Let’s start with the tourist visa. Tourist visa is obviously for tourist reasons, and it is usually issued with 1 year validity and it is a multiple entry visa, for each entry, you can stay up to 3 months. It means from the date of issue, you can enter Australia as many times as you need within 1 year. From the date of each entry, you can stay up to 3 months.
It is wise to mention if you would like to take some course in Australia, for example, to improve your English, as soon as it is within 3 months, it is fine to have a tourist visa. But if you main purpose is to study in Australia, also study longer than 3 months, you should apply for a student visa.
Some limited volunteer work is also allowed with this visa type, but you are absolutely not allowed to earn money on it. It is OK if you get accommodation and food for free, some pocket money is also fine.
2. Working holiday visa
Let’s move to the next popular visa type: working holiday visa. Working holiday visa is designed for young people between 18 to 30 years old. So if you are young than 18 or has passed your 31 years old birth date, it is not possible for you to apply. The purpose of this visa type is to encourage young people to experience Australia more than a tourist. With this visa type, you are allowed to work and earn money, which you can use to finance your stay in Australia.
This visa type is very attractive because you can work, and you can work as much as you want, but with the same employer, you can only work maximum 6 months.
Working holiday visa is valid for 1 year from the date of issue, which means you have to enter Australia within 1 year. From the first entry date, you can stay up to 1 year. It allows multiple entry.
It is important that you make up your mind first before you apply for this visa. Because you can only have this visa once in life time and after you get the visa, you cannot withdraw or cancel it. We have seen in some cases, after the applicant got the visa, he changed his mind because he got a job in the home country and will not use this visa within 1 year, which means he will never be able to get this visa again in the future.
3. Long stay visa (subclass 600)
What happens if you want to stay in Australia for longer than 3 months and you are not eligible for working holiday visa? Let us introduce subclass 600, we also call it long stay visa.
Subclass 600 visa has two major functions. Function number one is to allow travelers stay longer than 3 months in the country. It is usually issued with 3, 6 and 12 months validity. In order to get this visa, you have to convince Immigration: your purpose is for temporary stay and you can finance your stay in Australia.
The reason is very obvious. Tourist usually will not stay longer than 3 months but you are applying for 6 months or even 12 months, Immigration is going to wonder what your real purpose is, especially they are interested in your financial ability. The application will be rejected if Immigration believes you cannot support your stay in Australia, in other words, you are going to work illegally.
The other function of this visa type is to extend your current visa while you are inside Australia. For example, after your student visa expires, you plan to travel around in Australia. The big difference between this visa type and other visa type (tourist visa and working holiday visa) is: you can apply for it when you are inside Australia.
You have to make sure to make the application before your current visa expires. After the application is lodged, a bridging visa will be issued to you until Immigration makes the decision on your application.
In general, Australian Immigration is very considerate and provided many visa types to suit your needs. But Immigration is also very strict, you need to have the correct visa and follow the visa rules, otherwise you can be refused entry, deported from the country.
Bio: this post is written by Emma White, one of the most experienced Australian visa consultant at Auvisa.org, which provides professional visa consultancy to Australia.