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Visas and migration

Australian immigration stamp

*Last Updated October 20, 2020*

Whether you are visiting Australia for a short period of time or planning to migrate, you must have a valid Australian visa. A visa is a form of permission for a non-citizen to enter, transit or remain in a particular country.

COVID-19 VISA FAQS

I have received notification that my Australian visa has been approved.  Will I still be able to travel?

Travel restrictions to Australia and mandatory quarantine arrangements are currently in place due to COVID-19. Please refer to the Department’s website for information about these restrictions and how to apply for an exemption. The information on the Department’s website is updated frequently in response to the evolving situation.

If I change my travel plans can I still use the same visa to travel after the travel restrictions are lifted or will I need to apply again?

If you will be travelling within the validity period of your visa you will not need to re-apply.  You can access our online Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) to check your visa conditions.  You can also refer to your visa grant letter or access your ImmiAccount for this information.

Once a visa has been granted, it cannot be amended (and extensions cannot be granted).  Please visit our website for instructions on how to apply for another visa if the validity period of your visa has passed. 

However, you should reconsider your need to apply for an Australian visa at this time and check this website regularly for updates on travel restrictions and visa processing.

I have been granted a visa with an Initial Entry Condition but I am unable to make my first entry into Australia by the date specified in my Grant Notification letter due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions. Will I still be able to travel?

You may still be able to arrive in Australia after the initial entry date, as long as it is before the “Must not arrive after date” or the “for first entry, arrive by” date specified in your visa Grant Notification letter and you continue to meet all other visa conditions and requirements (such as valid health and penal checks). 

Please contact the Global Service Centre on +61 2 6196 0196 when you decide to travel to Australia but do not finalise your travel plans until you have received confirmation that your entry to Australia can be facilitated.

Some delays may be encountered upon arrival into Australia while visa validity is verified.

We cannot extend the validity period of your visa. If your visa ceases and you have not entered Australia by your visa validity date, you will need to apply for another visa. 

You can check visa details and conditions through Visa Entitlement Verification Online system (VEVO).

Are you still assessing applications?

Visa and citizenship applications continue to be assessed during the coronavirus crisis and the Department is prioritising the processing of visa and citizenship applications for those travellers who are exempt from the travel restrictions.

Please visit our website for details on how to apply for a travel exemption.

This office cannot provide you with an update on your visa application. Please login to ImmiAccount to check the status of your application.

More information about global processing times is available on our website.

If I am unable to provide the information you have requested within the prescribed timeframe for response, what should I do?

If you are not able to provide the outstanding information within the prescribed timeframe for response, we kindly ask a letter/statement to be attached to your ImmiAccount (before the due date) requesting an extension and we will process the request.

The department recognises that some services relating to the visa application process may be impacted by COVID-19 and a range of services we rely on may be unavailable.  While these services are unavailable, many applicants cannot meet visa and citizenship requirements. As such, applicants will be given additional time to complete checks and provide the requested information.

Can I apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) while travel restrictions are in place? 

While strict travel restrictions are in place for all countries due to COVID-19, certain passport holders may be able to apply for an ETA as part of the Australian ETA mobile app pilot. See: I want to apply for a visa

For more information about the ETA and how to apply, see: Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

After you have applied for an ETA, you should wait for a written notification which will be sent to you by email. In most cases, you will be notified of the result of your ETA application immediately. Sometimes there will be a delay before receiving your notification. 

If you have been notified that your ETA cannot be processed or approved without further information, you can:

If you have not yet received your ETA notification, check your emails (including your junk mail folder) for a written notification from us. You may need to wait up to 12 hours after applying to receive your notification. You can also confirm if your application has been approved by checking your visa status through the AustralianETA app (if you applied through the app) or by using the Check an ETA function. 

What if I am only transiting Australia?

Please visit our website for information about visa requirements and travel restrictions in relation to transiting Australia. 

Who do I contact for questions about travelling to Australia?

Please refer to the Home Affairs website for visa information and updates on the COVID-19 travel restrictions.  If you still have questions, the Global Service Centre is available to answer queries Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm local time in your home country by calling +61 2 6196 0196.  International toll costs will apply.

If I am a temporary visa holder in Australia and have not been able to depart Australia as planned, what should I do?

You should apply for a new visa before your current visa expires.  Your visa application will be assessed with consideration to the COVID-19 enhanced border measures and your individual circumstances. Information is available on the Department’s website, https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au.

If your current visa includes a ‘No Further Stay’ condition, you can submit a request to waive this condition and if this is approved, you may lodge an application for a further visa while you are in Australia. Information on how to request a waiver can be found at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/already-have-a-visa/check-visa-details-and-conditions/waivers-and-permissions/no-further-stay-waiver.

Please note it is your responsibility to ensure that you maintain lawful immigration status at all times and to stay in contact with the department in relation to your situation. You can contact the Global Service Centre (GSC) located in Australia on +61 2 61960196, Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm.

I would like to withdraw my application for an Australian visa as I no longer wish to travel.  How do I do this and will I get a refund?

If your Australian visa has not been finalised and you would like to withdraw your application you will need to advise us of this in writing.  You can complete the form 1446 and attach it to your ImmiAccount.  

Visa application charges are paid to assess your application. You cannot get a refund just because your application was not successful or because you have changed your mind about travelling. 

Currently most requests for refunds do not meet regulated criteria, however, the department is considering legislative changes that may allow refunds or fee waivers where individuals have been unable to travel during their visa validity period due to COVID-19 travel restrictions – see more information here.

How do I request a refund for my Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) application?

ETA service charges are not refundable. If you have made a mistake on your ETA, you will need to make a new application (and incur another service charge). The details on an ETA cannot be changed once it has been issued.

If you have further questions about ETAs or wish to request a refund for a duplicate payment please use the Contact Us form on the ETA website

Visa types

Information on visas to Australia can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

Explore visa options on the department's website to help you find the visa most likely to meet your specific circumstances.

Global Talent - Independent program 2019/20

In November 2019 the Australian Government officially launched the Global Talent - Independent program. The program, offering up to 5,000 places (in 2019/20), provides a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia. The program is designed to attract skilled migrants at the top future-focused fields to Australia.

More information on this visa can be found on the Global Talent - Independent program page of the Department of Home Affairs website.

Visa application lodgement

Most visa applications can be lodged online by creating an ImmiAccount. This is our preferred method of visa lodgement to helps us process your application faster.

If you are lodging an application in the US, please refer to the following information before submitting your application:

Please note, you should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a valid visa to travel to Australia. The Department of Home Affairs will not be liable for any financial loss incurred by travellers whose visa application was finalised later than expected, or where an application is not successful.

Beware of Visa Scams

To avoid being scammed, you can check the Register of Migration Agents on the OMARA website, to receive the protections of an OMARA registered Migration Agent.

There are Australian registered migration agents working all around the world. These agents are subject to the same Code of Conduct, professional development and regulations as registered migration agents based in Australia. More information about Australia's efforts to ensure the integrity of the migration advice profession is available at: www.mara.gov.au.