Australian High Commission
Singapore
Singapore

Frequently Asked Questions

Visas, Migration and Citizenship

 

Can I apply for a visa at the Australian Visa Application Centre if I do not live in Singapore?

Yes, but you should state reasons why you are not applying in your home country. In addition, in some cases some of your information or documents may need to be sent to the Australian Visa Office in your home country for checking or processing, which may result in delays. Note that anyone residing in Malaysia, including Malaysian citizens not applying online, must apply for their visa in Malaysia, not in Singapore.

How can I pay for the Visa Application Charge?

Acceptable payment methods for lodging applications at the AVAC are cash or bank draft (made out to “Australian High Commission”). The service fee can only be paid by these methods. To find out more information about the visa application process, including fees, please see the AVAC website.

The Visa Application Charge (VAC) may be paid 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 comprehensive information about various payment methods, including how persons in Australia can pay the visa application charge on behalf of friends or relatives overseas can be found at the Department of Home Affairs website, please see: How to Pay                                                                                    

My family has paid for my visa in Australia — what do I need to do?

If your visa application charge has been paid in Australia, you must attach the original receipt to your application when you lodge it at the AVAC. To find out more information about the visa application process, please refer to the AVAC website.

For comprehensive information about various payment methods, including how persons in Australia can pay the visa application charge on behalf of friends or relatives overseas can be found at the Department of Home Affairs website, please see: How to Pay

How long will it take to process my visa application?

Average global processing times for applications can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. Visitor visa application peak periods are May–June and October–January, so apply early during these times.

You can help to obtain the fastest decision possible by lodging a complete application with all recommended supporting information. Please refer to the relevant checklist to identify the supporting information to submit with your application. For Visitor applications there is no requirement for the visa decision-maker to seek further information before making a decision.

A small percentage of applications take longer due to complicating factors; for example where additional background checking is required, where health checks are needed that require specialist follow-up, where there are character considerations, or a variety of other factors. If an application will take longer than the usual processing time, you will be notified of what to expect.

If your application is urgent, you may include a covering letter explaining your circumstances and any relevant dates. In fairness to all applicants who apply in good time, requests to expedite applications will only be made in exceptional circumstances. Poor planning of travel arrangements is not an exceptional circumstance. It is strongly recommended you apply well in advance of your intended travel date (at least one month in advance is recommended for Visitor visas) and that you do not make any irreversible travel arrangements until your visa has been granted.

Which application checklist should I use?

Many application forms include a generic checklist. For Singapore-specific application checklists, see the AVAC website under the respective Visa Types tab or under the Citizenship by Descent tab.

What is my application status?

You can track your application online via the AVAC website. Once the Australian High Commission has made a decision on your application, this will be accessible via the online tracking facility. For a small additional fee at time of lodgement you can subscribe to the SMS notification to be kept informed of when the decision has been made.

If your application progress enquiry is still within average processing times, your application is still being assessed by the Australian Visa Office and generally no status update is provided. If anything is required to progress your application you will be advised in writing.

If your application enquiry is now outside the average processing times, please send an email to info.ausg@vfshelpline.com to request further advice.

It is advisable that you do not make final travel arrangements until your visa has been granted.

Do I need a visa label in my passport to travel to Australia?

No. Australian visas are recorded electronically. You do not need a visa label in your passport to travel to, enter or stay in Australia.

The vast majority of people travelling to and residing in Australia do so without an Australian visa label in their passport. While most countries accept travellers without an Australian visa label in their passport, it is your responsibility to check with the relevant government authorities regarding specific exit or transit requirements. The Australian Government cannot advise on other countries’ requirements. Some foreign governments recommend that you carry your visa grant notification letter and travel itinerary when you travel.

How will my visa be checked at the airport?

Airlines that fly to Australia must provide details of all passengers to Australia’s immigration and customs authorities ahead of their arrival in Australia.

When you check in for your flight to Australia, airline staff will use your passport details to check if you have a valid visa to travel to Australia before allowing you to board the aircraft. This typically only takes seconds to complete. This is completed electronically and there is no need for a visa label in your passport.

How do I check my visa?

You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa status and entitlements.

Your electronic visa details are linked to the passport information you gave us in your application. To login to VEVO, you will need your passport and personal information, plus one of the following:

  • a Transaction Reference Number (TRN) — we give you a TRN if you applied for your visa online
  • a visa grant number — you can find this on your visa grant notification letter
  • if you have an existing visa label in your passport, you can use the visa evidence number from the label.

If you do not know your reference number, you can request it at: VEVO Request for Reference Number.

I have a problem with my ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) or have made a mistake — what can I do?                                                              

Once you have checked that you are ETA eligible (refer to Visiting Australia), you may apply for your ETA online through the official ETA Site or through your local travel agent. Travel agents may charge an additional administration fee. It is recommended that you apply at least one week in advance of your travel to allow time to resolve any system errors that may arise.

If you have a problem applying for an ETA and are encountering an error message, you should wait and try again the next day. If you receive a message that says that your application cannot be approved over the Internet due to checks required by the Australian Government, you should refer to our Visa Finder for alternative visa options.

It is important that you are very careful when you enter your personal details. You will have an opportunity to review all the details you have provided and can change the details at any time until you confirm all details as correct.

If you have made an error, it is important that you correct it before proceeding. Once you have confirmed the details, your credit card will be debited for the non-refundable service charge.

If you have inadvertently applied for an ETA with incorrect details (such as an error in your name or passport number), you will need to make a new application (and incur another service charge). We cannot change the details on an ETA once it has been issued. If your ETA details do not match your passport details you might experience delays when boarding your aircraft or be refused entry into Australia.

 

I applied for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) but want to confirm if it is valid — can you check for me?

If you applied for your ETA on the department’s official website or one of the numerous legitimate commercial websites, and the system indicated your application was approved, then there is no need to check with us. In 100% of cases that we have checked when answering such requests, the ETA is valid. In the unlikely event that there is an issue, airlines and the Australian government have systems in place to rectify this at check in. We cannot verify validity of an ETA over the phone for privacy reasons.

Options to find out if you still hold a valid ETA:

  • If you have your Visa Grant Number, you can check your ETA online through VEVO.
  • If you applied online for an ETA, you can use the 'Check an ETA'  option on the official ETA Site. You will need the Reference Number displayed when your application for an ETA was approved through this site. If you enter the Reference Number incorrectly, your ETA record will not be found.
  • If you did not apply for your ETA through the ETA website or did not record the Reference Number when your application through the ETA website was approved, you cannot make an enquiry through the ETA website. You will need to contact your travel agent or airline who have greater access to the ETA System and can check for you when you prepare your travel.
  • If the airline or travel agent cannot help, as a last resort, you can email eta.contact@sita.aero and ask to confirm whether or not you currently hold a valid ETA. You will need to provide your name, passport number, passport country and date of birth.

Note that commercial agents may charge higher fees and you should enquire about this first. The Australian Government cannot vouch for any of these commercial ETA websites, and recommends that clients apply for their ETA through the official government website mentioned above. 

I applied for an eVisitor Visa online but made a mistake — what should I do?

If you have lodged an eVisitor application online but have recorded your bio-data details incorrectly, do not lodge a new application. Instead, you should upload Form 1023 Notification of incorrect answer(s) to your application through ImmiAccount. Alternatively, you may email the eVisitor Helpdesk at evisitor.helpdesk@border.gov.au with the details of the error that needs to be corrected and include a copy of your passport.

I am a flight crew member — how do I apply for an ETA for a holiday to Australia?

If you hold a Crew Travel Authority, you are from an ETA eligible country, and you wish to travel to Australia for tourism, you may apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)  through the department's official ETA website. During the application process you will receive a prompt stating that you already have a current visa. You will be given the option of whether to proceed with your application; you should choose to proceed.

The grant of an ETA may affect your Crew Travel Authority (CTA) and you may be required to complete the CTA registration process to reinstate your CTA after your personal travel is complete. Your airline should be able to assist you with this. Further information can be found on the department's website.

Can my domestic helper be granted a visa to accompany my family on holiday to Australia?

Domestic helpers accompanying their employer/employer’s household members travelling to Australia for tourism or a business visit should apply for the subclass 600 Visitor (Tourist or Business Visitor stream) visa.

Domestic helpers must accompany their employer when travelling to Australia, and should have the same travel itinerary as their employer. Any subclass 400 domestic helper visa applications already lodged will continue to be processed under subclass 400 visa requirements.

I did not get an arrival/departure stamp in my passport when I went to Australia — why not?

From 1 December 2012, the Australian Government ceased date stamping travellers’ passports on arrival and departure from Australia unless a stamp is requested by the traveller. This brings the stamping processes in line with those currently undertaken for Australian citizens and complements the department's move away from physical visa evidence. Australia issues electronic visas and electronically records all movements of passengers into and out of Australia. All visa records and travel movements are stored on a central database in Australia. People who need evidence of their own travel movements into and out of Australia may apply for their travel movement records using Form 1359 and emailing it to us or dropping it in the drop box at the AVAC or the Australian High Commission with a good quality copy of your passport identity page and your Singapore identity card.

Can I travel to Australia if my passport is valid for less than 6 months?

Yes. Unlike some countries, Australia does not insist on six months passport validity. However, it is recommended that it should not expire when you are in Australia. You will need a valid passport to leave Australia as well as enter. Some airlines may decline to carry passengers with less than six months validity — you should check with your airline whether this will be an issue for them. You should also be aware of any requirements for the country you will be returning to.

I have been issued a new passport and my valid visa is in my old passport — how do I update my passport details?

The Australian Government does not require a person holding a valid Australian visa to have a label stuck in their passport to travel to, enter or remain in Australia. All visa records are electronically stored on a central database in Australia. When you check in to fly to Australia, airline staff electronically confirm that you have a valid visa to travel to Australia before you board the plane.

If you do not have time to update your passport in advance, you may still travel carrying your old and new passports together and the airline will arrange to have the details updated at time of check-in. If you do this, you should check-in earlier to avoid delays.

If you were issued a new passport because your previous passport was lost or stolen, or is damaged such that it is illegible, it is advisable to provide your new passport details to the Department of Home Affairs in advance. You can update your passport details through ImmiAccount.

If you are unable to create an ImmiAccount, you may complete Form 929 and email it to immigration.southeastasia@dfat.gov.au along with a copy of the ID page of your old passport (if available) and your new passport, and a copy of the police report relating to your passport being lost or stolen. The passport details will be updated within five working days.

Please note that ETAs cannot be transferred to a new passport. If you held an ETA but have acquired a new passport, you will need to apply for a new ETA.

I’d like to migrate to Australia — where can I find more information?

All skilled migration applications are processed in Australia. For more information about eligibility and visa requirements please refer to the main Department of Home Affairs website.

For information on the range of visa options available under the Skilled Migration Program, see Skilled Program.

For Family and Special Eligibility please see information on the range of visa options available at Family Migration.

After visiting the above main sites, Singapore-specific information is available at the AVAC website. Only offshore Spouse, Child, and Adoption applications are processed in the Singapore office.

For refugee and other humanitarian migration please see information on the range of visa options available at Humanitarian Visas.

Do I have to use a migration agent?

No, but if you wish to do so, it is recommended that you use an agent registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority

See: Migration Agents Registration Authority

How do I provide additional supporting information after lodging an application?

If the Australian Visa Office has asked you to provide additional information, you can provide it in the following ways:

  • if you have made an online application, please attach the additional supporting information to your online application through ImmiAccount
  • by scanning and emailing the information directly to the Australian High Commission in Singapore at immigration.singapore@dfat.gov.au with your full name, date of birth and application VLN or receipt number in the email subject heading
  •  by placing the information in a sealed envelope clearly marked with your full name, date of birth and application VLN or receipt number provided when you lodged at the AVAC
  • by delivering it in person to the AVAC

You must quote your VLN and/or receipt number.

Who can certify copies of my documents?

Most applications lodged in Singapore do not require copies of documents to be certified, although you should have the originals with you when you lodge the application for the AVAC staff to sight. The Australian Visa Office may ask to see originals at any time.

Some applications may require copies of certain documents lodged with applications to have been notarised. Copies should be certified by a Notary Public in Singapore or a Registered Migration Agent (in Australia).  A list of Singapore Notary Publics can be found in the Yellow Pages.  For details, refer to the relevant checklist for the visa or citizenship application you are lodging — see the AVAC or Department of Home Affairs websites.

Documents in languages other than English should be accompanied by an English translation undertaken by a qualified professional translator in Singapore or Australia. To find a translator, you may refer to the Yellow Pages.

Can I request to have my visa cancelled?

Some temporary visa holders who hold a visa granted online may find that their current visa prevents them from applying for a further visa online (for example, a Student visa holder who is seeking an ETA). Other visa holders may have left Australia and wish to have their visa cancelled in order to access their Australian Superannuation funds. We will only cancel a visa in these circumstances: for Departing Australia Superannuation Payments claim purposes or where it is preventing the grant of another visa. It is policy that a permanent visa will not be cancelled.

Visa cancellation requests can now be lodged online through ImmiAccount. There is no fee for this service.

If you are unable to access ImmiAccount, please complete a 'Request for Visa Cancellation' and email it to immigration.singapore@dfat.gov.au along with a scanned copy of your current passport ID page and your Singapore ID card. The visa will be cancelled within two working days. You will then be able to apply for a new visa online unhindered.

See also: Accessing Superannuation benefits for temporary residents.

Can I request a review of a decision to refuse a visa application?

Most temporary visa decisions do not have a review right, and this will be stated in the letter notifying you of the decision to refuse you the grant of a visa.

If there is a right of review with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) this will have been indicated in your decision notification letter. More information about lodging an application for merits review can be found on the AAT website: Review Tribunals. You should note that where the right to seek merits review exists, there are strict time limits applicable and an application may not be accepted by the AAT after the expiry of this period.

If you are considering lodging a new visa application, it is important that you read carefully the reasons for your visa refusal as it is unlikely that a different decision will be made if the information you provide is substantially the same as what you had previously provided.

Do I qualify for a visa?

In order to be granted a visa you must meet the  Australian government requirements for a visa. If you do not meet these requirements, your application will be unsuccessful. There is no refund of visa application fees or charges if a visa application is unsuccessful.

To assist you to self assess whether you will meet the requirements for the grant of visa, comprehensive information about visa criteria and eligibility is available on the main Department of Home Affairs website.

If you are not certain what type of visa will most likely meet your circumstances refer to the Finding a Visa’  tab (the Visa Wizard) in the home page of that site. The Visa Wizard will assist you find the most appropriate visa by asking you a number of easy-to-answer questions.

Alternatively, if you do not feel confident in lodging an application or if your case is complex, you may want to engage a registered migration agent to help you in your dealings with the department. If you choose to use a migration agent, you should use a registered migration agent. Registration gives you protection and helps ensure people working as migration agents are aware of current laws and procedures and give correct advice. Information about using a migration agent is available from the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority at Migration Agents Registration Authority

My circumstances have changed before my visa application is finalised — what do I need to do?

The Australian Government requires you to notify the department of any changes in your circumstances, or of any changes that affect any answer to a question in your application form, for example, marriage, birth of a baby, name or address change.

For changes in circumstances please complete Form 1022 Notification of changes in circumstances and either upload it to your ImmiAccount or forward it to the Australian High Commission along with a copy of the bio page of your new passport, prior to your travel.

You should use Form 1023 Notification of incorrect answer(s) if you wish to notify the department that you have supplied it with any incorrect information in your application form.