Under Australia’s universal visa system, all visitors to Australia must have a valid visa to travel to and enter Australia (other than New Zealand passport holders who will normally be granted a Special Category visa on arrival, provided they meet health and character requirements; and permanent residents of Norfolk Island who may be granted a Permanent Resident of Norfolk Island visa on arrival).
There are many visa options available to people wishing to visit Australia. The appropriate visa option will depend, amongst other things, on the person’s purpose for visiting Australia.
If you are planning to visit Australia to attend a business event such as a conference, seminar, trade fair or expo as a participant or an attendee (that is, you will not be working, entertaining, or being paid to contribute), you may be eligible for one of the following Visitor visas:
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601)
- Visitor (subclass 651)
- Visitor visa (subclass 600) in the Business Visitor stream.
You must not be intending to:
- work for or provide services to a business or organisation in Australia or
- sell goods or services to the Australian public.
While you must not be paid by an organiser for your participation in the event, you may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses such as accommodation and meals.
A Visitor visa may also be appropriate if you are undertaking a genuine unpaid volunteer role, but only if:
- the voluntary work is incidental to the main purpose of your visit to Australia as a tourist
- the work would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident
- the work is genuinely voluntary and you are not paid for it, other than for meals, accommodation or out of pocket living expenses
- the main benefit of the voluntary work is not to a commercial organisation
- the voluntary work is short term (generally three months) and of benefit to the community.
Further information about the specific requirements of Visitor visas is available on the Department’s website.
Temporary activity visa (subclass 408)
Note: To apply for a Temporary Activity visa you must make an online visa application through ImmiAccount. If you do not already have an ImmiAccount, you will need to create one. To login to ImmiAccount or to create an account refer to the Department’s website.
Speaker, presenter, exhibitor, or other contributor
If you have been invited to participate in the event by an Australia organisation and you are contributing to the event, for example: as a speaker, presenter, or exhibitor, you may be eligible for the Temporary Activity visa as an ‘Invited Participant’.
If you apply from outside Australia and intend to stay in Australia for three months or less, you do not need to be sponsored for this visa. However, you must provide a letter of invitation from the individual or organisation in Australia responsible for the event, which identifies:
- you (as the visa applicant) and any family members travelling with you
- the event/s, activity or work you will be involved
- the duties in relation to event/s, activity or work you will be involved
- the date/s, location/s of the event/s activity or work.
Visa options for conferences, seminars, trade fairs or expos – Version Feb 2017 | 3
To apply for this visa as an ‘Invited Participant’, please select the following Activity type: Invited for other social/cultural activity on page 2 of the online application form.
Further information about the specific requirements of the Temporary Activity visa (subclass 408) is available on the Department’s website.
General information for visa applicants
Applying for a visa
Visa application forms are available on the Department’s website and many applications can be lodged online. Details about how to apply are included in the information about the particular visa you wish to apply for. A list of visas is available on the Department’s website.
Health and character requirements
All visa applicants must be assessed against Australia’s health and character requirements. These requirements are designed to protect the safety and security of the Australian community.
As part of the visa application process you may be required to undertake a medical examination, chest x-ray and/or other health checks.
The Department will advise you of the applicable health checks (if any), based on your individual circumstances. Information on health checks which may apply to you is available on the Department’s website.
As part of your visa application, you might be required to provide a police clearance certificate or other evidence to satisfy character requirements. Information about character requirements and police certificate requirements is available on the Department’s website.
Requirements for applicants under 18 years of age
Visa applicants who are under 18 years of age may be required to satisfy additional criteria to ensure that their interests are protected and that Australia meets its international obligations in relation to minors.
Information about documents that may be required for persons younger than 18 years of age is available on the Department’s website. Please refer to the following forms listed on the Department’s website.
– Form 1229 – Consent form to grant an Australian visa to a child under the age of 18 years
– Form 1257 – Undertaking declaration.
General information for visa applicants – Version Feb 2017 | 2
If you are lodging a visa application in a selected location, regardless of your nationality, you may need to provide your biometrics in relation to your visa application, unless exempt. Information about Biometrics collection is available on the Department’s website.
Creating an ImmiAccount
ImmiAccount is a single point of entry into the Department’s online visa services. Information about ImmiAccount is available on the Department’s website.
Visa processing times
Information about visa processing times is available on the Department’s website.
Immigration clearance requirements
On arrival in Australia, you must identify yourself, present your travel documents, and complete an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC). The IPC requires travellers to declare their health status and any prior criminal convictions (amongst other declarations). If you do not meet immigration clearance requirements, you may be refused entry to Australia. Information about Australia’s immigration clearance processes is available on the Department’s website.
Obligations of visa holders
You must comply with your visa validity and visa conditions while in Australia. When you receive your Australian visa, you are issued with a visa grant notice that explains the conditions of your visa (including your approved period of stay in Australia and your entry requirements). Your visa may be cancelled if you breach any of the conditions of your visa. You are advised to carry your visa grant notice when travelling for your own reference.
If your visa expires while you are still in Australia, you will become an unlawful non-citizen and may be detained and removed from Australia. You may also be subject to an exclusion period, which could prevent you from re-entering Australia.
For information on countries subject to travel sanctions, please refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) website. Nationals of these countries may not be permitted to travel to and enter Australia. For further information about travel sanctions, please refer to this page.