In the modern world there are few things governments protect more fiercely than the security of their borders. Australia is no different. As such, there seem to be a countless number of different visas, each appropriate to only a very specific set of reasons for visiting Australia. It is all too easy to become lost in the paperwork and jargon. This article aims to clear the metaphorical fog and explain exactly what visa you require for your particular trip to Australia.

Perhaps one of the simplest travel visas available is the ETA tourist visa. ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authority and represents the fact that this visa no longer takes the form of a stamp in your passport. Instead, if approved, the authorisation is stored electronically against your passport number. The only requirement set for those applying for a tourist visa is that they hold a passport in one of the thirty-four approved countries. However, do not assume that just because you meet this requirement you will then automatically qualify for a visa, this is simply not the case. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not book flights until your visa has been approved, this ensures that you will not be disappointed. The tourist visa is valid for a period of twelve months and allows you to travel to Australia multiple times with each stay lasting no longer than three months. It is possible to study in Australia using this visa on the condition that the course lasts no longer than the maximum period of stay (i.e. 3 months).

Another very popular type of Australian travel visa is the working holiday visa. To satisfy the requirements for this applicants must; be aged between 18 and 30 years olds, hold a valid passport in an approved country, hold a return ticket or be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to purchase one and to cover the initial part of your stay, have no children and be visiting Australia with the intention of travelling rather than for economic or educational reasons. If you are issued a working holiday visa then you will be entitled to stay in Australia for a period of twelve months and undertake temporary employment. The key restriction here is that visa-holders may not work for any one employer for a period of greater than three months. This limitation has been put in place to ensure that visitors do not become too settled in one location; tourism should be the primary motivation for the visit. Studying is permitted on this visa with a maximum course duration of four months. If you wish to study in Australia for a period greater than four months then you will require a student visa. To qualify for such a visa you have to have gained an offer of a place at an Australian college or other educational institution.

Finally, if you wish to visit Australia as a tourist for longer than 3 months but do not wish to seek temporary employment then you will require a long stay visa. The conditions of acceptance for this visa are less stringent than that for the working holiday visa.