Getting a visa is one of those things that can be a laborious process, but luckily for visitors to Australia, the government has made it very simple indeed. Of course, you’ll still probably have loads of questions about how to get an Australian visa though, so we’ve created this Australian visa guide to help you through the whole process…
Who Needs a Visa?
Australia has a strict entry policy, and therefore everyone visiting the country needs to have a visa. The only exception to this rule is for travellers from certain countries, who are simply in transit through Australia for less than 72 hours. The full list of exempt nationalities can be found at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website. Of course, most people on a gap year won’t be looking to skip through Australia this quickly though, so a visa will certainly be required.
If you do not have the correct visa upon arrival in Australia, the chances are you’ll be heavily delayed while the authorities run checks on you. You even run the risk of being refused entry and being returned back to your previous destination. So, make sure everything is in place before you board that plane!
Types of Visas
There are loads of different types of Australian visas, but below we’ve listed the ones that will apply to the vast majority of people on an Australian gap year.
- Tourist Visa
One of the two main visas issues to those visiting Australia, this is for those looking to come to the country for up to 12 months. It is exceedingly important that you do not get this visa if you plan on working though, even if you’re just going to be picking fruit for a few days in the Outback. Many nationalities will be able to get either an Electronic Travel Authority or an eVisitors pass, both of which are much easier to apply for than the standard visitor visa. For information on which one you should get, please click here. It should be noted that the two schemes previously listed only allow entry for 3 months – anything longer and you’ll have to get a standard Australian tourist visa.
- Working Holiday Visa
A working holiday visa does what it says on the tin – it provides a visa for those who wish to undertake any kind of work related activity while in Australia. In order to get this visa, you’ll need to be between the ages of 18-30 (inclusive). It will allow visitors to work for up to 6 months with each employer and lasts for a total of 12 months. It costs AU$270. Holders of the visa are allowed to leave and re-enter the country an unlimited amount of times while it is valid. A second working holiday visa can be issued, providing you apply while still in Australia. Those from the UK will require the subclass 417 visa, while some other nationalities will need the subclass 462 visa. For more information, click here.
- Student Visa
Want to study in Australia? Well, you’ll need a student visa then. Australia offers some world-class higher education, and there’s no better place to live while working hard towards that all-important qualification. Every application will be assessed on its own merits, and applicants from different countries have varying chances of acceptance, based on the perceived immigration risk they pose. For more information about Australian student visas, and the process to go through in order to obtain one, please click here. These cost AU$535, and can last up to four years.
How to Apply
For UK nationals, the visa application process is incredibly simple, as it can all be done online. This means that, unlike some other countries, there are no annoying trips to the embassy to get everything sorted out. In order to apply for any of the visas above, simply visit the Australian Government website. Applications using the Australian Travel Authority or eVisitors scheme are generally free, which is another great piece of news for travellers.
Those from many countries will not be able to apply online though, and this will mean attending the Australian embassy in your country, or completing the application by post. If you are in this category, make sure you leave plenty of time for the process to be completed, as you don’t want to arrive at your departure date without a valid visa.
Visa Refused/Cancelled: What Next?
Not everyone will be accepted for an Australian visa. For example, those with significant criminal histories will find getting into Australia to be tough. If you are refused though, there is a good chance you’ll be able to lodge an appeal with either the Merits Review Tribunal or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. You should contact one of these organisations if you are concerned that you’ve been unfairly treated.