Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Australia?

By Elly Fleming

25 May 2023

In some instances you will need more than just your plane ticket and passport to travel to Australia. It really pays to find out all of the applicable requirements and to carefully consider your options.

Australian passport holders

Australian passport holders do not need a visa to enter Australia.

If you hold Australian citizenship and reside outside of Australia, one option is to obtain your Australian passport to give you the right to enter Australia.

New Zealand passport holders

In general, New Zealand passport holders (i.e. NZ citizens) can travel to Australia without a visa and obtain a Subclass 444 – Special Category visa on arrival at the airport.

New Zealand citizens may be refused entry into Australia if they have:

  • criminal convictions resulting in at least 1 year imprisonment

  • ever been asked to leave Australia

  • been removed or deported from another country

  • have active tuberculosis (TB).

New Zealand citizens who have been deported from Australia due to their criminal conviction(s) in Australia will be permanently prohibited from coming back to Australia.

Entering Australia with a criminal record

New Zealand citizens, with any kind of criminal record, should always check if they need to apply for a visa before leaving New Zealand. Contact the Australian High Commission in Auckland well before you intend to travel to find out if you need to apply for a visa.

Australian permanent residence

New Zealand citizens who have been granted Australian permanent residence, are recommended on arrival in Australia to tell immigration clearance officers the following:

  • that you have a permanent residence visa (for example a Subclass 189 Skilled Independent visa)

  • that you do not want a Special Category visa (Subclass 444)

If you don’t tell Australian immigration clearance officers, you might be granted a Subclass 444 visa on arrival. Grant of a subclass 444 visa might affect your eligibility for:

  • permanent residency (including any Government benefits)

  • being eligible for a Resident Return Visa

  • Australian citizenship.

All other passport holders

All other passport holders need the right visa to come to Australia. They also need to get their visa before traveling to Australia. It is possible that you may need a visa to transition through Australia to another destination.

You may not be able to enter Australia if you do not meet the Australian Government’s health and character requirements.

If on a previous occasion you have overstayed your Australian visa or didn’t comply with your visa conditions, the Australian Government may not let you return to Australia for a set period of time. This is called an exclusion period.

Do your research on the right visa to apply for

There are different types of visas depending on your travel purpose and length of intended stay.

Each visa has conditions about what you can and can’t do in Australia. Having a visa to enter Australia does not automatically mean you can work, study or undertake other activities.

Applicants must make sure that they apply for the visa that matches what they want to do in Australia, and that they are eligible to apply for that particular visa.

Visitors who overstay their visas — even for a short period — may be detained and/or deported by the Australian Department of Home Affairs.

Get legal / immigration advice

If you are not sure if you have a right to enter Australia or which visa matches what you want to do in Australia, get legal/immigration advice before you travel or make your visa application.

Being refused a visa or entry to Australia can be very costly and detrimental to your immigration history.

Talk to us

Contact us for professional legal advice that will give you a peace of mind.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.

Elly Fleming

Elly Fleming

Position: Associate
DDI: +64 3 545 6714

Topics: All Select