Applying for an Australian visitor/ tourist visa

Anyone going on holiday to Australia needs a tourist visa. Knowing which type of tourist visa to apply for depends on the length of your stay, your passport and the purpose of your visit. 

Do I need a visa to enter Australia?

Unless you are an Australian citizen, you will need a valid Australian visa to enter the country. New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country. All other passport holders, regardless of age, must apply for a visa before leaving home. You can apply for a range of Australian visa types, including tourist visas and working holiday visas, at your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate. You can also apply for certain types of visas on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.

Visitor visa (subclass 600)

The Visitor visa (subclass 600) is for vacationers who want to travel to Australia for a span of one year or less than that. With this visa, you can visit your family members or friends, be here as a tourist, for a cruise or for any purpose except business or medical treatment. It also allows you to study any course which can be completed during a three-month interval. This visa is a temporary one and is applicable for a required time period only. If you carry any other visa which might run out then you can definitely apply for this one to increase your duration.

eVisitor visa (subclass 651)

The Australian eVisitor visa (subclass 651) can be obtained only through an online application process. It was designed to be quicker and easier to complete than traditional paper visas so that most travellers only take a few minutes to submit their request. Similar to the ESTA system in the United States, the eVisitor eliminates the need to physically go to an embassy or consulate to present a paper application.

The difference between evisitor 651 and visitor visa 600 lies in the fact that with evisitor 651, a person can reside in the country for 3 months each time he/she enters, within a duration of 1 year. And with subclass visa 600, the person can reside in the country for a longer period such as 6 months or 12 months. So, with this type of visa, you can visit Australia as many times as you wish within a year as long as each trip is shorter than three months. It allows you to be here as a tourist or for a cruise, visit family or friends, and be in Australia as a business visitor. As a business visitor, you can: make general business or employment enquiries; investigate, negotiate, enter into or review a business contract; conduct activities as part of an official government visit; take part in a conference, trade fair or seminar (The organisers can't pay you to take part). As a visitor visa, you can't work for or provide services to a business or organisation based in Australia, and sell goods or services directly to the public. 

ETAs are not designed to allow repeated extended stays in Australia for other purposes. Persons wishing to spend longer periods in Australia may wish to consider applying for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) or an alternative visa. ETA holders spending long periods in Australia amounting to de facto residence risk having their visa cancelled and being refused entry to Australia.

This visa, subclass 651 is intended for citizens of countries in the European Union. Citizens from the following European countries are eligible to get the eVisitor visa for Australia: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom – British Citizen, Vatican City. Citizens from non-European countries can apply either for ETA (Subclass 601) or Visitor (Subclass 600) visa.

Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)

The Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601) is an electronic travel visa that is linked to an applicant's passport and designed only for tourism and business visitor purposes. ETAs are similar to eVisitor visa. Both allow you to visit Australia for up to three months. The only differences between an eVisitor and an ETA Australia are the nationalities accepted, the different application procedures and the differences in application fees.

The following countries are eligible to apply for the ETA visa for Australia online: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR of China), Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (excluding official or diplomatic passports), The Netherlands, United Kingdom—British Citizen, United Kingdom—British National (Overseas), United States of America, Vatican City.

How to apply for an Australia visitor/ tourist visa

You can apply for a range of Australian visa types, including Visitor visa (subclass 600), via an individual online account at the official website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs (ImmiAccount). You can open the account free of charge – all you have to do is put in your personal information, set up a password, and confirm your account via email. Be sure to submit your application well in advance of your travel date to allow enough time for processing. You will be notified in writing if your tourist visa is approved and it will be digitally linked to your passport.

To apply for the Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601), you need using the Australian ETA ap. You can download the Australian ETA app for free from the Apple Store (IOS) or Google Play store (Android). A step-by-step guide on how to apply is located here.

When is the best time to visit Australia?

Winters in Australia (June-August) are cool and cloudy, but there’s still plenty of sunshine to enjoy as well. If you don’t like the cold, winter is the ideal time to visit the north, including Darwin, the Top End and the Kimberley. This period is peak season in Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region, with an abundance of sunshine and moderate temperatures to enjoy.

Spring and autumn (March-May and September-November) are among the best times to travel the entire country. It's particularly vibrant in Victoria's High Country, the Grampians and in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania. It’s also a great time to take advantage of the cooler daytime temperatures in the outback and the last few months (September and October) of the Northern Territory’s dry season.

Summer (December-February) is the most expensive time to travel in Australia. It brings sunny, warm days that are best spent at one of the country’s gorgeous beaches. The tropical north is in the midst of its wet season (November to April), which brings heavy rains and tropical storms to Darwin, Broome, Cairns and the Whitsundays. Head to the southern parts of the country to find the best weather.

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