Visiting Australia for tourism or business

Visiting Australia during the coronavirus pandemic

Caps on international passenger flows and travel restrictions have been introduced by the Australian government to protect the health of the Australian community during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes:

•    A travel ban for all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia including people planning to visit Australia for Tourism or to see their family.

•    Exemptions from this travel ban are in place for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members (spouses, dependent children and legal guardians) plus New Zealand citizens who usually reside in Australia.

Caps on international arrivals

All international passenger flight arrivals are being coordinated by the Commonwealth Government with the aim of minimising disruptions to returning Australian citizens and permanent residents but, currently passenger seats are extremely limited and at a premium. The National Cabinet has agreed that existing caps on international passenger arrivals will continue until 24 October 2020 in order to manage and maintain quarantine arrangements as follows: 

•    Melbourne – no international passenger arrivals
•    Sydney – limit of 2,450 passenger arrivals per week
•    Perth – limit of 525 passenger arrivals per week
•    Brisbane - limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week
•    Adelaide – limit of 500 passenger arrivals per week
•    Hobart – no international flights
•    Canberra - passenger limits on each flight assessed on a case by case basis
•    Darwin – passenger limits on each flight assessed on a case by case basis 

Applying for an exemption

If you who have a compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia, you will need to have an exemption from the Australian Border Force Commissioner. Before you apply for permission to travel, you must either hold a valid visa or have applied for a visa. It is recommended you apply at least 4 weeks, but not more than 3 months, before your planned travel. If you are not granted an exemption, you should not continue with your travel plans. If you are granted an exemption, you must take evidence of the exemption decision to the airport.

Quarantine is mandatory

All travellers arriving in Australia are subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility, such as a hotel at their place of arrival. Incoming passengers will be liable for the cost of their quarantine which will vary depending on the state or territory.

•   What type of visitor visa for Australia should I apply for?
•   What are the most Frequently Asked Questions we receive from applicants?
•   How long will it take for my visitor visa application to be decided?
•   Why should I use a professional MARA registered migration agent?
•   How can Concept Australia help me apply for a visitor visa for Australia?    

What type of visitor visa for Australia should I apply for?

Generally, a visitor visa will enable you to enjoy a holiday, visit family or friends or attend business meetings and conferences in Australia.

The type of visa you apply for will depend on your personal circumstances such as pre-existing medical conditions or if you have any criminal convictions, the type of passport you hold, the reason for your visit and the duration of your visit. Note: If you have been offered temporary work in Australia you should consider the Short Stay Specialist 400 visa or the Temporary Skilled Shortage 482 visa.

eVisitor - subclass 651
This visa enables passport holders from the European Economic Area to travel to Australia for stays of up to 3 months during each visit in the 12 months from the date the eVisitor is granted. Eligible passport holders also include Monaco, Republic of San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) do not charge a charge a fee for this visa. 

Visitor e600 visa online application
This visa is for applicants from non-European countries or passport holders from the European Economic Area who are seeking to stay longer than 3 months in Australia. This visa is also appropriate for applicants who have a criminal conviction as it will enable the DHA to assess your eligibility prior to travelling to Australia.

Applying for this visa will require you to provide significantly more information and depending on your circumstances, you may be asked to:
•    Produce evidence of sufficient funds for your visit to Australia
•    Outline the reasons for your visit to Australia
•    Give details of personal or business contacts in Australia
•    Provide documents showing your incentive to depart Australia
•    Show that you have ties such as a job and home in your usual place of residence
•    Undergo health checks
•    Provide a police report if you have any criminal convictions

What are the most Frequently Asked Questions we receive from applicants?

•    How much funds do I need for visiting Australia?
•    Do I need to purchase a return ticket to Australia
•    Do I need a visa to visit Australia if I have a British passport?
•    Can I extend my tourism visa for Australia?
•    Can I visit Australia if I have a criminal conviction?
•    Should I take out travel insurance for my visit to Australia?
•    Will I have access to Medicare in Australia?
•    Can I undertake voluntary work whilst visiting Australia?
•    What type of business activities can I undertake whilst visiting Australia?

How long will it take for my visa to be granted?

Currently, the average processing timetable for an e651 visa is 1 to 2 days and for e600 visas up to 1 month or much longer if you have a criminal record that needs to be investigated by the Visa Assessment Character Consideration Unit in Australia.  

Why should I only use an agent registered with MARA?

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) is managed by the DHA who is responsible for monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents both in and outside Australia. MARA approves continuing professional development activities of all registered agents to ensure they maintain up-to-date knowledge of migration law and procedure so that only the highest level of advice and assistance is provided to prospective applicants.

The DHA strongly advise that if you need assistance with the visa process that you should only appoint an agent who is registered with the MARA. A person who is not registered cannot offer you legal protection and you run the risk of being exposed to migration fraud by someone who has limited knowledge on immigration procedures and who is not accountable for his/her actions.

How can Concept Australia help me apply for a visitor visa for Australia?

We will assess your circumstances and advise which visitor visa best suits your needs and take responsibility for submitting your application to the DHA. Our services include:

•    A preliminary assessment to discuss your visa options
•    Electronic completion of your application form
•    Overview of evidence needed to support your visa application
•    Advice on how to address your conviction history (if applicable)
•    Management of your case until your application is decided

Further information

If you would like to know how we can assist you in obtaining a visitor visa, please telephone Concept Australia on 020 8315 6700.



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What visa options are there?

Choose the best option for you:



Incoming Passenger Card

Visitors arriving in Australia are required to complete and present an Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) at immigration clearance. The IPC is a legal document and you must disclose any current or previous criminal convictions or serious health problems. If you believe your conviction or medical history may result in you being refused entry to Australia you are strongly advised to apply for a subclass 600 visa and declare this information on your visa application form as this will enable the Department of Home Affairs to consider your personal circumstances in advance of your travel which will minimise the risk of being refused entry on arrival in Australia.

If I travel with family, can I include them in my visa application?

No. Each family member has to make a separate visa application even if they are included in your passport and do not hold any other passport.


Can I extend my tourism visa for Australia?

If you want to extend your stay in Australia for tourism purposes you can lodge an e600 visa and will be required to meet all of the following:

  • hold a substantive visa
  • not have condition 8503 'No further stay' imposed on your current visa or been granted an 8503 waiver
  • apply before your current visa has expired
  • meet all the eligibility criteria for the visa



When will I have to enter Australia?

Visitor visas when granted are usually valid for 12 months and during this period you can enter Australia and be able to remain for the authorised specified period which is usually 3, 6 or 12 months.


What are the benefits of using a MARA registered migration agent?

The decision to engage a migration agent is a personal choice which will depend on the complexity of your visa application and whether you are confident that you have fully understood all the rules and regulations which will be applied to your case.

If you do need assistance with the visa process, the Department of Home Affairs strongly recommend that you appoint an agent who is registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). A registered migration agent must satisfy a strict code of conduct and:

  • maintain current knowledge of migration law and procedure
  • keep a professional library with direct access to migration regulations via Legend
  • undertake continuous professional development in order to maintain knowledge of migration regulations and policy


An agent who is not registered with MARA cannot offer you any legal protection and is not accountable for his/her actions and therefore might:

  • make false claims about your chances of success
  • give you incorrect advice
  • have limited knowledge about current Australian visa legislation and procedures
  • increase your risk of being exposed to migration fraud
  • charge fees which are unreasonable and excessive.
Can I undertake voluntary work whilst visiting Australia?

In general a visitor visa does not allow you to work in Australia, however, you might be able to work as a volunteer if:

  • your main purpose in visiting Australia is tourism and the voluntary work is incidental to tourism
  • the work is genuinely voluntary and you are not paid for it, other than for meals, accommodation or out of pocket living expenses
  • the work would not otherwise be done in return for wages by an Australian resident.
Can I undertake business activities whilst visiting Australia?

You can engage in business visitor activities while in Australia provided you do not work for or provide services to a business or organisation and do not sell goods or services to the public.

Business visitor activities include:

  • making general business or employment enquiries
  • Undertaking research in preparation for a future business visa application
  • investigating, negotiating, signing or reviewing a business contract
  • activities carried out as part of an official government-to-government visit
  • participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars, as long as you are not being paid by the organisers for your participation.

Visitor Visa Enquiry Form

If you are considering applying for a Visitor visa for Australia, please complete and submit the form below.This form is particularly relevant for applicants wishing to stay in Australia for a period of more than 3 months or who have criminal convictions and would like their circumstances to be assessed before making departure arrangements.

The information you provide will be treated in confidence and will not be stored onto a data-base or distributed to third parties.

Concept Australia will contact you to discuss your circumstances and to explain the visa process together with costs for submitting an application for a Visitor visa for Australia.




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