Australian Travel Visas for Tourists and Workers
The Australian Government requires that people who are travelling to Australia have a valid Australian visa; with the exception of people who hold Australian passports, and those who hold a qualifying New Zealand passport.
There are several different kinds of visa, depending on the purpose of your trip, and how long you intend to stay for. The most common visas are the ETA Tourist Visa and the ETA Business Visa.
ETA Tourist Visas
The ETA Tourist Visa is a visa that is offered to tourists and leisure travellers, who plan to visit Australia for a duration of less than three months. To qualify for this, the tourist must hold a visa from an eligible country. The UK, USA, Canada and the majority of mainland European countries are on the eligible list. People who qualify for the ETA Tourist Visa can apply online and the application is usually processed within minutes.
ETA Business Visa
The ETA Business Visa is a short-stay visa intended for business travellers who plan on staying in Australia for less than three months. This visa can be applied for online, and as with the tourist visa, the application is approved within minutes. Business activities can include conferences, negotiations and short exploratory business visits. A person who is travelling to Australia for the purposes of acting, film making or musical performances would not qualify for a business visa. The business visa is not appropriate for someone who is planning to engage in paid work.
Long Stay Visas
The e600 and the paper-based 600 Visitor Visa are suitable for people who are looking to visit Australia for a longer duration. The e600 Visitor Visa is designed for people who cannot apply for the ETA Visitor Visa, because they are not on the list of ETA eligible countries, as well as for people who would qualify for the ETA Visitor Visa, but who want to stay for 3-12 months. It can be used for single visits, or for multiple entries to the country over the duration of the validity of the visa.
The Paper-Based 600 Visitor Visa is offered only to people who are resident in the UK, and who hold a passport from China, Indonesia or the Faroe Islands. Holders of the paper-based 600 visa are not allowed to engage in paid work, and are not permitted to study for more than three months while in Australia. In some cases, it is possible to re-apply to stay for longer than the duration of the visa but in other cases the visa will only be granted with a ‘No Further Stay’ condition.
The Australia Working Holiday Visa is aimed at young people aged 18-30, and allows them to travel to Australia for up to 24 months, and work while they are there. Applicants for this visa must have sufficient funds to support themselves when they arrive in Australia.
There are other visas intended for people who wish to travel to Australia for the purposes of long term work or investment, skilled migrants, and spouses who wish to relocate to Australia to live with an Australian resident. If you are interested in applying for these, or are not sure what kind of visa you would need, then you should call the Australian embassy.