8 Steps How to Extend Visitor Tourist Visa in Australia
The eight essential steps on how to extend your Australian visitor visa
By Indah Melindasari
Founder of ONE derland Consulting & Registered Migration Agent
Every year millions of people travel to Australia as tourists, on business, as students or to visit family and friends. And unless you are from New Zealand, you need to apply for a visitor visa (commonly called a tourist visa – subclass 600) before you arrive in Australia.
Australia is an amazing country to visit and so often travellers are just starting to fall in love with their time Down Under that it’s time to leave. It’s not that they want to or they don’t have enough money to stay, it’s because their visitor visa is about to expire.
One of the most common situations is when someone is visiting a family member, which could be a grandparents seeing their first grandchild, a girlfriend coming to see her boyfriend or parents visiting their kids. Usually these people are given a three-month tourist visa and often the duration of the tourist visa is not enough.
Some people are in Australia on a 12-month visitor visa which requires them to leave the country every three months. This can be inconvenient and expensive.
Maybe you are in one of these situations right now? Perhaps you want to go home but you’re not able to because of international travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus – COVID 19 Pandemic?
Whatever your situation is, there are different options to extend your stay in Australia so you can be safe with your family at this difficult time. In this post, I will walk you through the process of how to extend your tourist visa when you are in Australia.
The steps you need to take to extend your Australian visitor visa (subclass 600)
If you think that you will stay in Australia past the expiry date of your visitor visa, I recommend that you take action to extend your visitor visa as soon as possible. As a guideline, you should be ready to apply for your visa extension no later than three weeks before your current tourist visa expires.
Below is a list of the steps that you will need to take to extend visitor visa in Australia:
- Decide how long you want to stay in Australia.
- See how long you have left on your current tourist visa.
- Look at the suitable visa options for you.
- Choose the visa that best suits your situation.
- Check if your current tourist visa has a ‘no further stay’ condition.
- Gather your supporting documentation.
- Apply for your new visa and have your health check.
- Wait for your new visa to be approved.
Step One: Decide how long you want to stay in Australia
Most tourists in Australia are on a visitor visa that allows them to stay for up to three months, so this is likely to be the same for you. It’s important to decide how much longer you want to stay in Australia because it will affect what visa options are available for you.
If, for example, you think you will need to stay in Australia for a total of more than 12 months, then a visitor visa extension may not be the best option for you because the longest possible amount of time you can stay in Australia on a visitor visa is one year.
Step Two: See how long you have left on your current tourist visa
Once you’ve decided how much longer you plan to stay in Australia, you need to check how much time you have left on your visitor visa. The advice I give my clients is that if there is less than six weeks until your tourist visa expires, then it’s a good amount of time to get prepared to apply for your tourist visa extension.
If you have less than three weeks left on your visitor visa, then it’s really important that you take action quickly. If you would like to discuss your options with me, please click here to book a meeting.
Step Three: Look at the suitable visa options for you
Many people arrive in Australia on a visitor visa and later change to a different visa because their circumstances change. Depending on your situation, this could be what you need to do as well.
For example, if you are running short of money to support your stay in Australia, extending your visitor visa is not the right option for you because it’s not possible to work in Australia on a visitor visa.
Are you the partner or child of an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you want to take the first step towards a long-term stay? Or maybe you have decided that you want to study or work in Australia?
It’s also important to consider your previous Australian visa history. For example, in any 18-month period, the maximum amount of time you can spend in Australia on a visitor visa is 12 months.
If any of these situations applies to you, then applying for a visa visitor extension is probably not the best option for you.
You can find all the information you need on the different visa types here.
Step Four: Choose the visa that best suits your situation
It’s possible that there is more than one suitable visa extension option for you, depending on your plans. For example, you might be eligible for a visitor visa extension, a work and holiday visa and a partner visa.
In this situation, you might choose to apply for the work and holiday visa because its requirements are less strict than the partner visa. Or if you don’t need to work then extending your visitor visa might be the cheapest and simplest option.
Something else you should think about is what the real reason for staying in Australia is because when you come to apply for your visitor visa extension, you will have to convince the Department of Home Affairs that your case is genuine.
It can be risky to apply for an extension of your visitor visa if your real purpose is not as a tourist because if your extension is refused, it will affect your ability to apply for all visas in the future. If you are in any doubt, please click here to book a meeting with me to discuss your situation.
Step Five: Check if your current visitor visa has a ‘no further stay’ condition
One possible problem you might face in extending your visitor visa in Australia is if it has a ‘no further stay’ condition. Usually, this means that when your current visitor visa expires you have to leave Australia.
The Department of Home Affairs often makes ‘no further stay’ a condition of a visitor visa for reasons such as the country the applicant comes from, any previous non compliance with Australian visa conditions. Also, it’s usually always a condition if a visitor visa has been sponsored by a family member.
Since the coronavirus – COVID 19 led to Australia’s border closing, the Australian government is allowing tourists with a ‘no further stay’ condition to make a written request to have it waived. If you do this and your case is approved, you can then apply for a new visa while in Australia.
Step Six: Gather your supporting documentation
At this point, I’ll assume you have chosen to extend your visitor visa and you don’t have a ‘no further stay’ condition. The next step is to get all your documents together so you can make your visa extension application.
‘Why do I need to provide the same documents again?’ you might be thinking. Well, it’s because the Department of Home Affairs considers a visa extension to be a new visa application and, for example, you will need to show you have enough money to support your extended stay in Australia.
You may also be asked to complete a questionnaire asking you what you have been doing in Australia and the reasons for your longer stay. For example, if you have an event to attend, you will need to show proof of your invitation.
Step Seven: Apply for your new Australian visa and have your health check
Now that you have your documents ready, you will need to complete the visa application form which you can do online on the Department of Home Affair website. You should do this at least three weeks before your current visa expires.
You will be given 28 days to have a health check and if you do not meet this deadline please contact the Department of Home Affair and request for an extension.
Step Eight: Wait for your new visa to be approved
The process to get your new visa usually takes between 10 and 30 days but don’t worry if your current visitor visa will expire in the meantime.
The Department of Home Affairs will usually grant you a Bridging visa A while your new visa application is being considered which means you will be legal in Australia while your application is being processed.
Need advice about your visitor visa (subclass 600) extension?
Here at ONE derland Consulting my team can advise you on the best visa option to stay safe and legal in Australia. We are offering complimentary visa consultations until 10 April 2020 for those affected by the coronavirus as a way to assist our community. Consultations can be done by phone, Skype or Whatsapp.
Ready to take that first step?
ONE derland Consulting has 10 years experience dealing with all types of visas. We will take the time to compile all documents needed and guarantee that your application is 100% ready before submitting it.
Indah Melindasari is a migration agent registered with the Australian Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) with registration number of 0961448.