How do visitor visas work?

How do visitor visas work?

If you’re looking to visit friends and family in Australia, or to see the sights and go on a relaxing holiday, a visitor visa may be the perfect option for you. This visa will allow you to remain in Australia while you travel and enjoy your stay. While Covid-19 has significantly impacted foreign arrivals in Australia, visitor visas are still being issued, and are usually the only way to visit Australia.

What is a visitor visa?

A visitor visa allows you to visit Australia for tourist, family, or business visitor purposes for three, six, or twelve months. It’s important to note that you cannot work on this visa, but you can study for up to three months.

Visitor visas come in several different streams, with the most popular being the tourist, sponsored family, and business visitor streams. You can apply for a visitor visa inside or outside of Australia. Most visitor visas are processed in under one month, making them an ideal choice for a short stay.

Instead of a standard visitor visa, applicants from certain countries may be able to apply for an eVisitor (651), or an Electronic Travel Authority (601) visa. These visas let you visit Australia for up to three months at a time. You must be outside Australia to apply.

What are the requirements for a visitor visa?

The requirements for a visitor visa differ according to the stream you are applying for.

Tourist Stream

When you are applying for a visitor visa in the tourist stream (sometimes called a tourist visa), you must:

  • Intend to do the activities in the tourist stream (such as holiday activities)
  • Show that you are travelling to Australia as a genuine visitor
  • Have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Australia
  • Meet health and character requirements

In addition, if you are visiting your family, the Department may require you to have a sponsor (aka the sponsored family stream), or pay a security bond when you apply.

Sponsored Family Stream

When you are applying for a visitor visa in the sponsored family stream, you must:

  • Intend to do the activities in the sponsored family stream (that is, visit your family)
  • Be sponsored by an eligible relative who is an Australian citizen or PR that has been settled in Australia for a reasonable period (usually more than two years)
  • Show that you are travelling to Australia as a genuine visitor
  • Have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Australia
  • Meet health and character requirements

In addition, your sponsor may also have to pay a security bond.

Business Visitor

The business visitor stream is for people travelling to Australia for a short business visit – such as to make business enquiries, negotiations, or participate in a conference.

When you are applying for a visitor visa in the business visitor stream, you must:

  • Intend to do the activities in the business visitor stream
  • Have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Australia
  • Meet health and character requirements
  • Be outside Australia when you apply for the visa, and when it is granted

The business activities you can conduct on a visitor visa in the business visitor stream are limited to the following:

  • making general business or employment enquiries
  • investigating, negotiating, signing or reviewing a business contract
  • participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars, as long as you are not being paid by the organizers for your participation.
  • activities carried out as part of an official government-to-government visit

You are not allowed to work, provide goods or services, or sell goods or services directly to the public on this visa.

Can I include my family in my visitor visa?

No, you cannot include your family in your visitor visa. Family members who want to travel to Australia with you must lodge separate applications.

How long can I stay on a tourist visa? What if I would like to stay longer?

The length of time you can stay on a tourist visa is determined by the Department after they have assessed your application.

When your visitor visa is coming to an end, you may be able to apply for a new visitor visa from within Australia. You will not be able to do this if your visa has a “no further stay” condition. In this case, you cannot apply for a new visa while you are in Australia except in very limited circumstances. You must leave Australia no later than the date on which your visa ends.

Looking for an Immigration Lawyer in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane? We can help. Contact us today to find out how we can make your visitor visa application easy and stress free.

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PocketLegal is a migration law firm available to handle all aspects of the Australian immigration process from beginning to end. If you need assistance with visa applications, sponsoring staff members, AAT Appeals, FCC hearings, or any other migration related issue contact our friendly team via the form on this page or by calling 1300 921 114.

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