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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Planning a trip Down Under? Here’s everything that you need to know about the visa application process!

In 2017, the visa application process for Indian passport holders was made online. This means that you can apply for an Australian visa from anywhere and at any time.

brand-stories Updated: Aug 13, 2019 15:34 IST
Promotional Feature, HT Brand Studio
Promotional Feature, HT Brand Studio
Melbourne's skyline at dusk.
Melbourne's skyline at dusk.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
         

Australia is a land of pristine waters, surf beaches, laidback cafes, and cute koalas. Do you fancy diving with the crocodiles at Darwin, snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef or climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge? Or, just enjoying a glass of ginger beer at Hunter Valley and feasting on fresh seafood at the azure beaches of Sunshine Coast?

Whatever might be on your agenda, you need to plan in advance to ensure that your first-ever trip to this fascinating continent goes as smoothly as ever.

One of the key steps, of course, is learning the intricacies of the visa application process. And, fret not! It isn’t as daunting as you might think it to be.

Here’s all you need to know about the application process for an Australian visa, under both the visitor and business categories.

Easy application process

In 2017, the visa application process for Indian passport holders was simplified and made online. This means that you can apply for an Australian visa (tourist or business under subclass 600) directly to the Department of Home Affairs from anywhere and at any time.

That’s not all. You can even authorize a family member or a travel agent in India or in Australia to complete the process on your behalf.

The steps are simple. Visit the ImmiAccount portal at http://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login and create a login for yourself. This account will be used for the entire process and allow you to track your application and apply for visas in the future. A visitor form available on the link needs to be filled and submitted along with scanned copies of the required documents. After that, you only need to make the fee payment to complete the process.

Just make sure that all the requested information has been provided with the application.

Surfing is a way of living in Australia and young and mature sporty women go surfing every morning.
Surfing is a way of living in Australia and young and mature sporty women go surfing every morning. ( Getty Images )

A host of other conveniences

For Australian visas, one doesn’t need to go to the Department of Home Affairs or a visa center for any biometrics or interview. The process can be completed online, unless the documentation is not complete or a clarification is needed.In such a case, the applicant will be intimated via a phone call or on the ImmiAccount login.

What’s even better is that you can keep your passport with you, and continue traveling to other locations while the visa application is under process.

All that’s needed is a scanned copy of the first and last page of the passport and scans of the visa chops to show your recent travel history, and you are good to go! The visa issued is electronic, and can be verified online. This is particularly convenient for those who travel extensively for work and don’t want their passports taken away, as the same can affect their work schedules.

Twelve Apostles at sunset. Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia.
Twelve Apostles at sunset. Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. ( Getty Images/iStockphoto )

Short processing time

You don’t need to wait endlessly for an Australian visa either. The introduction of the online system has made the process simpler and faster. Recent data on the global visa processing times shows that processing times for both tourist and business visas have come down with the introduction of the online process. A majority of the subclass 600 tourist visas were processed in less than eight days and the subclass 600 tourist visas were rolled out in less than 15 days. There is also an option for fast-track processing, where the visa can be granted in less than 48 hours.

Of course, this urgent service comes at an extra charge. Applications for fast visas are processed for a fee of A$ 1,000 (about Rs 51,000) over and above the normal visa fee of A$ 145 (Rs 7,100) for a visitor visa, which allows travel within one year and a stay of up to three months.

So, pack your bags and get set to indulge your senses in what Australia has to offer!

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 18:02 IST

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