How to Obtain a Tourist Visa to Australia to Visit Friends, Family or Just For Tourism

Ranked as the world’s 13th largest economy, Australia offers visitors a rich culture and diverse geography. Tourism forms a significant part of the country’s economy thus obtaining a tourist visa is not a hassle.

The major requirement for obtaining a tourist visa for the country is that prospective individuals own and hold eligible passport and (in the event that the visit is based on an invitation) that an invitation letter is presented as well.

  1. The easiest way to apply for and obtain a tourist Visa to Australia is to apply through the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which does not require a visit to the diplomatic office, as it might otherwise require.

The ETA is the most commonly used tourist Visa that allows for an up to 3 month stay on arrival, and 12 months from the day the visa was granted – the ETA differs from traditional visas in that there are no labels or stamps in the passport and no applications are required to be filled prior to its collection. It is also only available to passport holders from Australian Government specified countries and regions.

To view countries whose citizens are eligible for the ETA click (here).

 

Subsequent to determining whether or not you are a citizen of 1 of the 33 countries eligible for the ETA, you may proceed with your application for the tourist Visa – choose the application for either short-stay (3 months) or long-stay(12 months) , fill out the necessary information, and the ETA will be automatically linked to your passport. Processing time is usually immediate, following a credit card payment for the Visa.

 

The following are the conditions required for obtaining and retaining the ETA

  • You must not work whilst in Australia. Limited volunteer work may be acceptable;
  • You must not engage in any studies or training for more than three months;
  • If you are at least 11 years of age and you intend to study in a class-room environment for a period greater than 4 weeks, you may be required to pass a chest x-ray examination before commencing your studies;
  • You must be free from tuberculosis at the time of travel to, and entry into, Australia;
  • The holder must depart within the validity of the Visitor Visa (ETA); AND
  • If arriving on an ETA with criminal convictions, you could be refused entry into Australia.
  1. In the event that a prospective tourist either has a criminal record/conviction or is a citizen of a country that is ETA eligible, they may apply for the Australian e600 Visitor Visa.

The e600 Visitor Visa differs from the ETA in that it is not processed as quickly as the ETA is. It is however available to a wider selection of countries and is valid for a longer period than the ETA is.

 

The e600 takes approximately 20 days to be processed from the date that it is applied for. However, additional documentation is required in addition to those required to for an ETA and they include;

 

Medical Requirements:

This would provide evidence that there is a health insurance cover to attend to possible health emergencies spanning the period of your stay in Australia and would also feature a report from a certified doctor stating and proving your fitness for travel to the country.

 

Proof of Funds:

These documents are meant to provide evidence of your access to sufficient funds to cover your expenses while in Australia and include personal bank statements, pay slips, audited accounts or taxation records.

  1. In the event that you are neither eligible for the ETA nor the e600 Visa, then the last resort would be the paper-based 600 Visitor Visa.

The Paper based 600 Visitor Visa differs from the two earlier discussed in that it cannot be applied for online – the process can however be begun using the online 600 Visitor Visa application form, it also takes 20 days from the day of application to be processed and similar documentation to that of the e600 visa is required.

And if all else fails, well – you could always consider asking the ambassador of Australia to your country really nicely; in an elaborate letter that expresses your overwhelming desire to visit the country and you will perhaps find that a trip to Australia is worth any trouble at all.

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