Misconception v/s reality: Busting myths about Australian visa application
Every summer, the Sharma family in New Delhi plans a vacation to a foreign country. Sachin Sharma, a corporate honcho, and his wife, Supriya, a college professor, want to expose their two little boys—Vihaan and Ayaan—to the idea of travelling, early on. Also, who doesn’t enjoy a break from a mundane routine, right?
The annual two-week trip is usually planned months in advance. However, this year, the couple couldn’t find the time to do so, owing to hectic schedules at work.
Although they had thought of travelling to Australia, they changed their minds at the last minute.
“I have heard that the Australian visa takes a lot of time to get processed. Also, my wife and I don’t have time to go for a personal interview to the Visa Application Centre. Therefore, we decided to head to South-east Asia instead,” says Sharma.
Well, Sharma and many other Indian tourists like him would be surprised to know that getting an Australian visa is not a mammoth task!
Read on, as we bust a few myths related to the application process.
Myth 1: You will have to stand in a long queue
Fact: This is not true! In mid-2017, the Department of Home Affairs (formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection), Australia, extended the opportunity for online lodging of visitor visa for all Indian nationals, and strongly urged the visitors to apply online for their visas. You need not stand in a queue to submit your visa application.
You can apply for your Australian tourist or business visa (subclass 600) anytime, anywhere. With your permission, the online form can also be completed by a third party such as a family member here in India, or in Australia or even a travel agent. All you need to do is visit ImmiAccount at https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login, create your ImmiAccount (which can be used to track your application, and for future applications too), fill in the visitor form, submit the scans of your documents, make the online payment, and, your visa application is submitted! Convenient, isn’t it?
Myth 2: Factor in time for personal interview and biometrics at Visa Application Centre
Fact: For Indian nationals, there is no need to visit the Department of Home Affairs or the Visa Application Centre. Yes, you read that right! This means no last-minute rush, no anxiety or stress about factoring in time for a visa interview or even having to travel to the Australian High Commission. If further information or an interview is essential at all for a candidate, it will all be managed through your online ImmiAccount, over the phone, or by email.
P.S.: One of the most common reasons as to why applicants are contacted is because they fail to fill in all the information in the application form. Therefore, you need to be mindful of this.
Myth 3: Post the online visa lodgement introduction, it takes forever to process your visa
Fact: The visa processing time for both tourist and business visitor visas has reduced! Based on the latest data from global visa processing times*, the majority of subclass 600 tourist visas are being finalised in less than 19 days, whilst the majority of subclass 600 business visitor visa are being finalised in less than eight days. Online lodgements are processed even earlier.
For most Indian travellers, if the application is complete and all your documents are in order, including any health and character checks if required, there should be no reason for your visa to be delayed.
If you do need your visa processed more quickly (as early as within 48 hours), you can apply under the fast track service. The charge for fast-track visitor visas is A$ 1,000 (approx. INR 51,000).
PS: If you are travelling with someone who needs a health check, such as travellers over 75 years of age, please factor in the time required to do a medical check-up at the authorised centres.
*Processing times as of June 2018. Processing time may vary depending on factors such as the peak processing period in particular locations. Click here to view the current global visa and citizenship processing times.
Myth 4: Department of Home Affairs will need your passport
Fact: You don’t need to submit your passport for an Australian visa. All visas are processed electronically, verified online as you check in to your flight and on arrival to Australia. For the visa application process, you only need to submit a scanned copy of the first and last page of your passport as identity proof, as well as scans of stamped passport pages to verify your travel history. This means you can apply for an Australian visa while you are travelling with your passport. This is quite handy for frequent business flyers! Goodbye passport-waiting time!
Myth 5: Do you have the money?
Fact: For a visitor visa (subclass 600), the charges are A$ 140, which is roughly INR 7,150. The standard visa allows travel within 12 months, multiple entries, with a stay of up to 3 months. For applicants who travel frequently to Australia, the standard visa allows travel within 3 years. Longer stays can be requested and are considered based on individual cases. If you apply online, there are no additional fees.
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