The Australian visitor visa program is designed to enable the entry of genuine tourist, business and family visitors. The principles on which the program is based are that visitors must:

  • genuinely intend only to visit Australia temporarily
  • not work unlawfully
  • not engage in studies or training for more than 3 months
  • have, or have access to, adequate means to support themselves during the period of the visit so that they do not need to access Australia's social welfare system and
  • leave Australia on or before the date their visa ceases, unless they make a valid application to stay for a longer period to the benefit of Australia

Visitor visa (subclass 600)

This visa has four streams, being:

  • Tourist stream: for persons intending to visit Australia for tourism or other recreational activities
  • Sponsored Family stream: for persons who are sponsored by eligible family members   
  • Business Visitor stream: for persons intending to undertake business visitor activity such as making general business or employment enquiries, entering into a contract or attending a conference or trade fair
  • Approved Destination Status: for nationals of the People's Republic of China

Subclass 600 visa's can be granted for 3, 6 or 12 month periods, although parents of Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens who have applied for a Parent visa (subclass 103), may be granted a visitor visa on more generous terms, for up to five years. This is because of the time currently being taken to process subclass 103 visa's.

E-visitor (subclass 651) 

The e-visitor visa is an authority to travel to Australia and caters for tourists and business visitors. Applicants must hold a passport from an eligible country to apply for and be granted this visa. Eligible passport countries are listed as below: 

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of San Marino, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom – British Citizen, Vatican City.

Passport holders from the above countries can apply for this visa online. E-visitor visa's are normally granted for a period of 12 months with the maximum stay being 3 months during any one visit. The Department of Immigration don't currently charge a fee to process this application.

Electronic Travel Authority visa (subclass 601)

This visa is similar to the subclass 651. It also caters for tourist and business visitors and applicants must also be passport holders of eligible countries, listed below. 

Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR of China), Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan*, The Netherlands, United Kingdom—British Citizen, United Kingdom—British National (Overseas), United States, Vatican City

However only passport holders from certain countries can apply online. These are:

Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong (SAR of China), Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United States

Electronic Travel Authority visa's are granted for 12 months and visa holders are able to enter and stay in Australia for up to 3 months during any one visit.