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Visitor Visa

The Visitor Visa lets you visit Australia for personal or business purposes. The visa is valid for between 3 and 12 months.

There are three main “streams” to this visa, being if you want to:

1. holiday or visit family (Tourist Stream);

2. undertake a business visit (Business Visitor Stream); or

3. come to Australia on a family sponsored holiday (Family Sponsored Visitor Stream).

Being granted a Visitor Visa is not as straight forward as most people think. For all visitors, you must satisfy the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) that you are “Genuine Temporary Entrant” (see below). This can be difficult to prove, particularly for certain passport holders.

Eligibility Criteria – Tourist Stream 

Under this stream, you must:

1. meet health and character requirements;

2. have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Australia;

3. intend to come to Australia for tourist purposes, for example as a tourist, for recreation or to visit your family and friends;

4. satisfy the DIBP that you are a Genuine Temporary Entrant.

Visitor Visas for parents of Australians

Certain concessions are granted to Parents of Australian children due to the length of time it takes for the DIBP to process parents visas.

The visa can be granted for up to:

1. five years for parents outside Australia who are in the Parent (Migrant) visa (subclass 103) queue;

2. three years for parents outside Australia who have had a previous Australian visa and complied with the visa conditions, and either have not applied for a Parent Visa (Subclass 103) or have applied for such a Parent Visa and are not yet in the queue for the visa; or

3. 18 months for parents who have not previously travelled to Australia and either have not applied for a Parent Visa or have applied for such a Parent Visa and are not yet in the queue for the visa.

In any of the three cases above, your visa will come with a condition that you:

1. cannot stay in Australia for more than 12 months on any visit or for more than 12 months in any 18 month period; and

2. cannot apply for another visa while you are in Australia on a Visitor Visa.

You may also be asked by the DIBP for an Australian to sponsor your visa.

If this is the case, your sponsor must be Australian and must be certain types of relatives.

Your sponsor must undertake to guarantee that you will comply with your visa conditions and must take responsibility for all financial obligations to the Australian Government incurred by you during your stay in Australia.

They may be asked to provide a bond which is generally between AUD$5000 and AUD$15 000 per applicant they sponsor, which must be paid before the visa is approved and is refunded when you leave Australia in compliance with your visa conditions.

Eligibility Criteria – Business Visitor Stream 

The Business Visitor Stream is for people travelling to Australia for a short business visit. This can include making a general business or employment enquiry, negotiations and/or participating in a conference.

Under this stream, you must:

1. meet health and character requirements;

2. have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Australia;

3. intend to do the activities in the Business Visitor stream (see below);

4. satisfy the DIBP that you are a Genuine Temporary Entrant.

Business Activities

You must explain your business background to the DIBP and show that you have a good business reason for traveling to Australia. This can include, amongst other things:

1. making general business or employment enquiries;

2. investigating, negotiating, signing or reviewing a business contract;

3. activities carried out as part of an official government-to-government visit;

4. participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars, as long as you are not being paid by the organisers for your participation.

You must not be coming to Australia to do an activity that attracts remuneration or to be selling goods or services to the general public while in Australia.

Some limited voluntary work can be conducted. Under Department of Immigration policy, a person wishing to undertake voluntary work may do so but only if the:

1. main purpose of the applicant’s stay is tourism;

2. work would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian;

3. the work is not for a commercial organisation;

4. no financial payment is received (though board and lodging is acceptable);

5. voluntary work is short term; and

6. work is of benefit to the community.

Eligibility Criteria – Family Sponsored Visitor Stream

The Sponsored Family stream requires applicants to be sponsored by a family member who is an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Under this stream, you must:

1. meet health and character requirements;

2. have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Australia;

3. intend to come to Australia to activities in the family sponsored stream;

4. satisfy the DIBP that you are a Genuine Temporary Entrant.

Under this stream, you must be sponsored by an Australian relative (pretty much all relations except cousins can sponsor you). There are also some other limited bodies and agencies that can be your sponsor.

Your sponsor must undertake to guarantee that you will comply with your visa conditions and must take responsibility for all financial obligations to the Australian Government incurred by you during your stay in Australia.

They may be asked to provide a bond which is generally between AUD$5000 and AUD$15 000 per applicant they sponsor, which must be paid before the visa is approved and is refunded to your sponsor when you leave Australia in compliance with your visa conditions.

The reality is that people from high risk countries, from which many visitors have a shown a tendency to breach their visa conditions, should apply under this stream and not the tourist stream if they want to maximize their prospects of being granted a Visitor Visa. We will tell you if it advisable for you to apply under this stream rather than the tourist stream. Once you have been to Australia once and complied with your visa conditions, it will make your future applications more straight forward.

Genuine Temporary Entrant

For all Visitor Visas, you must satisfy the DIBP that you are Genuine Temporary Entrant.

The DIBP considers a range of factors in determining whether you genuinely intend to visit Australia temporarily. They want to be satisfied that the applicant has a strong incentive to return on the expiration of their visa.

The factors they consider include:

1. your employment situation overseas (i.e. whether you have a steady job and regular income stream to return to in your home country);

2. whether you have any significant assets in your home country (e.g. houses, businesses, savings, cars);

3. whether you have many close relatives in your home country in comparison to the amount of close relatives you have in Australia;

4. your history of compliance with Australian and international immigration laws;

5. the political and social situation in your home country;

6. any social or community ties you have in your home country;

7. whether you have access to sufficient monies to fund your stay in Australia.

On balance, the case officer who assesses your case will make a determination about whether you are a genuine temporary entrant based on the evidence you supply. If an applicant has visited Australia before and complied with their visa conditions, this will be a strong factor pointing towards granting them a new Visitor Visa, as the DIBP will know that they respect Australian immigration laws.

Contact Us

Our experienced immigration lawyers have handled many successful Visitor Visa applications. We will ensure your application is given the best prospects of success.

We offer all our prospective clients an initial meeting, during which we will thoroughly explain the law surrounding this visa to you and inform you of the process moving forward.

To organize a initial consultation with us, please contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers on (02) 9590 3987.

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