Australian Visitor Visas – Apply now for Christmas!

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People often talk about how Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier each year, particularly when discussing the retail environment! With visas to Australia you can be assured of one thing being constant at this time of year; the Department of Immigration receives a huge influx of visas from November to December for the hundreds of thousands of people who want to come to Australia to join their family members for Christmas.

As you can imagine, the same number of people processing many more visas is going to result in processing delays. That’s a no brainer. Where the standard processing time may be 2-4 weeks for visas in the middle of the year this can blow out to 8-10 weeks at this time of year. Every year this results in people being disappointed and frustrated that they can’t be with their family at Christmas.

What can you do to get your visa in time?

Apply early!!!

I can’t stress this enough. As I stated in my last article, leaving your application until the last minute is a very bad idea. You can no doubt imagine the voluminous amount of ‘urgent’ requests the Department of Immigration receives at this time of year. Understandably they are not very tolerant of people’s lack of planning. What you may consider to be ‘urgent’ is not the same as what The Department considers to be urgent, so you may find that your application takes longer than you would have hoped.

Another reason you need to get your application in as soon as possible is flights. The longer you leave your flight booking the more expensive the flights become as it gets closer to Christmas. National Visas (and the Department of Immigration) never advise buying a flight before you have your visa because there is no guarantee that your visa will be approved, let alone by the date you have booked your flight. So – get in early. It’s the only way to really maximise your chances of getting your visa in time.

Which visa is for me and how long do they take to process?

There are a few different types of visitor visa. Your eligibility for each one depends on the country of passport you hold and the length of time for which you would like to visit Australia. Each visa type has its own processing time standards which can basically be summarised as follows:

 

The ETA (online)

If you are eligible for this fast processing online visa – fantastic, you will normally have the visa within 24 hours of purchase. But it is best to apply as early as possible in case there are processing issues, which happen from time to time. An ETA visa is normally valid for multiple visits within 12 months from date of issue. The maximum length of each visit is three months.

 

The e651 (online)

This visa can also be a very fast processing visa, but it really depends on your country of passport. Some countries can obtain this visa quickly whereas other countries (for example Romania) are normally asked to provide documents. The processing time is normally 2 weeks, but at this time of year I would allow at least 6 weeks.

The e651 (or e-Visitor) visa is valid for multiple visits within 12 months. The maximum length of each visit is three months.

 

The e600 (online)

This visa can also be a very fast processing visa for some countries, but again it depends on your country of passport. Some applicants can obtain this visa quickly with little or no documents required. However, depending on the length of your intended visit and the country of passport you may be asked to provide documents. This can therefore take longer to prepare your application.

The processing time (once we lodge the application) is normally 1-2 working days for lower risk countries, and 4 weeks for higher risk, but at this time of year I would allow at least 6 weeks if you are in the higher risk categories. If you decide to use our services we can advise if you are in the higher risk categories, or if we can get your application done quite quickly with few (if any) documents.

The e600 visa is valid for multiple visits within 12 or 24 months from date of issue, depending on the country of your passport. The maximum length of each visit can vary from 3 to 12 months.

 

Paper lodged subclass 600

Not all applicants can apply for a visitor visa online. Many countries must make ‘paper’ or ‘hard copy’ applications. If passport nationality is not one of those which are eligible to apply for an online visitor visa, you are required to lodge a manual (paper) application.

If this applies to you, you can purchase our Visa Information Pack online. This will provide you all the details you need to prepare and lodge a successful visa application yourself, using our Visa Guide to help you understand what to do. You can expect processing times at the embassy for these applications to normally take 1-4 weeks, but at this time of year expect 4-10 weeks, depending on the embassy.

How do I apply?

There are now over 65 countries that can apply for one of the online types of visitor visas listed above. To determine your eligibility for an online visitor visa the place to start is to take a free online assessment on our website. This only takes 2-3 minutes. From there our website will determine which is the most appropriate visa for you and you will then be provided service options to proceed.

To see if you are able to apply online you can start the process here.

I hope we may be able to help you with your application soon!

John Bell
General Manager and Senior Migration Agent
MARN 0321386

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John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

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