How To Obtain A Tourist Visa For Australia Even If You Have A Criminal Record

How To Obtain A Tourist Visa For Australia, sydney opera house
If you’ve heard that Australia has very strict laws concerning tourist visas, you’ve heard right. Australia severely restricts entrance to foreigners with a criminal record, although these can still get a visa if they follow certain procedures that require a comprehensive character check.

Let’s have a look at what you need to do if you want to travel to Australia but have one or several offenses on your record.

How To Obtain A Tourist Visa For Australia Even If You Have A Criminal Record

What sort of visa do you need if you have a criminal record?
Tourists coming to Australia with a clean record can apply for a visa online. There are two types available, both of them free. If you want to apply personally, you can ask for an eVisitor visa, which can be obtained through the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. 

If you want to save yourself the hassle, you can opt for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) visa, which can be obtained on your behalf by your travel agency or airline carrier. You will have to pay a $20 fee for this service.

People with a criminal record are required to apply for a full visa through the Home Affairs office. Each case will be reviewed manually by an immigration officer. 

What types of offenses do you need to declare when applying for an Australian visa?
A visitor to Australia is required to disclose any type of conviction on their criminal record, no matter how minor the offense might seem. Even an old drunk-driving conviction or any other traffic offense has to be disclosed when applying for a visa. This applies to both spent and unspent convictions if the system in your country makes such a distinction between old and recent convictions.

What does a substantial criminal record mean?
Australian law is very clear on that. If you have one or more convictions for which you were sentenced to a total of 12 months or more in jail, even suspended, then you have a substantial criminal record as far as the Australian immigration service is concerned.

This does not mean that you cannot apply for a visa or that you will be denied one, but you will have to prove to the immigration officer in charge of your case that you are not a threat to Australian society.

You will be required to provide a background check listing your convictions, but the real test is the character check you will have to submit to.

When obtaining a criminal record check for traveling to Australia, the correct channel to apply is the Australian Federal Police (AFP). For a criminal record check for standard employment purposes, you can go through online agencies like Australian National Character Check (ANCC) which tend to be a bit more efficient to get results faster, however, these agencies cannot be used for the purpose of your entry in Australia as immigration checks can only be obtained through the AFP.

How long does it take to get a visa?
Since people with a criminal record will need to undergo a thorough check, the whole process can take anywhere between three to 12 months. If you have any sort of convictions to declare, make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your intended trip. Also, keep in mind that if your application is denied there is no way to appeal that decision.

On the other hand, you can reapply at a later date, unless the case officer that reviews your case puts an exclusion notification on your file. Such instances are, however, rare and only occur with serious convictions, such as drug trafficking, people trafficking, sexual abuse, or terrorism.

Hopefully, you won't have any trouble getting into this beautiful country whether you have a minor offense or not. Either way I trust this article will help you in your venture. If you have any other Australia visa tips we should know about leave them in the comments!

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