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A guide to getting a visa to Australia from the UK

If you want to visit Australia as a tourist or to study, work or live there you need a specific visa to be granted before departure on the journey. You even need a visa for transit or a business visit.

Types of Australian visa

Overview
UK citizens require a visa for any kind of visit to Australia.
Visas can be obtained by vising Australia House in London or by paper application through the mail, but most can be gained electronically via the internet, which is a service available 24 hours a day. What types of visa are there?
Visas are available for most of the different circumstances travellers present:
1) Work and Holiday visa should cover gap year travel. This one-year visa for people aged 18-30 costs AUD $235 as of 17/06/2011.
2) Tourist visa lasts for one year from the date it is granted and entitles a visitor to stay for three months from the time of entry, even if they leave and return several times. This visa is provided free as at 17/06/2011.
3) Business visa.
4) Transit visa.
5) Student visa restrictions relate to the length and type of study to be undertaken in Australia. They may carry with them rights for a parent visa for a visit to the student.
6) Retirement/investment visa.
7) Temporary Long-Stay visa with work rights (which may later be transferred to residency rights).

ETA and visa services

ETA visas
The visa that UK and EU passport holders are given is called an ETA Australia visa.
ETA means Electronic Travel Authority, a visa that is not stamped in your passport but is electronically attached to your biometric passport. Visa services
Paid services via the internet appear to make the application process easier. These charge a fee and the resulting service is usually no better than making your own application through Immi.gov.au. Migration services
Paid migration agents are not essential if you are applying for a visa to live permanently in Australia.
Only registered MARA practitioners are trustworthy.

Australian holiday information

Australian flights
Cheap flights to Oz tend to be more available in the Australian winter, March to September, which happens to coincide with northern hemisphere summer months. Adventure holidays
Package holidays to Australia often feature outback adventure and camping out near Uluru (Ayres Rock).
For backpacking travel around this vast continent on a work and holiday visa, gap year insurance is advisable. Medical insurance
Australian travel requires health insurance cover even though the UK has a reciprocal arrangement with the Medicare system.
Be prepared to pay for medical attention and apply for refund later using the forms provided at the point of treatment.

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