Anyone who is not an Australian citizen needs a valid visa to enter and spend time in Australia.
Before travelling to Australia
With the exception of New Zealand citizens travelling on New Zealand passports, all foreign nationals must obtain a visa before travelling to Australia. (New Zealand citizens are issued with a visa on arrival in Australia.)
Visas are available from Australian visa offices such as Australian Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates. They are also available from travel agents and airlines in certain countries.
Please note that:
- airlines may refuse to allow travellers without valid visas and passports to board their aircraft;
- it is recommended that intending visitors first obtain a visa before purchasing airline tickets, Olympic and Paralympic tickets, or entering into any other financial commitments dependent upon entry to Australia;
- visitors are subject to visa requirements while in Australia; and
- tourists are not allowed to work during their visit to Australia. People who want to work need to apply to an Australian visa office for a temporary residence visa. Penalties apply for people who breach work conditions.
Types of visas
The type of visa you will need depends on how long you wish to stay in Australia and what you want to do during your stay.
For example, you may want to make a visit as a tourist, or business person, or you may
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) - an ETA is an electronically stored authority to travel to Australia for a short stay.
ETAs are generally available to passport holders from 31 countries in Europe, Asia and North America, through participating airlines and travel agents. The Australian Government does not charge external service providers to offer this service to travellers.
ETAs are available for tourism and business purposes. Tourist ETAs are free of any Government charge, but credit card payments are required for long validity business entry ETAs.
For more information, see the ETA website.
Tourist visas are normally valid for 12 months, during which time you may make as many visits as you like for up to 3 months stay at a time.
It is possible to obtain tourist visas which allow you to stay for more than 3 months at a time, or which are valid for travel longer than 12 months.
Note that a fee is charged for tourist visas.
Business visas are for people wishing to undertake business in Australia for short periods. The length of stay in Australia, number of journeys permitted and period of validity of the visa should be discussed with an Australian visa office.
In some circumstances, the visa can be valid for at least five years (or the life of the passport - whichever is the longer) and allow any number of business visits of up to 3 months each during the five years. There is a fee for all business visas.
For more information, see the Immigration web pages for Business People.
Temporary residence visas are for those who intend to come to Australia temporarily to undertake specific activities. People involved in a range of activities such as employment, study, amateur and professional sporting, entertainment or cultural activities can use this type of visa.
Those seeking temporary residence may need to be sponsored by an Australian organisation or prospective employer in Australia.
If you are making a number of visits to Australia, apply for a long-term validity multiple entry visa.
There are temporary residence visas available to cover the following:
- sport - for high calibre amateur or professional sport people taking part in acceptable competitions or training programs;
- media and film staff - for correspondents and other professional media staff posted to Australia by overseas news organisations, and photographers and film and television teams making documentaries or commercials for overseas markets;
- entertainment/cultural - for people in a wide range of entertainment and cultural events/activities. The need to protect the employment of Australians in the industry is taken into account before the visa is granted;
- study - for people who want to undertake registered courses on a full-time basis;
- working holiday - for young people from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, Malta and the Republic of Korea who want to travel in Australia and have the opportunity to work to supplement their funds. (Australia has reciprocal agreements for young Australians to take working holidays in these countries.);
- employment - for employers to recruit key personnel and overcome temporary skilled labour shortages.
For more information, see the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs web pages for Temporary Residence and Students
For information on visa fees, please visit the Australian Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs website.
Don’t overstay your visa! If your visa is about to expire, you should leave Australia or seek advice from a Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs office. Serious penalties apply for people who have an expired visa.