Australian High Commission

Frequently asked questions


Electronic Travel Authorities (ETAs)

My ETA application was not approved automatically - what should I do?

If your ETA was not automatically approved, you will need to send further information.  Please check your emails and follow the instructions. Instructions can also be found herePlease do not approach the High Commission in person.

Applications that do not include all required information will experience delays, or may be decided on the basis of material already before an officer.

Please do not finalise flights or travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia.

We will notify you by email once a decision is made on your ETA application.

I have an ETA - can I get a job picking fruit in Australia?

No, an ETA does not permit you to pick fruit, or undertake other paid work, in Australia. 

An ETA permits you enter Australia for up to three months at a time as a tourist or for business visitor purposes.  Business visitor activities include:

  • making general business or employment enquiries
  • investigating, negotiating, signing or reviewing a business contract
  • activities carried out as part of an official government-to-government visit
  • participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars, as long as you are not being paid by the organisers for your participation.

Business visitor activities DO NOT include undertaking paid work in Australia.

If you work in Australia in breach of your visa conditions, you may be detained and removed.  You may also be subject to a 3 year re-entry ban or exclusion period.  It is your responsibility to know what your visa allows you to do while in Australia.  Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) provides an online service to check your visa details and conditions.


My ETA has been cancelled. What can I do?

If your ETA has been cancelled, notification regarding the decision and reasons for the decision have been sent to the email address you provided with your application. If you have not received the notification you should check with your travel agency or the agent who organised the visa.

The notification letter includes important information.  It provides instructions about how you can apply for revocation of the decision to cancel your visa and the timeframes in which you must apply for revocation.

As you do not have a visa to travel to Australia you should not book alternative travel arrangements or enter into further commitments until you have received a decision on your revocation request.

If you have already lodged a visa application

How long will it take for the Department to process my visa application?

Our global processing times are published on the Department’s website.

Global processing times are published monthly and provide you with an indicative estimate of how long it is taking to process a particular visa subclass, stream or citizenship application globally. Two processing times are displayed for most subclassess, indicating how long it takes to finalise 75 and 90 per cent of applications globally. 

To ensure that your application falls within the published processing times, you will need to submit a complete application.  Please note that applications are processed on a case-by-case basis and actual processing times can vary due to individual circumstances including:

  • whether you have lodged a complete application, including all necessary supporting documents
  • how promptly you respond to any requests for additional information
  • how long it takes to perform required checks on the supporting information provided
  • how long it takes to receive additional information from external agencies, particularly in relation to health, character, and national security requirements
  • for permanent migration visa applications, how many places are available in the migration programme.


Can I request priority processing?

No, applications are processed in the order in which they are received by the Australian High Commission, and will not be prioritised unless there is a genuine need for the application to be expedited (such as death of a family member in Australia).

We will not expedite the processing of an application simply on the basis that you have already booked a flight to Australia. The Department will not be liable for any financial loss incurred by a client whose visa application was finalised later than expected or where an application is unsuccessful.

You should not book flights or make travel commitments until you have a visa to travel to Australia.

Applying for other visas

What type of visa should I apply for?

There are a number of visa options available for people who wish to enter Australia for the purposes of tourism, business, work, study or permanent residency. Comprehensive information on all visa types is provided on the Department of Home Affairs website.

The Department cannot give you advice on which visa you should apply for. You can use the Visa Finderfacility on the Department’s website to determine what visa would best suit your individual circumstances.

Alternatively, if your circumstances are complicated and you would like more specific advice about the best visa option for you, you can seek the assistance of a registered migration agent, who will advise you on your visa options and help you apply for a visa. Registered migration agents can be found on the website of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.


How do I apply for a visa online?

The Department's preferred method of lodgement is online through ImmiAccount. You can apply online for most visas and Australian citizenship by descent. Use the 'Visa Finder' tool on the Department’s website to find out if you are eligible to apply for your visa or citizenship product online.

To apply online, you must have an ImmiAccount. Further information on what types of applications can be lodged online, and how to create an ImmiAccount, can be found on the Department’s website Visa Finder’ .


How do I lodge an application in Malaysia?

Apply online for an Australian visa or citizenship through ImmiAccount. Use the Applying online in ImmiAccount guide to help you.


It is mandatory to have an appointment for the submission of Biometrics at the Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC). You can make an appointment with AVAC using their online appointment system. If you go to the AVAC without an appointment, you will be required to pay an additional VFS service fee.


How do I lodge an application in Brunei?

Apply online for an Australian visa or citizenship through ImmiAccount. Use the Applying online in ImmiAccount guide to help you.


What happens after I lodge my application?

Applications are processed in the order in which they are received, unless there is a genuine need for the application to be expedited (such as death of a family member in Australia). We will not expedite the processing of an application based solely on your proposed date of travel or because you have already booked a flight.

The visa office endeavours to finalise a high percentage of all applications within the Department’s published global processing times.  However actual processing times are dependent on a number of factors.

Your application will be allocated to a case officer as soon as possible for assessment. If a case officer cannot decide your application based on the information provided at time of lodgement, the case officer may request further information from you. However, please note that under Australian migration law, the case officer can decide the application based on the information provided at time of lodgement and is not legally obliged to request further information from you before making a decision. You are therefore encouraged to lodge a complete application.


What is a ‘complete application’?

A complete application is one in which:

  • the correct application form has been used;
  • the correct application charge has been paid;
  • all relevant questions in the application form are answered;
  • all relevant information and supporting documents specified in the checklists on the individual application pages on the Department’s website have been provided; and
  • the application has been signed.

We are able to process complete applications more quickly than those where we have to request additional information from the applicant.

How can I provide further information to the Department after my visa application has been lodged?

For visa applications lodged online, supporting documents can only be considered if uploaded through ImmiAccount.   We do not accept attachments for online visa applications via email.

If you have a technical problem, help for ImmiAccount (including quick reference guides,  FAQs and information on error messages) is available on the ImmiAccount webpage.  


My application was refused and I don’t think it was a fair decision - can this be appealed?

When we notify you of a decision to refuse your visa application, we will advise you if the decision can be reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The AAT assesses the merits of Departmental decisions, and will either: affirm the decision, remit the decision back to the Department with instructions or set aside the decision, based on all information before the tribunal at the time.

If the decision is not one that can be reviewed by a tribunal (and no legal error has been made by the Department), then the decision cannot be revisited.

If there is additional information that you wish to provide, then you have the option to apply for a new visa and include the additional information for consideration. However, please note that if your circumstances have not changed, or you aren’t able to provide any significant new information or evidence since the first application, it is unlikely a new application will lead to a different visa outcome.


My application was refused. Can I apply for a refund of the Visa Application Charge (VAC)?

The Visa Application Charge (VAC) is paid for the processing of the application and must be paid regardless of the application outcome. Please note that there are legislative requirements limiting when a VAC can be refunded. There are no provisions to refund the VAC solely on the basis that the visa application was withdrawn or refused. 

Can I take my domestic helper with me to Australia while on holiday?

If you plan on taking your domestic helper on holiday with you to Australia you need to ensure that they are granted the appropriate visa. Failure to do so could lead to your helper being refused entry to Australia or having their visa cancelled and being asked to depart Australia.

The type of visa that you need to apply for will depend on whether or not you will be requiring your domestic helper to complete their duties in Australia.

Australia does not have a specific scheme for employment of domestic helpers. However, it is acknowledged that employment of domestic helpers is culturally prevalent in Malaysian society and that domestic helpers over time can become an integral part of the family unit.  In recognition of this, policy allows for domestic helpers to apply for a temporary visa to accompany their employers on holidays to Australia.

Further information on visitor visas can be found here


Can someone else make enquiries or receive information in relation to my application?

Australia’s Privacy Act prohibits disclosure of personal information to third parties, including Australian spouses/sponsors. Therefore, we will not release any personal information to a third party unless we have been given permission to do so by the applicant.

If you would like a third party to act on your behalf in relation to a visa application, you can nominate anyone (using Form 956A) to be your authorised recipient.

An authorised recipient is a person appointed to receive documents from the Department on your behalf. The Department cannot discuss matters relating to you with your authorised recipient unless they are also acting on your behalf as your migration agent/exempt person, or you have separately provided the Department with consent to disclose your personal information to them. You can only have one authorised recipient. The Department is legally obliged to send all correspondence in relation to your application to the most recently appointed authorised recipient, not to you.

You may also nominate a migration agent/exempt person (using Form 956) to provide you with immigration assistance in relation to your visa application. ‘Exempt persons’ include close family members (spouse, child, adopted child, parent, brother or sister of a visa applicant) and visa application sponsors. The Department will discuss your application with your migration agent/exempt person, send written communications to them (if they have also been appointed as your authorised recipient), and seek information from them.

For more information about Australia’s privacy policies, please visit the Department’s website.


Do I need a visa label to travel to Australia?

The Department does not issue visa labels for any type of visa.Australian visas are recorded electronically. You do not need a visa label in your passport to travel to, enter or stay in Australia. You can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) for free to check your visa status and entitlements. 

You can check your own visa details with VEVO through the following link:


How do I apply for a refund of the Visa Application Charge (VAC)?

Some visa holders impacted by Australia's COVID-19 travel restrictions may be able to access a refund or a waiver of their Visa Application Charge (VAC). For further information, please visit


We do not usually refund the visa application charge (VAC), even if you visa application is refused or you withdraw the application.  The VAC fee is a charge reflecting the administrative cost of processing and assessing your visa application.

We will usually not refund the VAC if you were granted a visa.

You may choose to make new travel arrangements at a future time if granted a visa and while the visa remains valid.

For information on refunds, fees and charges please see:

For information on applying for a refund if you believe you are eligible please see:

I am subject to an exclusion period – does that mean I can never go to Australia again?

Exclusion periods of varying lengths are imposed under a number of different circumstances. The only circumstance that will lead to permanent exclusion from Australia is if you have been in Australia and had a visa cancelled on character grounds, or if you have been deported from Australia under certain sections of Australia's Migration Act 1958.

If you are not subject to permanent exclusion from Australia, but are subject to an exclusion period for another reason (for example, because you overstayed your visa or been caught working in breach of your visa conditions) you can apply for most visas. The visa may be able to be granted while the exclusion period is in force, depending on what type of visa you are applying for and/or if the exclusion period is waived by a departmental officer. A case officer will provide you with an opportunity to provide information for consideration of a waiver.

If you are granted a visa while an exclusion period is in force, the exclusion period is not ‘extinguished’ as a result and will remain in force for the full duration.

I already have a visa

My passport has been lost or stolen / I have a new passport / I've changed my address. What should I do? 

If you have been issued with a new passport since you lodged your visa application or your visa was granted, you will need to notify us of your new passport details or apply for a new visa before you travel. Otherwise you may face delays at the airport.


If you are an ETA holder, you will need to apply for a new ETA to be linked to your new passport.  ETAs in a previous passport can no longer be used once a new passport has been issued.


If you hold another type of visa and applied online, you can check your own visa details with VEVO through the following link:

Please update your details on your ImmiAccount or download Form 929 at and email the completed form to [email protected].

Please note that Passport changes may take 24-48 hours to be reflected in VEVO. This will not affect your travel.


How do I apply to have my visa cancelled?

The Department of Home Affairs will not process requests for voluntary cancellation for the following visa subclasses:

  • Visitor (subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
  • eVisitor (subclass 651)
  • Working Holiday visa (subclass 417)
  • Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462)

Home Affairs also advises that it will not process voluntary requests for cancellation of temporary visas with less than 6 months validity.  This includes requests for cancellation of Student visas (subclass 500).

Other visas (including Student visas with more than 6 months validity) can be cancelled in ImmiAccout. We will not respond to these requests.


Can I extend the validity of my visa?

Under Australian immigration law it is not possible to extend the validity of a visa.  You will need to apply for a new visa if you are unable to travel to Australia during the validity of your current visa.


My visa specifies a 'first entry / arrive by' date. Can I extend this?

Your visa grant may specify that you must enter Australia by a ‘First Entry, Arrive By’ date. The first entry date will be specified on your visa grant letter. If you are unable to enter before this date, contact the office that granted the visa for advice before you travel.

For skilled visa holders who are unable to make first entry by the specified date, you can contact: [email protected].

Permanent or Provisional family visa holders who cannot  travel to Australia before the specified Initial Entry Date (first entry date) condition should complete the online form Travel facilitation letter request form.  This includes holders of Partner visas (subclasses 309/100) and Parent, Child or Other Family visa holders (Subclasses 143,103,101,102,114,115,116 or 117).


I don't have my visa grant letter. How do I find out about my visa details?

If you already hold a visa you can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) to check your visa status and entitlements:

If you cannot find your departmental reference number or you no longer have your visa grant notification you can request this information by completing the ‘Request for reference number’ form on the Department of Home Affairs website:

Australian Citizenship by Descent

How do I apply for Australian Citizenship by Descent?

Citizenship by Descent applications lodged on or after 1 October 2020 will be processed in Australia.  

We strongly recommend that you lodge an application using the Department’s online service here. If you are unable to lodge online please post your citizenship by descent application to the following address:

     Citizenship Section
     Department of Home Affairs
     GPO Box 794
     HOBART  TAS  7001




If you have already lodged your application, please direct your enquiry to [email protected].

For information on ways to become an Australian citizen and citizenship services, see the Australian Citizenship page of the Department's website.

Contact us

For general enquiries about visas and citizenship visit the Department of Home Affairs website, Immigration and citizenship (, or contact the Home Affairs Global Service Centre, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Tel: + 61 2 6196 0196


This page was last updated on 5 April 2024.