COVID-19 – Current restrictions on travel to Australia and changes to visa processing services
From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.
All persons, including current visa holders, who are not Australian citizens, permanent residents or immediate family members cannot travel to Australia at this time.
Please see the following page on the Department of Home Affairs website for more information: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/coming-australia. Travel restrictions are subject to change and you should check the website regularly. See below for detail on exemptions.
During this period:
- All visa processing will be delayed until further notice, including all Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) applications and all other applications previously lodged with the Australian High Commission.
- Citizenship by descent applications can be lodged online. For more information see: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/citizenship/become-a-citizen/by-descent. You will be notified in writing if your Citizenship by descent application is approved.
Travel Restriction Exemptions for Visa Holders
Limited exemptions apply for some visa holders.
- You can travel if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia.
- You can travel if you are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia and can demonstrate your residency.
- If you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident but are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident (spouse, dependent or legal guardian), you may apply for an exemption, but only if you hold a visa.
- Partner and Child visa holders (except for Prospective Marriage visa holders) may travel to Australia
If you are the immediate family member (spouse, dependent child or legal guardian) of an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and you hold a temporary visa, you must obtain an exemption from the ABF Commissioner before you attempt to travel to Australia.
For more information on the travel ban and to apply for an exemption, visit the Home Affairs website: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/coming-australia (link to exemption application towards the bottom of the page).
If you do not hold a visa
If you do not hold a visa you cannot travel to Australia. Apply for a visa and provide proof of your relationship with an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Apply for a visa through this website: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-finder.
If you urgently need to travel to Australia you can email us at [email protected], if you are the immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident. We will not otherwise respond to your request unless you demonstrate compelling/compassionate circumstances that justify urgent travel. Please quote your passport number in the subject line.
If we grant you a visa you must not travel until advised that you are exempt from the travel restriction.
Apply for the exemption here: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/departmental-forms/online-forms/covid19-enquiry-form.
All visa holders and applicants should continue to monitor the Department of Home Affairs website for any changes in travel restrictions to Australia.
Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa additional 2000 places and online lodgement from 1 July 2019
- On 1 July 2019 the Department of Home Affairs opened availability for 2,500 Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visas.
- Applicants must lodge online. For further information about applying please visit the Department of Home Affairs website.
- After your visa is lodged, you may receive a letter asking you to provide Personal Identifiers (PIDS). This means you will need to make an appointment to enrol your biometrics at VFS. Please visit the following link for more information: https://www.vfsglobal.com/australia/singapore/biometric_collection.html
Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)
The ETA is an electronically stored authority to travel to Australia for short-term visits or business entry. It replaces the visa label or stamp in a passport and removes the need for application forms. A list of eligible passports (including Singapore) can be found here.
How to obtain an ETA
1. Online through the Australian Government's ETA system (www.eta.immi.gov.au) or
2. Contact your travel agent or airline who can apply on your behalf. (Additional fees may be charged.)
Most ETAs are issued immediately.
You should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia. The department will not be liable for any financial loss incurred by clients whose visa application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.
In a small number of cases, some additional processing will be required and clients will receive a message asking them to check on the status of their application after 12 hours. If you have received this message, please wait for this timeframe before you check again to confirm whether your application has been successful. As part of the application process you will be issued with a reference number that you can use to check your ETA status. Please do not submit the application again. If you do, the result will be the same.
ETA Application Not Approved
If you receive a message indicating that your application for an ETA has not been approved, you will need to apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) so that we can investigate further.
ETAs for Taiwanese Passport Holders Living in Singapore
Taiwanese ordinary passport holders living in Singapore are not able to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) online and must apply at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC). To lodge an application, please provide:
- a scanned copy of the bio-data page of your passport;
- a completed ETA additional information form;
- your Singapore NRIC/FIN card (front and back sides).
You will be advised of the outcome of your ETA application by email. The processing time is 3 working days.
The ETA will be valid for travel to Australia for 12 months from the date of issue and will allow for multiple entries and a maximum stay of three months on each arrival. See: www.homeaffairs.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/601-
Taiwanese ordinary passport holders in Taiwan may apply for an ETA through authorised travel agents. Taiwanese ordinary passports show the Personal Identity Number on the bio-data page.
Please Note: Taiwanese compatriot passports and official/diplomatic passports are not acceptable travel documents for travel to Australia. Taiwanese compatriot passports do not show the Personal Identity Number in the bio-data page of the passport.
However, if Taiwanese compatriot passport holders have evidence of a right of re-entry to the country of origin or a third country they can use their compatriot passports to travel to Australia and should apply for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) instead of an ETA.
Beware of Visa Scams
There are Australian registered migration agents working all around the world. These agents are subject to the same Code of Conduct, professional development and regulations as registered migration agents based in Australia. More information about Australia’s efforts to ensure the integrity of the migration advice profession is available at: www.mara.gov.au
Visitor Visa (subclass 600) - Long Validity Option for Singapore Nationals
Singaporean citizens now have access to a new long validity Visitor visa (subclass 600) that allows multiple entries and has a validity period of up to six years. Refer to the Australian Visa Application (AVAC) website for further information.
Visa, Migration and Citizenship Applicants
Travellers of all nationalities, except citizens of Australia and New Zealand, will need to obtain a visa to travel to Australia. Most visas can be lodged online, while others need to be lodged at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) in Singapore (details below).
If you do not know what type of visa you need or whether you can apply online, a good starting point is the Visa Finder on the Department of Home Affairs website.
Lodging an Application in Singapore
Applications for most visas can be lodged online through ImmiAccount, a self-service web portal that allows users to create, submit, pay for and manage all online applications in one online system.
To create an account or to log into an existing account, see: ImmiAccount
Applicants who cannot apply online may lodge an application at:
Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC)
Level 8, MYP Plaza
135 Cecil Street
Tel: +65 6224 1732
Note that although applications are lodged at the AVAC, all applications continue to be assessed and decided at the Australian High Commission. AVAC staff have no involvement in assessments or decisions.
The AVAC website includes application forms and Singapore-specific checklists for applications that can be lodged in Singapore. You should read the relevant checklist carefully. Applications that do not include all the information in the checklist may be delayed or, in some cases, refused. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure the application is complete at the time of lodgement.
WHAT AVAC and DIBP STAFF CAN DO FOR YOU
• Help guide you to where you can find the latest information for you to decide what visa best suits your purposes
• Guide you to the relevant checklist that relates to the visa/application you have chosen to apply for
• Explain the application process to you
• Run through the checklist with you at lodgement
• Assist you with other value-added services related to your application
WHAT STAFF CANNOT DO
• Tell you what visa you should apply for
• Help you complete your application
• Tell you what answers to provide in your application
• Advise you of the likely outcome of your application
WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR STAFF
• Provide clear information about your objective in seeking a visa for Australia (for example, to work, study, tour, migrate)
• Read the relevant checklist before applying
• Provide complete applications in accordance with the relevant checklist
• Show respect and courtesy, as will our staff when speaking with you
Methods of Payment
All visa applicants must submit the correct form and fee when applying for a visa or Australian citizenship. Details of payments methods are included in the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) website.
VFS service fees paid at the AVAC can only be paid by cash or bank draft (drawn on local banks only). The service fee can only be paid by these methods.
Visa Application Charge
The Visa Application Charge (VAC) may be paid by the above methods or by credit card online through the 'My Payments' option in ImmiAccount. If you wish to pay the VAC by credit card for a paper application, you will need to do this before lodging your application at the AVAC and provide the receipt number and a copy of the receipt to the AVAC at the time of lodgement.
For more information, see: How to Pay
For a full list of current prices, see: Fees and Charges
Note that most application fees change on 1 January and 1 July each year
Visas for Diplomatic Passport Holders
Diplomatic passport holders travelling on official business should contact the Immigration section of the Australian High Commission directly. Diplomatic passport holders travelling for tourism or personal travel should apply for a visa online or at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) but are not required to provide their biometrics.
Australian Citizenship Applications
The only citizenship applications that can be lodged in Singapore are applications for Registration of Australian Citizenship by Descent.
You may lodge an application for Citizenship by Descent online. Please follow this link for more information:
Please note the Singapore-specific application checklist on the AVAC website.
All other types of citizenship applications (for example, grant of citizenship, renunciation of citizenship, resumption of citizenship and evidence of citizenship) must be lodged in Australia. For details, see the Department of Home Affairs website.
Australians Adopting in Singapore
Australians considering adopting a non-Singapore citizen child whilst living in Singapore are advised to refer to the information on immigration and citizenship requirements in relation to expatriate adoption and inter-country adoption on the Department of Home Affairs website. Australian migration requirements for adopted children are quite specific, and an adoption that does not meet these legal criteria may result in the child not being able to migrate to Australia or acquire Australian citizenship. To meet migration visa requirements, amongst other criteria, Australians would be expected to have adopted a non-Singapore citizen child through the formal and legal adoption process in the child’s home country – a Singapore court adoption order for a non-Singapore citizen child is unlikely to meet Australia’s migration requirements.
Updating Passport Details
Australian visa holders must notify the Department of Home Affairs of their new passport details to ensure that their record is up-to-date. Failure to update their passport details will result in delays when travelling to Australia. Visa holders or registered Australian organisations will be unable to check visa details online.
Visa holders (other than ETA holders) can update their passport details online through ImmiAccount or by completing Form 929 (Change of address and/or passport details) and emailing it to [email protected]. Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) holders with a new passport will need to apply for a new ETA.
If you have a valid visa (other than an ETA) associated with an expired passport, and you have been issued with a new passport since your current valid visa was granted, you may travel carrying your old and new passports together and the airline will arrange to have the details updated at the time of check-in.
Australia’s Visa Label Policy
The Australian Government does not require holders of Australian visas to have a visa label in their passport.
Australian visas are granted electronically and stored in a central database, enabling visa holders, registered Australian organisations and airline staff to check visa details online. Australian visa holders can provide evidence that they have the authority to travel to, enter and/or remain in Australia by showing the passport or ImmiCard that is linked to their electronic visa record.
Check Your Visa Status Online - VEVO
The Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system is a free online service that gives holders of Australian visas, employers and other registered organisations quick and easy access to visa entitlements and status information, 24 hours a day.
Holders of current and valid Australian visas can use VEVO to see their visa validity and entitlements. Organisations including employers, migration agents, education providers and government agencies can use VEVO to see a visa holder’s entitlement and status information. Organisation users need to provide a reason and a valid Australian Business Number to register for VEVO. They also need to obtain the permission of the visa holder before they conduct an entitlement or status check through VEVO.
For further information, see: VEVO
Health Requirements and Medical Examinations
Detailed information regarding health requirements for visa applicants is explained thoroughly on the main website:
See: Health Requirements
Medical examinations conducted overseas are only acceptable if conducted by approved panel doctors. A panel doctor is a doctor or a radiologist who has been appointed by the Australian Government to perform medical examinations on visa applicants who have applied from outside Australia. For a list of Australian approved Panel Doctors
See: Panel Doctors
Not all applications require a medical examination. You should not have a visa medical examination until you have been formally requested to do so by the Australian High Commission or other office processing your application.
In some cases, you may be required to provide penal clearances to meet our character requirement from countries in which you have resided for 12 months or more during the last ten years. For further information on how and where to obtain these clearances
Requesting Travel Records and Visa Cancellations
For visa cancellations, see the Frequently Asked Questions link below
Frequently Asked Questions
For a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.