Within the subclass 600, there are different classifications of visitor visa that depend on the purpose of the stay and the nationality of the applicant. The Australia visitor visa can be granted for a stay of either 3, 6, or 12 months for either single or multiple-entry, determined on a case-by-case basis by Australian Immigration officials.
Citizens of the People’s Republic of China who often travel to Australia for business or personal reasons are able to apply for a frequent traveller visitor visa, which allows for consecutive stays of 30 days within a 10-year validity period.
Those eligible will need to meet the Australia visa requirements for the visitor visa before applying. Primarily, this involves having a passport valid for at least 3 months upon entry into Australia, and additional supporting documentation may be required depending on the purpose of the visa.
Visitor visa for tourism
This classification of the visitor visa for Australia is the equivalent of the ETA or eVisitor for citizens not eligible for those visa types, and allows a stay in Australia for a holiday, as part of a cruise, or to visit family or friends.
Unlike the other sub-classifications, it is possible to apply for the Australia visitor visa for tourism from either within Australia or outside the country. A stay of either 3, 6, or 12 months is possible with applications made from outside Australia, while eligible parents of Australian citizens might be granted a longer validity period.
It is only possible for a 12-month Australia visitor visa to be granted if applying from within the country. This is a good option for holidaymakers in Australia with another visa that is about to expire and who want to stay longer.
Visitor visa for families
Travellers who are able to be sponsored by an eligible family member who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident can apply for the sponsored family visitor visa for Australia.
This type of visa is valid for a 12-month stay in Australia to see family members, for a holiday or to enter Australia as part of a cruise. It is also possible to train or study for up to 3 months with the Australia visitor visa for families, but not if this is the main reason for the trip.
It will be necessary to provide a letter of invitation from a family member in Australia as supporting documentation in order to get the Australia visitor visa for families. The traveller’s sponsor may also be asked to pay a security bond as a guarantee. If a family member wants to lend support without becoming a sponsor, the petitioner can apply for a visitor visa for tourism.
Visitor visa for business
The business subtype of the Australia visitor visa allows foreign nationals not eligible for the ETA or eVisitor visa a short stay in Australia for professional reasons but not to work or sell goods. Valid purposes include:
Making general business or work enquiries
Activities as part of an official government visit
Business contract investigations or negotiations
To attend a trade fair, seminar or conference, as long as the applicant has not been paid by the organisers to attend
The Australian visitor visa for business is valid for a maximum stay of 3 months and can be granted as a single or multiple-entry visa. Applicants must be outside of Australia when submitting a request for the business visitor visa for Australia, and must remain abroad until a decision about the visa is made.
If the purpose of coming to Australia is paid work, or to undertake studies or a training course as the main reason for the visit, the Australia visitor visa will not be valid. A different type of Australian visa will be required.
Tourist Visa – Visitor Visa
In this article we will look at some of the key criteria in applying for visitor visas in Australia, especially in relation to the family sponsored stream.
With all visitor visas, the applicant must demonstrate that they are genuinely intending to stay in Australia, that:
They have genuine reason(s) for visiting Australia.
They have access to enough funds to fully support their intended stay in Australia.
They will return home after their visit.
With respect to the Genuine Temporary Stay requirement, case officers also look at the applicant’s previous visa compliance history of them or their relatives in Australia. They will also look at the intention to comply with any visa conditions if the visa is granted as well as all other relevant matters.
There will be a range of matters which the Department will look at and weigh up all the positive and negative factors as a whole. If the applicants or family members who have previously been to Australia have breached visa conditions, overstayed his/her visa, or applied for protection visas etc will have significant impact on the negative outcome. More counterweight evidence would be needed to tip the balance.
In providing statements and supporting documents, the following questions need to be addressed:
What is the purpose of the applicant’s visit? Why she/he must come to Australia, such as important business, social and family functions they have to attend, the tour and places they intend to visit, short training courses she/he intends to take.
Detailed description on how the visa applicants will be able to financially support themselves during their entire period of stay in Australia. This may include bank savings, use of credit cards, business and family support in Australia etc. Relevant evidence should be accompanied with the application.
All the reasons why the applicant must leave Australia and return to their home after their visit. This may include family, such as spouse and children left behind, elderly parents, and close family ties to siblings etc, work – such as the position, length or employment, pay etc, and business commitments by providing evidence of business ownership, financial statements showing profitability etc, and other: the social and economic circumstances of the applicants back home which drives them to return such as significant ownership of assets and financial investments, social and political commitments etc.
Factors which may not be consistent with a genuine visa. For instance can an extremely busy business person spend 6 months in Australia without worrying about their overseas business? If a housewife really comes to Australia to visit her Australian relatives or perform domestic duties. Is it likely that an important and skilled corporate manager can take 3 months of personal leave for holidays in Australia? Can a student come during the middle of their school session? Is a newly wed partner coming to Australia to visit their partner or intends to lodge an onshore partner visa application instead? Offshore General Skilled Visa applicants who seek to enter Australia prior to visa grant may also be viewed as not meeting the genuine temporary stay requirement.
On the other hand, if there are elements of risks of the applicants not returning, such as social, economic and political instability in the home country, previous non-compliance of family members, close family ties in Australia, or if the case officer suspects that the visitor visa is used for purposes other than a genuine visit, such as the applicant has a pending skilled visa or other permanent visa application where they may use a visitor visa to enter and reside in Australia earlier, or intend to lodge other visa applicants once in Australia will significantly negatively impact on the application as well. Then there is a greater burden of proof vested on the applicant to demonstrate that it is a genuine visit and they will return.
If the applicant falls under a particular higher risks group, such as from a particular country and ethnic group, age or sex groups, strong evidence should also be provided to counter the risks.
All applicants should provide details of all positive points as well as explain any negative points of their case in the statement and provide relevant supporting documents for the claims. Applicants and migration lawyers should weigh up all evidence before them and make objective assessment of accuracies and consistencies.
Once a visa is granted, please do ensure that the visa holder reads and understands all visa conditions attached to it, which can include no work condition, maximum of 3 months of study, and no further stay condition where the visa holder cannot apply for most of the visas whilst in Australia. With recent legislative changes, family sponsored visitors will not be able to apply for onshore student visas as well. Long visa and multiple travel visas may also be issued but with a set number of maximum number of months per stay. If the visa holder stays beyond the allowed period then the visa would cease and they become illegal in Australia even though the visa validity is a later date. There could be also restrictions on how long the applicant can stay in total in Australia during a set period such as the new 10 years stream prohibit visa holders staying more than 12 months within any 24 months period.
All applicants are reminded again to provide only genuine information and documents to the Department, and please do go through all questions carefully. Minor mistakes such as failure to disclose a prior visa refusal to Australia may lead to the case officer believing the applicant is not being full and frank, which can likely lead to a negative decision of the case. Failure to provide critical information or providing wrong information may not only impact on the current application but subsequent visa applications to Australia. We’ve seen cases where subsequent permanent visas are being cancelled due to wrong answers provided in the applicant’s first visitor visa to Australia many years before.
We wish all of you seasons greetings, and have a safe and wonderful holiday with your family and friends.
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