If you want a long stay visitor visa, Australia offers a visa (subclass 600) that covers non-work visits of up to 12 months. Here’s how to get one. If you’re between 18 and 30 there’s a more flexible working holiday visa.
The visitor visa Australia (subclass 600) is designed for people who are not eligible for the online
It’s also for those who do meet the requirements of the ETA or eVisitor but who want to stay longer than three months at a time.
You cannot work in Australia under this visa. A certain amount of genuine volunteer work is acceptable, provided tourism remains the main purpose of your visit.
600 Visitor Visa Australia Rights
A visitor visa Australia may be single or multiple entry. It will let you stay for three, six or twelve months, depending on your personal circumstances and the reason for your visit. Three and six month periods are the norm, a twelve month unbroken stay is less usual.
If you want to study, this visa allows you to do that for up to three months. If you want to study for a longer period you will need to apply for an Australia student visa. You cannot use this visa to extend your student visa to start, continue or complete a CRICOS registered course.
Your visitor visa Australia may be granted with an 8503 ‘No further stay’ condition. If this is the case, you will not be granted any other visa (except for a protection visa) while you remain in Australia. This condition may be waived in exceptional circumstances.
Long Stay Visa Requirements
Visitor Visa Australia (subclass 600) Online Application
If you are outside Australia and you hold one of these passports you can apply for a Visitor Visa online (Visa e600):
|Hong Kong (SAR)||Hungary||Iceland||Ireland|
|Papua New Guinea||Poland||Portugal||Qatar|
|Romania||San Marino||Saudi Arabia||Serbia|
|Singapore||Slovak Republic||Slovenia||South Korea|
|Turkey||United Arab Emirates||United Kingdom British Citizen||United States of America|
If your country is not on this list then you need to lodge a paper application. You can do this
- from outside Australia; and also
- from inside Australia if you have a valid visa and you want to extend your stay after you’ve arrived.
If you apply for this visa outside Australia, then you must still be outside Australia when a
decision is made on your application. If you apply for this visa in Australia then you must
be in Australia when the decision is made.
A long stay visitor visa Australia is not designed for very long-term stays or residency. You can apply for a new one, but you will have to spend an extended period outside Australia first. You won’t be allowed to simply stay on from one year to another.
A paper application will take longer to process than an online application.
Health Requirements, Australia Visitors Visa
If you apply for any Australian holiday visas that are longer than 3 months you may be asked to have a health examination. This can range from a simple chest x-ray to a full examination. The health examination is at your own cost.
You will definitely need a health examination, irrespective of the length of the visitor visa Australia applied for, if
- you are likely to enter a hospital or similar environment in any capacity, including if you are pregnant and intend to have your baby in Australia
- you are likely to enter a creche, pre-school, school or child care facility (but not when you yourself are studying in a classroom environment)
- you are known to have (or are suspected of having) a medical condition
- you are aged 75 or more (or you may be required to undergo an Aged Visitor Health Check
- there are indications that you might not meet the health requirement
Applicants applying for a visa in Australia should arrange a health examination through Bupa Medical Visa Services .
For visa applicants outside Australia the health examination for Australian holiday visas must be done by a panel doctor nominated by the Australian Government.
Visa Requirements for Australia: Character
The longer you want to stay in Australia, the more likely that you will be required to provide information to prove your good character. You’re highly unlikely to be asked for this for a visitor visa Australia of six months or less. Above that it’s more likely.
In practice this means you will be asked for a penal clearance certificate (PCC), also known as police clearance certificate, from any country in which you have stayed for a total of 12 months or more in the previous 10 years.
Children under 16 are not required to provide PCCs.
For many countries there is a straightforward process to obtain such a certificate. You can apply online, the police department checks its register and issues a certificate saying there are no convictions recorded against you and that’s it. There’s no more required.
But for some countries it can be a nightmare.
My partner had to provide such a PCC from India, as he’d stayed there for a total of over 12 months in the course of the previous 10 years.
He’d stayed three months in one year, six months in another, a few weeks here and there – it all added up to more than 12 months in total.
But the police in India will not issue a Police Clearance Certificate unless the foreigner has registered in India as long-stay visitor.
As a tourist you cannot register as such a visitor, it’s specifically forbidden by the terms of your Indian visa.
If you have only ever visited India on a tourist visa the police won’t issue a PCC. Yet Australia may demand that you produce one in the course of getting a visitor visa Australia.
In over four months of going from embassy to ministry to regional office to police chief to immigration to everywhere you care to name we could not get a PCC. It took hours and hours of waiting in offices, endless journeys from one official to another and untold numbers of emails, registered letters and phone calls for no result whatsoever. It was an exercise in total frustration.
And, from the Australian end, officials were adamant that such a PCC was required before they could grant a visitor visa Australia. So bear that in mind if you’re asked for a penal clearance certificate.
Visit online travellers’ forums to see if others have had problems getting PCCs from the countries you have spent time in.
India often features, as does China. If you’ve lived in one of these countries, re-think your application. Allow plenty of time for getting a PCC and accept that you may not get one.
In such a case I strongly advise you to apply for shorter term Australian holiday visas where you won’t need to provide a PCC.
Then, after three months, simply leave and re-enter Australia, as you are entitled to do under the terms of most short stay tourist visas.
Biometrics are increasingly being used in Australian visa applications. The longer your stay, the more likely you are to come across them. Their use is explained here.
Cost of Visas for Australia
Charges for a visitor visa Australia are regularly increased on 1 July, so check for the latest costs if you are applying just after this date. Here is an overview of all the costs associated with applying for an Australian visa.
My experience with health checks is that their cost varies enormously from one country to another and, within countries, from one medical practitioner to another. So ask around – all the examinations are exactly the same, the panel doctors all fill out the same forms, and all meet Australian Government requirements.
The cost of a police clearance certificate will vary by country.
Applying for Australian Visa Subclass 600
These Australian holiday visas usually take between two to three weeks to be processed. Online applications are the fastest. You can lodge the application yourself or you can use a registered travel agent, airline service or specialist provider to do it for you.
Your application can take considerably longer if additional documentation is required, so it’s best to include everything needed when you first apply.
Family members who are under 18 and on your passport should be included in your application. Family members with separate passports must lodge separate applications. There should be one application per passport.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months.
If you renew your passport after being granted your visa, you must advise the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship before you arrive in Australia.
You’ll have great difficulty otherwise.
Start here for your e600 online visa application
If you are not eligible to make an online application you should submit a paper application for the Visitor visa (subclass 600 – Tourist Stream). This can be lodged at your nearest Australian Immigration office.
Extending your Visitor Visa Australia
If you are in Sydney and want to extend your holiday for tourism purposes, you can apply for a further stay as a visitor under the 600 visitor visa Australia. You should do this at least two weeks before your current visa expires.
You may be granted a new visa if you
- hold a valid Australian
- have met all the conditions of your current visa
- want to extend your stay for tourism (not work) purposes
- meet the eligibility criteria, and
- do not have a ‘No Further Stay’ (condition 8503) on your visa
In Australia, all passport holders can apply online for a visitor visa Australia extension. Go here for details.
If you are refused a new visa you must leave Australia before the expiry of your authorized stay period. This will usually be the later of
- the expiry date of your original visa, and
- 28 days from the date of the visitor visa Australia decision.
If you don’t receive a decision before your current visa expires, you’re entitled to stay in Australia until the decision is made.
If you start a new visitor visa Australia application while you are in the country, and you decide to cancel it before you receive a decision, you will need to leave Australia within 28 days of the date of cancellation (unless your previous visa is still valid).
You will not be refunded the application fees paid. Notwithstanding that, it is one way of obtaining a few extra days or weeks on your Australian holiday visas if that is all the Sydney extended stay you need.