The Visitor (Subclass 600) visa is the Australian tourist visa, being a temporary visa permitting the holder to travel to Australia as a tourist, to see family and friends, or to undertake a “business visitor activity”.
Ordinarily it is valid for 12 months from the date of grant to enable the holder to travel to Australia, and stay for up to 3 months per entry. If it is granted with a multi-entry facility, this would allow the person to enter Australia multiple times during the visa validity.
Citizens of certain countries have access to “streamlined” versions of this visa such as the eVisitor and the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Further discussion on these visas can be found here.
What is the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa and its streams?
The Visitor (Subclass 600) visa has various streams, including:
- Tourist stream;
- Business Visitor stream;
- Sponsored Family stream;
- Approved Destination Status stream; and
- Frequent traveller stream.
This article outlines the eligibility criteria to apply for the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa under the “tourist” stream.
For completeness, the last two streams only apply to citizens of China, the “sponsored family” stream applies to those who have Australian family members that are willing to ‘sponsor’ them, and we have an article about the Business Visitor stream here.
Eligibility for Visitor (Subclass 600) visa
Generally speaking, to be eligible to apply for a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa, you must:
- Intend to visit Australia or remain in Australia to visit an Australian citizen or permanent resident (partner, spouse, de facto partner, child, sibling), or for any other purpose that is not related to business or medical treatment;
- genuinely intend to stay temporarily in Australia for which the purpose is granted (“genuine temporary entrant” criteria);
- have adequate means (or access to adequate means) to support yourself during the period of your intended stay in Australia; and
- satisfy identity, health, and character criteria.
If you’re visiting some family members, the Department may require you to be sponsored and/or lodge a bond (which would be forfeited if you don’t leave the country).
What do you normally need to provide?
In addition to standard identity documents, you would generally want to provide documents to evidence that you satisfy the “genuine temporary entrant” criteria. This may include evidence of your:
- business ownership (and turnover);
- assets (property, business, vehicles, bank accounts etc.);
- international travel (particularly to other “developed” countries);
- study, familial and/or other commitments in your home country; and
- activities in Australia (travel itinerary, letter of support from friends/businesses, accommodation/flights etc.).
The above is always dependent on your circumstances, and you may need to provide more or less of the above documents.
For example, if you’re the parent of an Australian citizen child – you may wish to provide evidence that your child is an Australian citizen, evidence of your familial relationship (such as a birth certificate), and that you’re intending to visit them and stay with them.
What happens after the visa is granted?
Once the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa is granted, there are two things you need to be aware of:
- the validity period, stay period, and entry-facilities of the visa; and
- the conditions applicable to the visa.
The Visitor (Subclass 600) visa is ordinarily valid for 12 months from the date of grant, permits the holder to stay in Australia for up to 3 months from the date of entry, and has multi-entry facilities. The Department can grant this with single entry facility, and/or for a lower duration of time / stay period.
In certain limited circumstances, it is possible to request for flexibility to this and request amendments to this. For example, parents of Australian Citizens with various compliant travel to Australia, could potentially receive a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa valid for 3 years, with a 12 month stay period per entry. It is discretionary on the Department and also depends on your circumstances.
On approval, the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa will be subject to conditions requiring the holder:
- not engage in work in Australia (condition 8101); and
- not engage in any studies or training for more than 3 months (condition 8201).
There are also some discretionary conditions that may be imposed, including condition:
- 8501 – to maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance while in Australia (see here);
- 8503 – where after entering Australia, the holder will not be entitled to be granted a substantive visa (other than a protection visa) while the holder remains in Australia; and
- 8558 – to not stay in Australia for more than 12 months in any period of 18 months.
How much does it cost?
The lodgement fees for the offshore Visitor (Subclass 600) visa is AUD $150.
Each person must apply for the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa separately, so the above fee applies per application. For example, a family of four comprising of two adults and two children would need to pay AUD $600 for the whole family.
How long are the processing times?
As at the time of writing, the Department’s stated processing times for Visitor (Subclass 600) visas under the “tourism” stream are such that:
- 25% are finalised in 16 days;
- 50% are finalised in 39 days;
- 75% are finalised in 63 days; and
- 90% are finalised in 4 months.
This captures the time from the date of lodgment of the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa application to finalisation.
If you’re thinking about coming to Australia as a tourist and require some assistance in applying for a Visitor (Subclass 600) visa, please feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 to obtain further guidance.