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Visas, Migration and Citizenship
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to lodge my application at the Australian Visa Application Centre?
The AVAC in Singapore is set up to provide personal client service in a convenient one-stop-shop location with convenient extended opening hours and numerous value-added services. The Australian High Commission is able to offer faster service standards for applications lodged at the AVAC.
For general Department of Immigration and Citizenship service standards, see: Client Service Standards
Some applications require an interview. Applicants who lodge at the AVAC will automatically be given an interview appointment if one is necessary, depending on the category of application and the circumstances.
A further advantage of lodging applications at the AVAC is the application tracking facility, and (for a small additional fee) an SMS notification facility. A service fee of SGD40 applies for each application (visa or citizenship) lodged at the AVAC, in addition to the Visa Application Charge. This service fee is in line with service fees globally at the 34 AVACs currently in operation around the world.
The AVAC is co-located with the UK and New Zealand Visa Application Centres. To lodge and application at the AVAC or to find out more information about the visa application process, please see the AVAC website.
Can I apply for a visa at the AVAC if I do not live permanently 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. 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”). Unfortunately payment by credit card at the AVAC is not available for the moment. To find out more information about the visa application process, including fees, please see 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 website of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 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 website of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, please refer to How to Pay
How long will it take to process my visa application?
Service standards for applications lodged in Singapore are shown in the AVAC website under the respective Visa Type tab. The majority of applications are decided well within the expected service standards indicated in the AVAC website. Visitor visa and student visa application peak periods are May-June and November-January so apply early during these peaks. You can assist to obtain the fastest decision possible by lodging a complete application with all recommended supporting information.
A small percentage of applications take longer in some circumstances due to complicating factors, for example where additional background checking is required, where health checks are required that require specialist follow-up, or where there are character considerations, and a variety of other factors. If an application will take longer than the publicised service standard, you will be notified of what to expect.
The Australian High Commission encourages lodging complete applications. When lodging your application, please refer to the relevant checklist to identify the supporting information to submit with your application. For visitor applications there is no requirement on the visa decision-maker to seek further information before making a decision.
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 you have been granted your visa.
An advantage of lodging at the AVAC is the application tracking facility, and (for a small additional fee) an SMS notification facility. To find out more information about the visa application process, please refer to the AVAC website.
Which application checklist should I use?
Many application forms include a generic checklist. However, you should consult the public information via the Australian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission website in the country in which you are applying to find the country-specific checklist, and some requirements vary from country to country.
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.
The Australian High Commission aims to process applications within expected Service Standards indicated in the AVAC website.
If your application progress enquiry is still within service standards, 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 expected service standard, please send an email to email@example.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.
For more information see: Visa labels
What if I still need a visa label?
It is Australian Government policy to charge for visa labels. You can only request and pay for a visa label if you have a current Australian visa. The cost for a visa label is called the Visa Evidence Charge.
Refer to Fees and charges for visas for the current Visa Evidence Charge.
To request a visa label you must have a current passport and use Form 1405 Visa label request and payment form.
If you do wish to have a visa label placed in your passport, you will need to pay a Visa Evidence Charge (VEC). The VEC applies irrespective of when a visa was applied for and granted, and applies to those holding a valid Australian visa. To check the current amount for the VEC, or to apply for a visa label and pay the VEC, see the AVAC website.
I am having difficulty applying for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority), what are my options?
If you have checked and are ETA eligible (refer to Visiting Australia), you may apply for your ETA online through the official Australian Government website at Official ETA Site or through your local travel agent. Travel agents may charge an additional administration fee. Many airlines also have the ability to issue an ETA at the airport, and generally also 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 continue to receive an error message, or receive a message that says “Refer to Embassy”, then you may email your issue to the Australian High Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the error message (including error code number) and a scanned copy of your passport. Note that the High Commission will not intervene unless you are receiving an error message or unless the system specifically refers you to the “Embassy”. If you have inadvertently applied for an ETA with incorrect details (such as a spelling error in your name or passport number), you may also contact the above email.
Note that there are some commercial agents with websites that claim to be able to arrange an ETA for you. Many of these are legitimate companies who access the above official website. 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 ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) online 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. Research has shown that in 100% of ETAs 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 they still hold a valid ETA:
• 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 email@example.com 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.
I applied for an eVisitor Visa online but made a mistake, what should I do?
If you have lodged an e-Visitor application online but have recorded your bio-data details incorrectly, do not lodge a new application. Instead, you may email the e-Visitor Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the error that needs to be corrected and with a copy of your passport. This will allow the e-Visitor Helpdesk to modify your client details.
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.
For more information see: Visa labels
Can my domestic helper be granted a visa to accompany my family on holiday to Australia?
Since 23 March 2013, domestic helpers accompanying their employer on holiday should apply for a Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) Visa (Subclass 400). For information about this visa, including specific information about domestic helpers, see the information in the Temporary Work (Short Stay) Visa tab in the AVAC website.
I did not get an arrival/departure stamp in my passport when I went to Australia – why not?
Since 1 December 2012, the Australian Government ceased port and date stamping of travellers’ passports on arrival and departure from Australia unless a stamp is requested by the traveller. This brings 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 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.
I have been issued a new passport and my valid visa is in my old passport - what do I do?
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.
The only visa that ceases (expires) when a passport expires or is replaced is the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). If you held an ETA but have acquired a new passport, you will need to apply for a new ETA.
If you have a valid visa associated with an expired passport (i.e.you have been issued with a new passport since your current valid visa was granted), you may travel carrying your old and new passports together and the airline will arrange to have the details updated at time of check-in. If so, you should check-in a little earlier to avoid delays.
However 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 Immigration and Border Protection in advance to have the new passport details recorded against your existing visa to avoid delays when travelling. To do so, you should complete Form 929 and place it in a sealed envelope in the drop box at the AVAC or at the Australian High Commission guardhouse, 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. If you do not have time to do this 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 so, you should check-in earlier to avoid delays.
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
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 Immigration and Border Protection wesbite.
For skilled migration please see information on the range of visa options available under the Skilled 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.
For refugee and other humanitarian migration please see information on the range of visa options available at Humanitarian Visas
How do I provide additional supporting information after application lodgement?
If the Australian Visa Office has asked you to provide additional information, you can provide it in the following ways:
• by scanning and emailing the information directly to the Australian High Commission in Singapore at email@example.com 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
For all of the above, you must quote your VLN and/or receipt number. To find out more information about the visa application process, please see the AVAC website.
Who can certify copies of my documents?
Most applications lodged in Singapore only require copies of documents to be included, 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 (migration, citizenship) require copies of certain documents lodged with applications to have been notarised. Australian document copies should be certified by a Justice of the Peace or Registered Migration Agent (in Australia), or a person before whom a Statutory Declaration can be made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959. For details refer to the relevant checklist for the visa or citizenship application you are lodging - see the AVAC website.
Documents in languages other than English should be accompanied by an English translation undertaken by a qualified professional translator in Singapore or Australia.
Can I request to have my visa cancelled?
Some visa holders who previously applied online for a visa (such as a student visa online) may be prevented from applying for a further visa online, (for example, a student visa holder seeking an ETA). Legislation permits cancellation of a temporary visa if a client requests so in writing. It is policy that a permanent visa will not be cancelled.
Please complete a “Request for Visa Cancellation” and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Can I request to review 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 Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) this will have been indicated in your decision notification letter. More information about lodging an application for merits review can be found on the MRT 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 MRT 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 application having been refused as it is unlikely that a different decision will be made if the information provided by you is substantially the same as that previously provided.
Do I qualify for a visa?
In order to be granted a visa you must be found to meet 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 your application is unsuccessful.
To assist you to self assess whether you will meet the requirements for the grant of visa comprehensive information about visa requirements and eligibility is available on the main Department of Immigration and Border Protection 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 any changes in your circumstances or 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 any changes in Circumstances and 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.