What ‘exactly’ is a Visitor Visa

There is no such thing as an Australian ‘Visitor’ visa exactly – when people talk about Visitor visas for Australia they are usually really talking about Tourist visas.  A Tourist visa allows a foreign citizen to visit Australia. The visit can be for purely tourism purposes, or to visit family, spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends or just friends. They are valid usually valid for periods of 3, 6 or 12 months. You can study for up to 3 months on them, but you cannot work.

Virtually all foreign nationals are required to have a visa to enter Australia, even for the purposes of visiting. There are three main types of Australian Visitor visa: one which covers only a handful of what are considered to be “low risk” countries by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), one which covers most European countries, and the third category which encompasses the rest of the world. Thai and  Filipina citizens, for example, come under the third category of Australian Visitor visa. As part of this third type they are required to  submit a paper application and submit a considerable amount of supporting documentation.

Visitor visas once prepared and submitted do not usually take very long to process relative to most other visas. If you are planning on visiting Australia and you do not come from one of the first two categories of countries (mention above) you need to make sure you give yourself time to prepare and obtain your Visitor – Tourist visa before booking your ticket to Australia.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is concerned with the risk of a visa holder overstaying their visa, the risk that they might want to work while in Australia, and the financial position of the Applicant. Unless strict guidelines are followed and all enquiries are satisfied it is highly likely that an Australian Visitor – Tourist visa application will be rejected. A large proportion of self-prepared applications are refused either because of poor preparation or because the ‘Applicant’ has mistaken or misinterpreted their eligibility for the visa. It is always advisable to speak to a trained and experienced Migration Agent whom can guide you and, in the long run, save you previous time, effort and money.

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