With the exception of Australian and most New Zealand citizens, all people travelling to Australia require a visa or an Electronic Travel Authority, ETA, irrespective of their reason for travel. An ETA doesn't need to complete a form and, because of the electronic signature you don't get any document (this is the case for most European Countries and North America). The ETA doesn't allow you to work in Australia but only to visit people and be a tourist. If you want to work, you need to apply for a specific ETA-business.
Application forms, general information about immigration policies, categories and requirements can also be found on the main website of DIMA at http://www.immi.gov.au. Links are provided throughout this site for easy access to this information.
For passport and visa information you should call the Australian High Commission of the country you are departing before coming to Australia.
In order to make a valid application for any visa you must lodge a completed application form (except for Electronic Travel Authorities) signed personally by the applicant, together with the Visa Application Charge. This is a charge levied by the Australian Government; it is not a service fee and cannot be refunded if your visa application is withdrawn or refused.
For visas with a short processing time, you will also need to provide a valid passport with 2 unused visa pages when you lodge your application.
Becoming an Australian citizen is not exactly the easiest thing you may tackle in life. Nevertheless, here is how it works:
- you have to be a permanent resident for at least 2 years and not spend more than 6 months outside of Australia during that period of time.
Becoming a permanent resident is hard. You can apply on several grounds:
- working visa - you need a company to sponsor you. They will need to prove that you are the only person who can do the job you are going to do for them and it will cost them money. You are then bound to that company for about 4 years. But the good thing about it is that after 2 years you can apply for permanent residency.
- de-facto relationship or marriage - you must have lived with your Australian partner for at least 1 year and must be able to prove it with personal letters, bills in both names, joint bank account, letters from friends and family willing to testify that you have been together, photos, etc… It is very intrusive, but that's how it is. It is best to apply from overseas (not from Australia).
- Point system- if you are under 26 years old,- work in computing or are a qualified chef/pastry chef/baker/sports person, or have any other skill needed in Australia at the time,- are single, you should be ok.If you apply by yourself (i.e. not through a company), it is advisable to go through a solicitor to help you. These things are tricky and solicitors know all the ropes. They are cost effective. Having said that, you can succeed without a solicitor if you are very thorough.
- then you can apply for citizenship. If you have been a good resident for the past 2 years of more, no problem. The application takes about 3 months to process. All you have to do is fill out some papers and take a 15mn interview at the immigration office.
With certain country you can retain your previous nationality and thus become a dual national.
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