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Understanding the Processing Time for Australian Tourist Visas

Understanding the Processing Time for Australian Tourist Visas

Australia, known for its stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, and vibrant cities, is a top tourist destination. To facilitate your journey, understanding the processing time for Australian tourist visas is crucial. This guide will delve into the specifics of the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa, Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), and the available express and priority processing options. We'll also explain what to expect in a visa grant notice.

Whether you're dreaming of Sydney's iconic Opera House or the serene beauty of the Outback, a clear grasp of the visa process, including the anticipation of your visa grant notice, is your first step towards an unforgettable Australian adventure.

Introduction to Australian Tourist Visas

An Australia tourist visa is essential for anyone planning to visit Australia for tourism, visiting family or friends, or for short-term non-work purposes. The most common types are the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa and the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Each has its own requirements, processing times, and conditions.

The Subclass 600 Visa caters to tourists, business visitors, and family visits, offering various streams with differing processing times. For expedited travel, express and priority processing options are available. Upon approval, a visa grant notice is issued, detailing the visa conditions. The ETA, meanwhile, offers a swift electronic authorization for short-term visits, ideal for eligible passport holders planning brief stays in Australia.

Subclass 600 Visitor Visa

The Subclass 600 Visitor Visa is designed for those who wish to visit Australia for tourism, business visitor activities, or to visit family. It has several streams: Tourist, Business Visitor, Sponsored Family, and Approved Destination Status.

The processing time for this visa can vary, influenced by application volume and individual circumstances. For expedited processing, applicants may consider express and priority processing options. Upon approval, the visa grant notice details the conditions and validity of the stay. Applicants need to provide accurate information and apply well in advance, ensuring a smooth entry into Australia's breathtaking landscapes and bustling cities.

Processing Times for Subclass 600 Visitor Visa

Processing times for the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa vary depending on the stream:

Tourist Stream: 

Processing can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It's affected by factors like the volume of applications, seasonal peaks, and individual circumstances.

Business Visitor Stream: 

This typically has a faster processing time than the Tourist Stream.

Sponsored Family Stream: 

This can take longer due to additional checks and balances.

Approved Destination Status Stream: 

Aimed at citizens from certain areas of China visiting in tour groups, this stream generally has a quick processing time.

Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)

The ETA (subclass 601) is an electronically stored authority for short-term visits to Australia. It's available to passport holders from certain countries and is often processed quickly, typically within 24 hours. An ETA, distinct from the more comprehensive Subclass 600 Visitor Visa, allows multiple entries for stays up to three months each within 12 months. It's ideal for tourism or short business visits. Applicants must apply online, ensuring a hassle-free process. However, it’s advisable to apply in advance to accommodate any processing delays, ensuring a smooth Australian travel experience.

Express and Priority Processing Options

For those needing to travel urgently, express and priority processing options are available. Express and priority processing options significantly expedite the application process for Australian tourist visas, including the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa and the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Designed for travelers needing urgent travel to Australia, these options involve additional fees but provide a faster turnaround in visa processing. While express processing is generally available for most visa types, priority processing is typically reserved for cases with compelling or compassionate reasons. Applicants should note that availability and eligibility for these services can vary and are at the discretion of the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Not all visa types are eligible for these services, and their availability can change based on the Australian Department of Home Affairs' discretion. Hence it is advisable to check current guidelines and eligibility criteria before applying.

Using Express and Priority Services

Express Processing: 

This is usually available for the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa and can significantly reduce the processing time.

Priority Processing: 

Often reserved for compelling or compassionate cases, priority processing requires substantial evidence to justify the urgency.

Visa Grant Notice

Once your Australian tourist visa application is processed, you will receive a visa grant notice. This important document contains details about your visa, including:

1. Visa Grant Number: 

Essential for reference and for entering Australia.

2. Visa Conditions: 

Includes the length of stay, entry requirements, and other conditions.

3. Validity Period: 

Indicates how long the visa is valid for.

It's crucial to review the visa grant notice carefully to ensure that all details are correct and that you understand the conditions of your visa.

Tips for a Smooth Visa Application Process

  1. Apply Early: To avoid any unforeseen delays, apply well in advance of your planned travel date.
  2. Provide Accurate Information: Ensure all information and documents provided are accurate and complete.
  3. Understand the Requirements: Be clear about the requirements of the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa or the ETA, whichever you are applying for.
  4. Consider Express Options: If time is of the essence, consider using express and priority processing options.
  5. Check Your Visa Grant Notice: Once received, thoroughly check your visa grant notice for any discrepancies.


Understanding the processing time for Australian tourist visas, including the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa and the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), is crucial for planning your trip to Australia. By preparing your application correctly and considering express and priority processing options if needed, you can ensure a smoother journey to experiencing the wonders of Australia.

Remember, the key to a successful application lies in careful preparation and adherence to the guidelines provided by the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Bon Voyage!