FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) Travel Advice for Australia
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Your Australian Holiday Visa: Electronic Travel Authority: (ETA)
If you are planning a holiday visit or a short business trip to Australia, you will need to apply for either a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia. An ETA is issued by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) online in real time through the web. You can apply DIRECT here by using the Internet, or through travel agents, airlines and specialist service providers around the world.
Internet ETA’s (Apply Online) are currently available for:
Tourists and Short Stay Business travellers, multiple visits with a maximum stay of three months per visit.
In both cases the visa has a 12 month validity from date of the grant of the ETA or to the expiry date of your passport, whichever is the earlier. You may enter Australia as often as you like up until the last day of the validity of the ETA and may then stay in Australia for up to three months. Employment is prohibited.
Full Conditions HERE:
Short Term Tourist Visa 3 Months
The most common form of Electronic Visa (ETA) for short term tourist visitor stays of up to 3 Months is the ETA Visitors Visa Subclass 976
Tourist Visa for stays of OVER 3 Months (For stays of 3 months and up to 12 Months)
For tourist visitors looking to stay over 3 months a Tourist Visa (Visitors Visa Subclass 676) can be obtained. Strict conditions apply. This visa is available to all passport holders who are outside Australia and want to apply for a visa to visit Australia or are already in Australia and want to extend your stay as a visitor.
If granted, this visa will allow you either a single or multiple entry to Australia for a period of up to three, six or 12 months. The period of stay and number of entries granted will depend on the purpose of the visit and your personal circumstances.
This visa is designed only to allow temporary travel to Australia for tourism purposes or to visit family and friends. It cannot be used for long-term stays or residence. To be eligible for a further Tourist visa in the future, you must maintain extended periods of time outside of Australia. More Information HERE:
Sponsored Family Visitor Visa (For stays of 3 months and up to 12 Months)
The Tourist (Visitors Visa Subclass 679) allows people to travel to Australia to take a holiday or visit their family. The applicant must have an eligible relative in Australia or an Australian Government official willing to sponsor them. This visa is usually used if you want to visit your family in Australia or to holiday in Australia for reasons other than business or medical treatment. You must be outside Australia when you apply for this visa. You can visit Australia once, usually to stay for a period of up to three (3) months or six (6) months, but in certain circumstances a stay of 12 months may be granted. While in Australia you can: visit family and/or friends, engage in tourist activities, or study for up to three (3) months. You are NOT allowed to work. Visa must be lodged in Australia by the sponsor. Cost $A120.00 per person. More Information HERE:
Short Validity Business ETA (Business Entrant) (Subclass 956 and 977)
(For visits to Australia for business meetings, conventions and conferences) - Work is not allowed; except for a very short period to undertake work not able to be done by any Australian citizen or permanent resident. Valid for multiple visits within 12 months from date of issue. Maximum length of each visit is three months.
More information HERE:
Entertainment Visa (Subclass 420)
Short Validity Business ETA is NOT for acting, musical performances or commercial film making; in these cases you must apply for an Entertainment visa
Temporary Business (Long Stay) - Standard Business Sponsorship (Visa Subclass 457)
This is the most commonly used program for employers to sponsor overseas workers to work in Australia on a temporary of between 1 day and 4 years. This visa is for employers who want to employ overseas workers to fill nominated skilled positions in Australia. Employers can be either Australian businesses or overseas businesses. Applicants can bring any eligible secondary applicants with them to Australia. These secondary applicants can also work and study after entering Australia, and have no limit on the number of times they travel in and out of Australia. A non-refundable application charge applies. . More Information HERE:
Travelling with Family
ALL family members must have a visa or ETA to travel to Australia. The Internet ETA system can be used to apply for an Internet ETA for members of your family travelling with you provided they also fall within the ETA eligibility criteria. Even if your children travel on your passport they will need ETAs. When you apply, you will need to enter the passport details exactly as for your own passport, replacing the name, date of birth, sex and country of birth with your children's details as they appear in your passport.
Internet ETA Documentation
To apply online for an Internet ETA you will need: A current, valid passport for each traveller, and a valid credit card (cost is $20 Australian Dollars) to pay for the $A20.00 ETA Service Charge. Payment of the charge does not guarantee that the application will be successful. Your application will be processed while you are on-line, and you will be informed of the result of your application before leaving the Internet ETA system. If your ETA cannot be issued immediately ONLINE please check back 12 hours after you apply to confirm whether your application has been successful. Please apply for your ETA as early as possible prior to travel to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed. The A$20.00 Service Charge is applied to recover the cost of running this service. The charge is non-refundable.
As part of the application/approval process, you will be issued with a reference number. This number applies only to ETAs issued through the online ETA system. If you have been issued an ETA through an Australian *DIAC office (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) or by a travel agent or an airline office, you will not be able to use the public online ETA web site to check your ETA.
Where you want to check your ETA issued using the public ETA web site, you will need the reference number. You will be given the option to print out the confirmation screen with the reference number when you apply for your ETA ONLINE. Note that this print out has no official status and will not be accepted by either airline staff or border protection authorities in Australia.
Visitor ETA conditions
Valid for visits to Australia for tourism or to visit friends or relatives
Valid for multiple visits within 12 months from date of issue
Maximum length of each visit is three months
You must not work while in Australia
Important: You may not be permitted to enter Australia unless you are in good health & have no criminal convictions.
Important! ETA’s cannot be granted, or extended, in Australia.
Working Holidays (Gap Year Visits)
British backpackers (18 years to UNDER 31 years of age) can visit Australia for a 1 year stay. UK Working Holiday Visa Information is HERE:
You can also extend your stay for up another year. People who have worked in a specified industry in regional Australia for a minimum of three months (88 days) while on their first Working Holiday visa, may be eligible to apply for a second Working Holiday visa. You can also do this whilst in Australia.
Working Holiday Extensions.
To be eligible for a working holiday extension you must have completed three months of specified work in regional Australia while on your first Working Holiday (417) visa (there is no requirement to do further specified work on the second visa). More information HERE:
Applicants also need to demonstrate that they continue to meet the requirements for a Working Holiday visa. These include, but are not limited to :
1. Being aged between 18 and UNDER 31
2. Having no dependants; and
3. Being a citizen of a country named in the working holiday maker reciprocal arrangements.
This area is quite complex and you should proceed from here direct to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship web site for a full explanation of the different types of visas, rules and applications.
Student Visa Information is HERE:
Visa Wizard (Check for your applicable VISA requirement(s) for Australia)
Here is a very good VISA Wizard
Tax File Number
If you are going to Australia for a working holiday you will need to arrange a tax file number before you start working in Australia, as most employers will require your Australian tax file number before you are allowed to start work with them. You can actually work without a Tax File Number but you will be paying the top rate of tax - which his very expensive. With a tax file number, you will be taxed at a much lower rate (about 29% of income)
You can start work without a Tax File Number as you have 28 days in which to obtain one. It’s not difficult to obtain - simply visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) (they have offices in all major cities) and complete the forms. Note that you will also have to provide current identification such as passport, driving licence etc. You can also apply for your tax file number online before you leave the UK. Also, when you apply for your tax file number online, the tax file registration system compares this information with the information you provided from your working holiday visa application which is held on the DIMIA systems
Australian Taxation Office link:
Open a Bank Account in Australia before you go:
It’s a REALLY good idea - actually ESSENTIAL - that you open a bank account before you go to Australia as it will allow you to arrive and hit the ground running, and save LOT of hassles. We recommend the Commonwealth Bank.
The Australian financial year ends on 30th June and you have to complete a tax return for the year ending 30th June, and you usually will get a refund. The Australian tax system is a bit more complex than the UK tax system and it can be a good idea to get a tax specialist (HR Block) to do your return. They are not expensive and usually charge about £200
MIGRATING TO AUSTRALIA
Unfortunately - and given the bloody awful winter we had in 2010/2011 - and again Feb 2012 - you just cant say ‘sod it’, sell up, and sail away to sunny Australia! Usually most migration to Australia is via the General Skilled Migration Program. There are certain exceptions however with ancestral and family rights of citizenship. To be eligible for the Australian General Skilled Migration Program you MUST have certain skills (MODL List) (PDF document - Adobe Reader required).to be able to migrate and you MUST have absolutely NO criminal record or convictions.
The General Skilled Migration program is for people who are not sponsored by an employer and who have skills in particular occupations required in Australia. Applicants must be over 18 and under 50 years of age, with good English language ability, and recent skilled work experience or a recently completed eligible Australian qualification. Applicants must also have skills and qualifications for an occupation listed on Australia's Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and Employer Nominated Skilled Occupation List (ENSOL)
* Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority of Australia
Australian Embassies in UK: (Note: they do not allow personal visits or appointments)
Australia High Commission,
Tel: (020) 7379 4334
Tel (01) 6761517