Frequently Asked Questions − General

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Do I need a visa to come to Australia?

Yes. Everybody who comes to Australia who is not an Australian citizen must have a valid visa to enter Australia.

If you are a New Zealand citizen travelling on a New Zealand passport and you do not have criminal or health issues, you may be eligible for a 'Special Category Visa' which can be granted to you on arrival, so you may not need to arrange a visa before you fly.

If you are not a New Zealand citizen or an Australian citizen you will need to make sure you have a valid visa before you come to Australia. Most airlines will not let you board your flight unless you have a valid visa to enter Australia.

If you are a New Zealand citizen and have a criminal record you should contact us for advice prior to making any travel arrangements.

Do I have to take an English Test for my a Visa?

This is a very common question, but the answer is not as simple as you may think!

English language requirements are different depending on which visa you are applying for, what your occupation is and whether you are the 'primary' or 'secondary' applicant. Additionally, the passport you hold and whether or not you completed your schooling in English may be a factor. In some cases, the wage you will earn in Australia can also be a factor.

Before we can provide you with an answer to this question we must first understand a lot about your situation and options. If you use our services we will do a detailed analysis of your position against relevant visa regulations and explain to you exactly how you can meet the various English language requirements, including whether you will need to take an English test.

If you are required to take an English test we will provide you information to help you prepare so you have the best chance of achieving the score you need.

What is a certified copy?

Certified copies are copies of documents which have been authorised (notarised), or stamped as being true copies of originals by a person or agency recognised by the law of the country in which you currently reside. Having documents certified before being submitted with a visa application reduces the risk of fraudulent documents being used.

Document certification is required for many Australian visa applications, but not all of them. Some occupations (nurses for example) require very specific types of certification beyond what is normally the standard. Our experienced advisors can explain to you whether or not you will need to have your documents certified for your application.

Can I translate my own documents?

We generally recommend that you do not translate your own documents.

If you are applying for your visa in Australia, any documents that are not in English must be accompanied by a translated copy which has been translated by a translator who is registered with the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

If you are applying outside Australia, you should use a registered translator.

I have received a request from the Department of Immigration for more information. What do I do?

You should contact us immediately. The Department of Immigration requests information for many reasons. When they do, you need to be very careful about what happens next.

There are many reasons you may be asked for information. For example, if you have applied for a student visa you may have been requested to provide information about your study history. This could be because the Department of Immigration has concerns that you are not a 'genuine student'. Or if you have applied for a visitor visa you may be asked to provide 'incentive to return home'. This generally indicates that they have a concern that you may not be a genuine visitor.

As registered migration agents our role is to know exactly why you have been asked for this information. It's not random! How you respond to a request for more information can make or break your case - leave it to a professional.

I have reviewed the Department of Immigration website and think I can apply. Does this mean I am eligible?

Be very careful about relying on the government's publicly available information. The Department of Immigration website provides very basic general information about visas. Australian visa regulations are extremely complex and detailed. While the government website does provide some good general information, it is not possible to cover all scenarios and they provide no information about relevant case law which may affect you.

For example, employer sponsored visa information on the government's website states very basically that you need to show that you 'have the skills and experience necessary to work in your nominated occupation'. What this actually means in terms of the documents required for your specific occupation is not specified in detail because there are hundreds of different occupations, but the requirements are actually very strict for every single occupation.

Another example is that the government website may say that you must have a skills assessment or state sponsorship, but their information is very vague. Obtaining state sponsorship and skills assessments can be extremely complex with critical timing and evidentiary issues.

The government has no particular interest in advising you of the critical details which make or break your case. They don't care one way or the other if your application is successful. We do. We know the details that are not published on the government website and how they affect your case because we have access to all of the legislation and policy.

Aside from the points mentioned above, it is also important to understand that believe it or not, the government is actually not always right. You can read more about this important topic here.

Are you the Department of Immigration?

No. National Visas is a private company and is not part of the Australian Department of Immigration. We are here to help you with your visa, immigration and Citizenship matters.

National Visas Registered Migration Agents adhere to the professional Code of Conduct (administered by OMARA) along with undertaking continuous professional development (CPD) training on a yearly basis. You can refer to the OMARA website to confirm National Visas OMARA registration details.

We are also members of both of the Australian professional industry associations; the Migration Industry Association and Migration Alliance. This ensures that you are dealing with a professional company of lawfully registered agents.

I am a New Zealand Citizen; do I need a visa to come to Australia?

New Zealand citizens travelling on New Zealand passports do not need to pre-arrange a visa to enter Australia unless there are health or character concerns.

At the time of presenting your New Zealand passport for immigration clearance you are considered to have applied for a visa and, subject to health or character considerations, will automatically receive a Special Category Visa (SCV) which is recorded electronically. Your New Zealand passport is stamped, showing the date of arrival in Australia. This is the only evidence provided or necessary to show you are the holder of a SCV.

New Zealand citizens with medical conditions or criminal convictions should discuss their situation with one of our migration professionals before making plans to travel to Australia.

I am a New Zealand permanent resident visa holder; do I need a visa to come to Australia?

If you are a New Zealand permanent resident (not a New Zealand citizen), this gives you no right of entry into Australia and you would need to apply for a visa in the normal manner.

Does my passport need 6 months validity to travel to Australia?

The Australian government advises that your passport should be valid for at least 6 months when entering Australia. However this is advisory only. You may enter Australia if you have a valid passport at the time you enter. There is no requirement to have 6 months validity on your passport.

Please also note that the decision on whether to admit a person to Australia ultimately rests with the border staff. There is never a guarantee that you will be allowed entry no matter how long your passport is valid for.

National Visas support the government's position that you should have at least 6 months validity on your passport when coming to Australia. However we appreciate that there are times when it is impossible to obtain a new passport prior to your need to travel.

If you travel to Australia on a passport which has less than 6 month's validity you need to ensure that you either:

  • Depart Australia before your visa expires (temporary visa holders only), or
  • Obtain a new passport while in Australia;
  • Inform the department of immigration immediately of any change of passport.

I note that some other countries do strictly adhere to a minimum passport validity rule, so if you intend on visiting or transiting through any other countries, you will need to confirm with them that your passport validity will be acceptable.

I don't have a visa label (sticker) in my passport. Do I need to get one?

No. You do need to arrange your visa, but you don't need a physical sticker or label in your passport.

Australia is moving to a 'label free' visa system. If your visa is approved you will be sent a visa confirmation e-mail (approval letter). A visa confirmation email is equivalent to a visa, but there is no stamp or label in your passport and there is no need for you to visit an Australian diplomatic office.

Your visa will be electronically linked to your passport number, so when you arrive at an airport for check-in on a flight to Australia, the airline check-in staff can electronically confirm that you have authority to board the flight to Australia.

What is the subsequent temporary application fee?

In late 2013 the Department of Immigration introduced a new fee for some visa applicants called the subsequent temporary application fee. It does not apply to everyone. It only applies to some limited applicants who are applying for particular temporary visas from inside Australia, and who have already made a temporary visa application while physically present in Australia.

Your assigned migration professional can determine if the fee is applicable to you in your particular circumstances and advise if there is any way to avoid this fee.

What does de facto mean?

The term 'de facto' when used in relation to Australian visa applications is used to describe a couple who live together as partners but are not married. De facto spouses, or de facto husband and wife are examples of couples who live together and share a life together as a partner couple, but are not married.

For visa purposes, a de facto partner (including partners of the same sex) can be considered a member of your family unit in a very similar way to a married couple. This means that you may be able to include your de facto partner in your visa application, or possibly sponsor them for a visa to Australia.

The length of the de facto relationship and the evidentiary requirements you must meet will depend on the visa for which you are applying. For example, if you are applying for a 457 visa or a new Zealand Citizen Family Relationship visa, you would normally need only evidence 6 months as a de facto couple. But if you are applying for a student or skilled migration visa you would normally need to evidence at least 12 months as a de facto couple.

However, each via has its own requirements so please make sure you discuss your situation with one of our migration professionals to understand how the regulations apply to you.

Do I have to provide accurate information?

Yes. All information you provide must be accurate. Providing incorrect information in a visa application can result in your visa being refused and you receiving a three year ban (exclusion period) from Australia. In some cases the ban can be for 10 years. It is essential that all information you provide and all documents you provide are accurate and genuine.

I am not sure how to answer a question on a form. What do I do?

Many of the questions on the government forms are confusing! Once you purchase a service we are here to help you whenever you need it. Just contact your appointed Registered Migration Agent and we will help you.

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