Anyone who wishes to visit Australia requires a valid legal document from the government, called visa. There are different types of visas which are granted to meet individual requirements. The grant of a specific visa depends upon the qualifying criteria which individuals have to satisfy. There are exceptions to this rule. In case of Citizens of Papua New Guinea who live in the Torres Strait the requirement of visa is waived. Individuals who are citizens of New Zealand enjoy a special status and can travel, live and work in Australia on special category visa which is automatically issued. They therefore need not apply for a visa. However there are some exceptions. New Zealand citizens are therefore advised to clarify and enquire about visa restrictions which are applicable to them before leaving for Australia.
Citizens of all other nation are required to hold a valid visa while visiting, staying, studying or working in Australia. Each category of applicant is issued with visa pertaining to his or her specific circumstances. One must therefore ensure that they apply for the right visa before travelling to Australia. For example, a person visiting Australia for a holiday must be in possession of a visitor visa. On the other hand a business visitor would require a Business visitor visa. Those wishing to mix business with pleasure may have to judiciously apply for a visa since they would be visiting Australia as a tourist as well as a businessman. Sometimes the exact criteria for applying for a visa may be difficult to ascertain. It is always advisable to approach a professional team of experts who specialise in visa application and processing. There are some visas which must be applied for while residing within the country.
Visas can be classified under four different categories. In cases where citizens of other countries wish to settle down permanently in Australia, they must apply for a Permanent visa. Those visiting Australia on a temporary basis as businessmen or tourists can apply for a temporary visa which is valid for a short duration. The third type of visa is called ‘Protection Visa’ since this is issued to people who enjoy refugee status. These three categories of visas are termed as substantive visas. The last category is called a ‘Bridging visa’. This visa is usually granted for those visitors who are already residing inside the country. Generally these visas are issued to people who are awaiting a substantive visa. For example, a person on a temporary visa may get married to an Australian citizen thus entitling him to a substantive visa. During the time of pendency, the individual may be issued a ‘Bridging visa’ in order to entitle him to a legal stay in the country.
All visitors to Australia must be in possession of a valid visa. To avoid unnecessary paper work and ensure speedy and efficient processing of visas, Australian Department of Immigration and citizenship has advanced information technology tools in place. Visitors are issued with an electronic visa and they only need to remember their visa grant number. This also ensures that the Department captures the latest information regarding the location and movement of visitors.
The place from which a visitor applies for a visa is important. In order to avoid disappointment due to invalidation , applicants should ensure that they apply for the visa from the designated place, either from inside or outside Australia.
Can a person on visitor visa extend his stay in Australia?
This is a tricky question. While some categories of people can get their visa extended due to extenuating circumstances, there is a possibility that a visa is not granted extension. One must carefully examine their visa to ensure that they have not been issued a “no further stay” condition. Individuals are under the erroneous impression that all visas are regularly extended and they could get the same done when inside Australia. This impression is created because they may have heard of someone who has been granted an extension. This may not be the case when no further stay condition applies to some individuals.
In some exceptional cases even ‘no further stay’ condition may be waived. In such cases one must be able to conclusively prove that they have sufficient mitigating circumstances or situations which have developed dramatically since the issuance of their original visa . Compassionate grounds may be cited though they are considered only in the rarest cases.