The beautiful state of Queensland is visited by thousands of people across the world each year. Tourism, in fact, contributes over $9 billion to its economy.
To experience the sights and attractions of Queensland as a tourist, you will need a current passport and a valid visa or an ETA, the Australian government’s travel authority system. This works exactly like a visa except you don’t have to go to a departmental office for application submission; it can be submitted through airlines, travel agents or www.eta.immi.gov.au . The pre-requisites to gain entry in Australia are the same for all nationals except New Zealanders. If you are a New Zealand or Australia passport holder, you don’t need a visa, just a valid passport. Upon landing on Australian shores, you will be issued an SCV or Special Category Visa.
If you are a tourist visiting Queensland for sight-seeing, holidays, recreational or social purposes, visiting friends or relatives or any other non-work reason, you have four visa options. Here’s a look at the four Australian tourist visa options that you can go for, based on your personal circumstances.
ETA (Visitor): Subclass 976
Anyone who wants to visit Queensland for tourism, informal study or recreation can apply for the Subclass 976 ETA (Visitor) visa. With this travel authority, you can stay upto 3 months for each visit (Validity of this visa: 12 months from date of issue). The Subclass 976 does not allow extended stays in Queensland or any other Australian state.
To apply for an ETA, you should have a citizen passport from ETA-eligible countries. Please visit immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspxVisas/Pages/976.aspx to check your eligibility.
You can apply for an ETA (Visitor) through any of the following ways:
- Online (please check www.eta.immi.gov.au for more details)
- Through an airline, travel agent or a service provider who is applying for an ETA for you
- At the Australian visa office in your country
eVisitor: Subclass 651
With this travel authority, you can stay upto 3 months for each visit (Validity of this visa: 12 months from date of issue). The Subclass 651 does not allow extended stays in Queensland or any other Australian state. To get the eVisitor travel authority, you need to possess a citizen passport from eligible countries; learn about eVisitor-eligible countries here immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspxVisas/Pages/651.aspx
You can only apply for an eVisitor online; to get started, you can visit immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspxServices/Pages/evisitor-online-applications.aspx Keep in mind that you will need a valid e-mail address and a valid passport that is eVisitor-eligible.
Tourist Visa: Subclass 676
The Subclass 676 tourist visa allows you to visit Queensland for recreational purposes, holiday purposes, meeting friends or family, and also permits you to study anywhere in the state for a period of less than 3 months. This is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in Queensland (or anywhere in the country) for a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.
You can apply for your visa online (please visit immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspxVisas/Pages/676.aspx ) or in person/by post (please visit immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspxVisas/Pages/676.aspx )
Sponsored Family Visitor Visa: Subclass 679
To get this visa for holidaying in Queensland, you need to have a relative living in Australia or a government official in Australia who is willing to sponsor you. With this visa, you can tour Queensland for recreational purposes, visit friends and family, and engage in educational pursuits that last up to 3 months. The period of stay granted with Subclass 679 is 3 months or 6 months, and in certain cases can extend to 12 months.
To apply for this visa, you (as a visitor) must fill up the relevant visa application form and send it to your Australian sponsor. Your sponsor will need to fill up the relevant sponsorship form and submit all the documentation and the application fee on your behalf.
Getting a tourist permit to visit Queensland is simple, convenient and free of stress if you have a good understanding of the requirements and the process involved in getting the ETA or visa. Visit immi.gov.au/Pages/Welcome.aspx to get all the information you need in relation to tourist visas.