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Changes to Australian visitor visa and how they affect you

by Dominic 15/03/2013 12:38:00

Visitor visa

Changes to visitor visa policy
take effect on 23 March.
 

Several different classes of Australian visitor visa will be superseded by new classes next week but if you're already in Australia, or already have your visa, how will they affect you?

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced recently that their nine classes of visitor visa will be simplified into just five classes, in order to draw greater distinction between work and business visitor activities.

The existing nine categories:

  • Tourist visa (subclass 676)
  • Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679)
  • Business (short Stay) visa (Subclass 456)
  • Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (subclass 459)
  • Medical Treatment (short stay) visa (subclass 675)
  • Medical Treatment (long stay) visa (subclass 685)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – long validity) (subclass 956)

These will be consolidated into the following five visa classes as of 23 March:

  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (subclass 400) visa
  • Visitor (subclass 600) visa
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601) visa
  • Medical Treatment (subclass 602) visa
  • eVisitor (subclass 651) visa
I already have my visa; do I need to apply for another?

No. Any visas granted before 23 March will remain valid until the original expiration date provided when your visa was granted.

For example, if you were granted an Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976) visa on 15 March, 2013, the last date of entry would be 15 March, 2014 or the expiry date of your passport (whichever is sooner). 

This will still be the case following the changes.

The changes are intended to streamline and simplify the application process. We will continue to update our clients as more info is released.

However, it is important to remember that all visas which have already been issued, or will be issued before 23 March, will be honoured for their entire validity period.

I will be applying for my visa soon, what does this mean?

If you know which visa you require under the current system, applying for an Australian visa under the new changes should be easier and quicker. If you are unsure which visa you will require, use our online travel advisor to find out.

If you intended to visit Australia under the following three classes:

  • Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – long validity) (subclass 956)

You will be able to apply under the new, single Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601) visa.

If you intended to visit under one of the following visitor visas:

  • Tourist visa (subclass 676)
  • Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679)
  • Business (short Stay) visa (Subclass 456)
  • Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (subclass 459)

You will be able to apply under the single Visitor Visa (subclass 600) visa.

We will be making changes to our online application forms in the next few weeks. In the meantime however, you can continue to use our current 676 visa application and we will use the information provided to lodge a new, 600 visa application on your behalf.

If you have any questions regarding the validity of your visa or which visa to apply for, do not hesitate to contact us.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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