South Africans do not qualify for the Electronic Travel Authority or eVisitor visas. Sorry! So, to holiday in Australia, most of us travelling on a South African passport will apply for a visitor visa. The visitor visa (or more precisely, “subclass 600”) allows for holidaying, visiting family and carrying out certain business activities one might need to do on a visiting basis. Assuming you’re not going to Aussie for medical treatment or business purposes (ie just pure holiday), then you’ll want to apply for the “Tourist stream”, and that is what we focus on on this page. A complication which is unique to trying to get a visa to Australia, is that South Africans applying for the visa first have to create an account on the Australian Government’s website to submit forms and documents before they have to create another account on TLSContact’s website to set up an in-person appointment. We hope this web page helps clarify the process.
The visa lets you know how many times you may enter Australia, and what the total period of stay may be; the maximum stay granted is typically 3 or 6 months; although it can be up to 12 months (or even more if there are “exceptional circumstances” – whatever that might be). The visa could be single visa or multi-visa – you apply for what you want and the Australian authorities will decide what they will give. This web page focuses on applying for the subclass D600 Tourism stream visitor visa.
You do not need a visa to Australia if you are:
A New Zealand citizen or resident.
An Australian citizen or resident.
Exercise care when doing your visa application, as if you submit info which is incorrect you could get banned from making a further application for an Australian visa for 10 years.
This article assumes you are a South African citizen without dual Australian citizenship or the right to live in the Australia; and that you are wanting a tourist Visa to Australia (if you are not sure what visa you require, then navigate to this find a visa page).
Get a visa for Australia with a South African passport
The information on this page should be double-checked on the official application forms. This web page attempts to provide you with guidance on applying.
There are several steps to obtaining an Australian visa:
Step 1: Check your Passport
You need a South African passport with at least 6 months of validity after the date of your travels to the Australia.
Step 2: Collect Documentation
Certified copies of all original documents are required, but police certificates must be the originals. If you supply documents in a language other than English, then they must be accompanied by certified English translation. You will also need to supply a completed version of the application form, and it’s important that you use the latest version of the form depending on the visa you’re looking for (click here for a list of all visas’ forms); for many people visiting as a tourist, this may be titled “Application for a visitor visa – tourist stream” (form 1419). Where there are differences with this web page, naturally the official list obtained via the link above applies. Each applicant must fill in their own separate form – and to be a bit pedantic, note that a child counts as a separate applicant and each of them must have their own forms filled out.
You will need to provide documentation which convinces Australian immigration authorities that you:
have sufficient funds to support yourself during your holiday in Australia. Demonstrate this with recent pay slips, bank statements; or alternatively if somebody else is paying for your trip, provide evidence that they have the funds. Include details of the company you work for – their business registration number, license, bank statements, import/export permits and address.
meet the health requirements. Unfortunately, South Africa is not one of the countries which are exempt from health examinations because of the prevalence of TB; what this means is that if you are planning on being in Australia for 6 months or more then you’ll have to go for a health examination; including a chest x-ray and medical examination. If you are going to be in Australia for less than 6 months then “No health examinations required unless special significance applies”. Special significance includes such things as being older than 75, likely to be spending time at an Australian childcare centre, likely to be spending time in a hospital or health care area, likely to work or study to work as a paramedic, nurse doctor or dentist, you are pregnant and likely to give birth in Australia. Additionally to showing you meet the health requirements, it’s recommended that you take out health insurance to easily prove that you will be able to cover any medical costs which arise (yes, those are naturally for your own pocket, you don’t qualify for Medicare – click here to read a story about travellers who picked up heavy medical bills in Australia). If you are over 75 years old you need to do a health assessment to prove that you are fit enough to travel (click here for details), and have to have international medical insurance for the period of your trip. You may be required to do a more detailed health assessment if you are applying for a long stay visitor visa. If you are travelling with children and you are planning to let them go to a creche/preschool/school then you should ensure that they are vaccinated, and carry the certification with you – diphtheria, Haemophilus, Hepatitis B, polio, measles, rubella, pertussis and tetanus.
are going to do, and only do the activities in the Tourism stream. Provide a detailed itinerary. Include details of your hotel reservations or if you’re staying with a friend/family then their details and a letter of invitation to visit. This also involves making Australia comfortable that you are going to leave at the end of your stay; e.g. provide evidence of property you own in South Africa, ask your employer to write a letter indicating that the leave is temporary and you are returning to your job, list family members who stay in South Africa and/or show that you are enrolled at a university, school or college which you’ll be returning to, to study.
meet the character requirements, as set out in the Migration Act. You will need to answer a plethora of questions about your criminal record.
Provide copies of your military discharge papers and service record; if applicable.
do not owe any money to Australia’s government.
if you are a parent/step-parent of somebody residing in Australia, then point this out, as they’ll be more open to providing a longer stay.
If you’re younger than eighteen then the following documents are required, signed before a Notary:
Proof that you are a student at your school/college/university.
Prove that all those who lawfully may decide where you may be, consents to you being in Australia.
If one or both of your parents wont be accompanying you, then you need your unabridged birth certificate, a completed Form 1229 signed by both parents and with both parents’ ID/passport and photos.
Provide two forms of ID, with a signature, for a parent who is not accompanying you.
If one of your parents have died, then provide evidence that your remaining parent or legal guardian has legal custody over you.
If there are any legal custody issues, then provide details thereof.
If both your parents aren’t travelling with you; then you will require a declaration signed by the person who will be taking care of you in Australia.
a copy of the pages in your passport which shows your personal details and photograph), and other countries to which you have travelled.
Specify the street address (not postal address!) where you are staying whilst your visa application is being considered, and inform if you change your address for more than 2 weeks (14 days).
Passport photos taken in the last 6 months.
If you’re wanting somebody else to receive communications, then complete form 956, 956A and Part K.
Ensure that all documents are certified.
Once you have completed all the forms, make a copy for yourself.
Step 3: Apply online via an IMMI account
We assume you’re residing in South Africa, ie outside of Australia (there are different rules for applying within Australia, e.g. when trying to extend a visa). You will first set up an online IMMI account with the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This is where you will fill in the application form and also upload the documents required for the visa. Once you submit this, you will receive a confirmation email. In this email, you will get an attachment and in it you will see a bar-code and a number under it. This is your VLN number. You will require the VLN number for the next step in the process, when you set up an appointment with TLScontact.
Click here to create an online IMMI Account. Once you have logged in, click “New application”.
Select the type of application you’re making, either:
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa
Air & Sea Crew
Refugee & Humanitarian
Temporary Work (Activity)
Work & Holiday
We will assume you have selected “Visitor”, and then “Visitor Visa (600).
Read the Terms and Conditions, and we’ll assume that you agree to them! You will then be asked some questions to contextualise your application: