Last updated 25 August 2016

Non-citizens entering Australia are required to have a visa, which is a permit that can allow either a temporary or permanent stay. Visas are issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Visa labels in passports are being rapidly phased out in favour of electronically recorded visa permissions.

An authorised officer may grant a visa to a person for a single journey, a specific number of journeys or for any number of journeys to or from Australia while the visa remains in force.

A person who enters Australia as the spouse of a person with a visa, and whose name is included in the passport or other identity document of that person, is deemed to be included in the visa if that visa is so endorsed (s 83(1) Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (Migration Act)).

A child who enters Australia with a parent, and whose name is included in the passport or other document of identity of the parent, is deemed to be included in any visa granted to that parent if the visa is endorsed as such (s 83(2) Migration Act). A child born in Australia to such parents will be granted at birth a visa of the same kind as its parents (s 78 Migration Act).

A person is unlikely to be granted a visa on arrival. A non-citizen who enters Australia without a visa and who is not immigration-cleared, who overstays a visa or who becomes unlawful in some other way, is an unlawful non-citizen (s 14(1) Migration Act) and may be removed from Australia.