A Visitor visa is a temporary visa allowing a stay in Australia of up to three, six or twelve months. This visa has four streams:
- Tourist stream
- Sponsored Family stream
- Business Visitor stream
- Approved Destination Status stream.
A person can lodge an application for a Visitor visa online if they hold a passport from an eligible country. An application can be made from outside Australia, or from inside Australia if the person holds a substantive visa that does not have a ‘no further stay’ condition (8503) attached.
An application for a Visitor visa must be accompanied by the required documents. A document checklist is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website. That website also includes information about the application forms, which need to be filled out for the different streams of the Visitor visa.
A person can apply for this visa if they are intending to visit family or to travel to Australia for recreational purposes. An application can be made on-shore or off-shore, but the applicant must be in the same place at the time of making the application and at the time a decision is made on the application.
Sponsored Family stream
A person can apply for this visa if they are intending to visit relatives in Australia. To apply for this visa, a person must be sponsored by a family member who is an adult (over 18 years) Australian citizen or a permanent resident, who has been settled in Australia for a reasonable period (usually two years). An applicant can also be sponsored by a member of an Australian parliament, a local government mayor or an authorised person representing an Australian government, or Australian state or territory government department or agency. A sponsor cannot sponsor more than one person at the same time, unless the applicants are members of the same family unit. A sponsor might be asked to provide a security bond, which will usually be between $5000 and $15 000 per person. A sponsor must guarantee that the applicant will leave Australia before their visa expires. If the visa holder overstays, the sponsor is not able to sponsor another visitor in the same visa class for five years. The applicant must be outside Australia when applying for this visa and when a decision is made in relation to the visa.
Business Visitor stream
This stream is for business people who would like to travel to Australia for a short business visit to undertake negotiations or participate in a conference. The applicant must establish their business background and that they have a good business reason for travel to Australia. An applicant must be outside Australia when they apply for this visa and when the visa is decided. A sponsor is not required.
Approved Destination Status stream
This stream is for people from the People’s Republic of China who are travelling in an organised tour group. The applicant must be a citizen of China and must be in China when they apply for this visa and when the visa is decided. An application must be made through an agent registered under the Approved Destination Status Scheme as part of a group tour following an approved itinerary. A sponsor is not required. This visa has a ‘no further stay’ condition (8503) attached.