- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Australia Guide (PDF)
Expats looking to live and work in Australia will need a visa. Australia has a large number of visa categories, and requirements vary widely, but the government makes it easy to understand the visa application process, providing comprehensive information on how to apply for each specific class of visa, the associated costs, where to apply and more.
That said, the application process doesn’t guarantee entrance into the country and can take a long time to finalise.
Tourism, business and transit visas for Australia
Australia has many different visitor’s visas, each valid for different durations depending on nationality. The standard Australian visit visa and its subtypes are categorised according to tourism, business, or visiting family. Visitor visas may grant stays of up to 12 months.
Visitor visa for Australia
Tourists or expats intending to study or change visas once in Australia should apply for the Visitor visa first. It allows travellers to enter Australia as a tourist only and allows a stay of up to 12 months. Applicants must apply before travelling to Australia, and prove that they can fund their stay in the country. Holders of this visa cannot legally work in Australia.
eVisitor visas for Australia
Some nationalities are eligible for a free eVisitor visa. Holders of this visa may visit Australia for up to three months at a time in a 12-month period. These visas can only be applied for online and only from outside Australia. Expats only need a passport to apply.
Working holiday visas for Australia
Young people between 18 and 30 (35 in some cases) who hail from one of the eligible countries on the Australian Home Affairs website, can visit Australia and work temporarily to fund their travels. The Working Holiday visa is not intended for permanent relocation and is only valid for 12 months.
Applicants must have a passport valid for at least a year after their arrival, and enough funds to support themselves initially.
If Working Holiday visa holders complete at least three months of regional work, they may be eligible to apply for an extension to their original visa. A record of employment is often necessary for an extension.
Those not eligible for the Working Holiday Visa may be eligible instead for the very similar Work and Holiday Visa.
Transit visas for Australia
When travelling through Australia, expats will need a Transit visa. These are relatively easy to get and have few requirements. Travellers must apply from outside of Australia and have a confirmed booking to another country within 72 hours of entry. Documents supporting these claims are necessary, so travel documents should be kept handy. Expats joining non-military ships also need Maritime Crew visas.
Student visas for Australia
Studying in Australia is only possible with a Student visa. This visa allows a stay of up to five years with proof of enrolment. It allows students to participate in studies, bring over family members and work unlimited hours in any sector.
To apply, expats must be enrolled in any course of study in Australia, have Overseas Student Health Coverage (OSHC) and hold at least a Visitor visa.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►See Work Permits for Australia for what permits are needed to work in the country
Are you an expat living in Australia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Australia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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