My new place to visit this year happened to be Australia. It was a really unexpected trip. I did not plan for it nor see it coming and it was just suddenly decided. Similar to the UK, I also required a visa in order to visit Australia. The visa application always seems overwhelming the first time. Since I have already gone through the whole process, I decided to share my experience and guide on how to apply for an Australia visa for tourism purposes.
Note: I am applying for my Australian visa under visitor visa (Subclass 600) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. If you apply for the Australia visitor visa in another country, the fee and the additional service fee might vary but the supporting documents and the process steps will be similar.
Australia Visa Application
- Do I Need Visa to Visit Australia
- What Type of Visa Do I Need
- Australia Visa Types for Visitors
- What Documents Do I Need to Apply for The Australia Visa for Tourist Stream
- How to Apply for an Australia Visa
Do I Need Visa to Visit Australia?
All nationalities other than New Zealand citizens are required to have a valid Australian visa to enter the country. If you are a New Zealand citizen, you can obtain your visa on arrival in Australia.
What Type of Visa Do I Need?
It is important to know what type of visa you need before lodging your application because the required documents may vary depending on your visa type. If you are still uncertain about this, you can refer here for further information. In this post, I will be discussing Australia visitor visa application.
Australia Visa Types for Visitors
For the visitor visa, there are three visa types you can apply for online depending on your nationality. You are not allowed to work in Australia for this type of visa but you can travel for business visitor activities which include attending conferences, trade seminars, and general business enquiries.
– eVisitor (Subclass 651)
An eVisitor visa type allows visitors to stay in Australia for up to 3 months at a time with validity for one year. There are no charges for the eVisitor visa application and Only European Union and United Kingdom Passport holders are eligible for eVisitor visa.
– Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601)
Similar to eVisitor, the ETA visa type also enables you to visit Australia for up to 3 months within 12 months from the date of your visa granted. You can apply for this visa online by yourself or if you travel with a travel tour, the travel agent is allowed to apply for you. The charges for this visa application are also free but the ETA applicants still have to pay a service charge of AUD 20 for the online application and only the passport holders of the following countries below are eligible for the ETA visa :
- Hong Kong (SAR of China)
- South Korea
- United States
– Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)
For those nationalities who are not entitled to apply for an eVisitor or ETA visa, you can apply for a Visitor visa to visit Australia. This visa allows visitors to enter Australia for up to 3 months, 6 months and 12 months (depending on your choice) and you can also use the help of a travel agent to submit your application online on your behalf. The charges for the visa application ranges from AUD 140 to AUD 1045 / USD 101 to USD 800 depending on your length of visa.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply for The Australia Visa for Tourist Stream?
If you are entitled to apply for an Australia visa under eVisitor (Subclass 651) or ETA visa (Subclass 601), the good news is that there are not any required documents to attach unless they are requested. For the Visitor Visa (Subclass 600), whether applying online or over the counter, it is necessary to provide some documents to support your application. When you submit your application online, make sure to attach each document scanning from the original document instead of photocopy. Also, please ensure to attach accredited English translations for non-English documents.
Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) Tourist Stream Document Checklist
Note: For Australia visa applications, applicants only need to submit all photocopied documents including passport.
Below is the list of required documents you have to provide to support your visa application.
- Print out and complete Form 1419
This form is only necessary if you apply for your visa over the counter. If you apply online, you need to complete the online form instead (Refer to Online Application section).
- Old and current passport clear copy
Clear colour copy of all your previous travel information from your passport such as all visa, entry and exit stamps.
- Clear copy of valid working visa in the country you apply for your Australia visa (if applicable)
If you are a foreigner and working in another country, this is essential to show.
- One recent passport size photograph (45 mm x 35 mm) with plain or light grey background and print your name on the back of the photograph
You may check here for further information of the photo requirements.
- Copy of your citizenship ID
- Certified copy of your birth certificates with the names of both your parents
- Proof of sufficient funds, such as copies of your personal bank statements (recommended from the last 3 months), payslips or credit card limit.
There is no information given for the minimum money you should have in your bank. Just have a reasonable amount with the estimation of your expense for the period you will be spending in Australia.
- Employment letter from your company (For working adult)
A letter from your employer with your employment details such as your role, salary, employment contract details, start date of employment and confirmation of your leave absence. You can find the sample in my UK visa post.
- Proof of your enrollment at a school/university such as certificate and an official letter to confirm your leave from studies (for students)
- Evidence of your company’s current operations, income and company’s registration documents (for self-employed)
- Original invitation letter together with a copy of his / her passport (if applicable)
If you have family or friends from Australia inviting you over and you are going to stay with them, the invitation letter can be used as a supporting document for your visa application. A sample invitation letter can be found in my UK visa post.
- Original sponsor letter completed with his / her passport copy and the last 3 months’ bank statements (if applicable)
If your family/ relative/friend will sponsor you for the trip, you must provide a signed statement letter and evidence of their income (payslip, bank statement).
- Your travel itinerary in Australia
Additional info: Please read the information carefully before completing the form.
- If you appoint an agent or someone to lodge your application, then He / She has to complete Form 956 and you must sign it.
- If you only appoint someone to receive correspondence on your behalf, then He / She has to complete Form 956a and you must sign it.
How to Apply for an Australia Visa?
Before you proceed for your online application, please make sure that you are outside Australia when you apply and are granted the visa.
Note: For Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601) and eVisitor (Subclass 651) visa, It is advisable to apply for the visa 2 weeks before your travel date.
- For the eVisitor visa, you can start and complete your online application by creating an IMMiAccount here. Afterwards, you will be getting an email about your application. In case you do not receive within 12 hours, you should login to your account to check your application status.
- For the ETA visa, you can apply online here without requiring to create an account. Then you will be given a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) to track your application progress.
- For the Visitor visa, you can complete your online application and document attachment through IMMiAccount here. Next, you will get an email about your application and further appointment for biometrics.
Paper Based Application / Over The Counter
I did my Australia visa through paper-based application because my place is so close to the visa application center so it is convenient for me to go there directly for the submission. The VFS office in Kuala Lumpur for the Australia visa is exactly the same place as for the UK visa. To begin your paper-based application, it is compulsory to have an appointment for your submission. You can book your appointment here. You may still be able to walk in without an appointment but you have to pay an extra charge for around Rm 183 / USD 44. After it is booked, you will get an appointment confirmation letter in your email, make sure to bring that letter on the appointment day. Next, show it to the staff and you will get a number slip.
Note: Please be punctual for your appointment. Make sure to arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment time.
When your number is called, it is time to submit your form 1419 and all photocopies of your supporting documents, following with settlement of your visa payment. I applied for the 3 months visa and It cost RM 562.60 / USD 135++ in total (RM 439 for the visa fee + RM 123.60 for the service fee). It is really expensive and even more than what I paid for my UK visa and what disappointed me that it was a single entry 🙁
Once the document submission stage is completed you will proceed for biometrics, then just to wait for the results. All visa process is almost similar to applying for the UK visa, except that for the Australia visa, you don’t have to submit your original passport for submission.
Once you are done with your application, you just have to wait for the result. You are able to track your application online by entering the Reference Number (VLN Number) on the receipt and your Date of Birth into the system.
You will get the result whether your visa is approved or not by email so it is important to ensure you provide the correct email during your application. If you are granted an Australia visa, make sure to keep a copy as it provides your travel information such as your visa grant number, visa validity and visa conditions applied to your visa.
Note: Keep in mind that there won’t be a sticker or label in your passport as your visa and passport details will be stored and recorded electronically in the system.
For the eVisitor (Subclass 651) and the ETA (Subclass 601) application normally will be granted quickly, but there is also a possibility that the process will take longer, up to 4 days. For the Visitor Visa (Subclass 601), it is advisable to lodge your application 5 weeks before your intended travel date because the processing time usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks. I was quite happy to get mine within 2 weeks after lodging my application.
I found that there is more information to search for when applying for an Australia visa because they divide the visitor visa into three categories. That is the reason why this post is way longer than my UK visa application post. It is certainly easier to apply for an Australia visa under eVisitor & ETA rather than the Australia Visitor visa under subclass 600. It may seem a bit complicated and strict for first-time applicants but with the guide and Info I write in this post, I really hope it helps you to get a better understanding of the procedure and also, improve your confidence on your application.
If you are planning to go to Australia for a holiday and are going to apply for the visa by yourself, I hope this post is useful for you. Good luck and stay positive !!!
If you have any questions about the Australia Visa application, you can drop the comment below or contact me. I will happily answer it for you 😀
UK Visa Application Center - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Suite 19.06 19 Floor, Wisma MCA, 163 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Opening hours: Application submission and Document collection Monday to Friday (Excluding public holiday) 08:00 – 14:00
Thank you for reading my blog 😊
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