How to apply for your Australian Visa

2014-08-03 22:34
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Feel like it's high time you went to visit your long lost family Down Under? 

Going through the motions of applying for an appropriate visa is never an easy, so we've put together a list of the two most common short stay Australian visas and a useful checklist of what you may need to apply for a visit to the kangaroo continent.  

Visitor visa (subclass 600)  

Apart from the ‘Transit', this is the most basic visa you can apply for and allows you to visit Australia for a holiday, recreation or to visit family or friends. It can also be used for other non-work purposes, including study for less than three months.  

If your application is successful, you will be granted a single or multiple entry visa for a stay period of up to three, six or twelve months. The period of stay and number of entries granted will depend on the purpose of the visit and your personal circumstances.  

See the checklist of required documents below (these are the basics that apply to most other short stay visas):  

Current valid passport with at least 6 months validity.  

A recent passport sized photo (not older than 6 months)  

A copy or printout of transfer receipt showing payment of the applicable fees.  

If you have travelled to Australia before and can prove it, no further documents are required of you unless you are under 18 years of age, over 70 or intend on staying longer than 3 months.  

But if you haven't been before you will also have to provide the following:  

Evidence of funds. Either original or certified copies of bank statements showing history of savings of at least three months prior to the visa application. The statements must show the account holder's name, account number & current account balance. OR the same from the person who will be supporting you while in Australia.  

If you are over 70 years of age you will need an original letter from a doctor approved by the Australian Immigration panel declaring you fit enough to travel as well as sufficient travel insurance to cover medical costs while in Australia. South African medical aid is not accepted even if it includes international coverage.  

If you are under 18 years of age you will need an original or certified copy of your birth certificate. If you are travelling with only one of your parents/guardians you will need a certified letter of consent from the other and if you are travelling alone you will need the same from both. This letter must specify dates of travel as well as the contact details of the person who will be taking care of you during your visit. If one of your parents is or both are deceased, a certified death certificate is required.  

Visa cost: A$130.00 (about R1 298 at R9.97/Australian dollar)  

Business short stay (subclass 600)  

This is the appropriate visa to apply for if the reason for your visit to Australia is business-related for a period of no longer than three months. Business activities that fall under this category are conferences, official visits, meetings, training, building inspections, or equipment installation where the work cannot be done by an Australian citizen. Note that this is not a work permit, but a short stay visa, following a similar set of rules to the tourist visa.  

In addition to the Tourist visa requirements listed below, you would also have to provide  

an original or certified copy of a letter from your employer/company in South Africa detailing the duration and purpose of your visit  

an original, faxed or emailed letter from the Australian company you will be visiting stating the same.  

If you are self employed, the original or certified copy of your company registration showing your involvement in the business must be provided.  

Itinerary from your travel agent with proposed arrival and departure dates.  

Visa cost: A$130.00 (about R1 298 at R9.97/Australian dollar)   

Transit visa (Subclass 771)  

Applicable if you are stopping over in Australia for no more than 72 hours en route to another destination, which means that this visa does not provide for any tourist or business activities. What's nice about this visa is that there is no application charge, however your agent may require a nominal service fee.  

To apply you need to fulfill all of the requirements of an ordinary Visitor's Visa application with the following additional documentation:  

Full itinerary from travel agent/ airline with proposed arrival and departure dates and all countries of destination. Note that a confirmed flight ticket is not required.  

Visa cost: depends on your agent  

If you're planning on visiting Australia sometime soon contact VFS-Australia. They will help you sort out the correct visa to apply for and advise you on correct additional documentation.  
For information on more visa options, visit the Australian High Commission in South Africa's website.

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