Everyone who enters Australia must have a valid passport or other acceptable travel document. Citizens and residents of all countries (besides New Zealand) must apply for a visa prior to entering Australia. Once you have obtained a visa and have entered Australia, you may apply to extend your visa for up to an additional six months if necessary.
Military personnel from certain designated countries, along with their partners and their dependents may enter Australia without a visa by presenting their military ID cards and Movement Orders along with valid passports and completed Incoming Passenger Cards.
If you are a citizen or legal resident of several countries (Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United States of America), you are eligible to apply for a ETA (Visitor) (Subclass 976) visa which allows you to remain in Australia for up to 3 months. ETA visas are electronically stored records linked to your passport number and are accessible to airlines, travel agencies and Australian border agents. There is no charge for the visa, however, a service charge for processing the visa applies.
You will not receive a paper visa or a stamp on your passport. Visa holders receive confirmation of the visa for your records, but the information is stored electronically. The visa is valid for 12 months after the date of issue or the expiration date of your passport, whichever is shorter, and cannot be extended.
If you want to remain in Australia after your ETA expiration date, you must apply for a new visa at least two weeks before your visa expires. After you complete your application, you may remain in Australia legally until the processing for your visa extension application is completed, even if the date falls after the expiration date of your original visa.
If you are not eligible for an ETA visa, you may qualify for an eVisitor visa. Individuals who hold passports from the European Union, Iceland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom as well as passport holders of several other European countries qualify for eVisitor visas. The eVisitor visa allows stays of up to three months and is free of charge.
All other visitors to Australia must apply for the e676 Tourist visa. The e676 Tourist visa allows stays of up to three, six or 12 months, depending on the purpose of the visa and the personal circumstances of the applicant.
For all Student Subclass visa applications, visas will be assigned according to one of five assessment level. Your level is dependent on your country of residence and your planned study program.
Only Australian permanent residents are eligible for a Certificate of Evidence of Resident Status (CERS). A CERS is an official certificate confirms your status as an Australian permanent resident. It verifies your eligibility to live and work in Australia.