’ activity for many students (post-school or University) is to head to Australia and spend the year on a ‘working holiday.’

This provides applicants the opportunity to work and reside in Australia for up to 12 months, providing the applicant is under 31 years of age and intends to work periodically to fund tourism activities.

Sydney, Australia

Many try to obtain their second working holiday visa too, which is usually achieved by working on farmlands or construction related jobs in specific postcodes for 3 months (within the time frame of their first working holiday visa). However, the FCO warn that there are pitfalls to be aware of involving scam advertisers.

They say: “Some British nationals have falsely claimed to have worked on farms using information bought from scam advertisers. As a result, they have had their visas cancelled and been excluded from returning to Australia for 3 years.

Whichever visa you choose to get, you must ensure that your passport is valid for the extent of your stay. However no additional period beyond this is needed.

If you have an ePassport when you arrive in Australia, you’ll also be required to use the SmartGate’s at passport control.

Remember that if you are travelling with children, they will also need to have a valid passport.

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