Australian visa updates and clarifications

Ahead of the busy Christmas holiday period, the Australian High Commission would like to remind and clarify some visa procedures for all travel agents dealing with travellers to Australia:

Christmas processing times:

Please advise applicants to apply well in advance for their visas if they want to travel over the peak period. It is advised that applicants lodge their visas on-line at: www.border.gov.au as this can be done after hours at a time convenient to applicants.

The advertised visa processing time is 20 working days or 1 month. Incomplete applications may be refused and late lodgements will cause delays and we will not give any guarantees that visas will be finalised on time. A confirmed airline ticket is not a visa requirement and emailing many weeks out does not influence our visa processing times.

Biometrics:

Biometrics is a standard requirement for applicants applying from SAFR, please ensure that your applicants make appointments to do their biometrics. Biometrics are not uploaded immediately and takes approximately 3 days to reflect on the systems. Visas will not be finalised until biometrics have been captured and reflected on the systems. ETA passport holders who can lodge online are exempted from biometrics. For the list of ETA eligible passport holders, please see: http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/601-

Compassionate and compelling applications:

It has come to the attention of the High Commission that many applicants, agents and courier companies mark emails sent to the immigration box as “urgent.” Their “urgent” refers to a flight booking or travel date approaching etc. These are not considered by the High Commission as “urgent” reasons for travel. A compassionate/compelling reason for travel is what we consider “urgent.”

The definition of compassionate/compelling application refers to death in the family in Australia or terminal illness of a family member in Australia.  Please refrain from marking applications as “urgent” – when they clearly aren’t. Birthday parties, sporting events, weddings and an imminent flight are not urgent.

Compassionate applications need to be brought to our attention. Please write in the subject box “compassionate application, applicants reference number BCC2016/….. and advise what the reason for travel is for example:  Compassionate, death in the family, BCC2016/…….. – in this way the application is clearly identifiable and can be actioned appropriately.

Emails sent to case officers personal email addresses:

All email correspondence is to be sent to the immigration.pretoria@dfat.gov.au email address only and not to case officers personal email addresses. This causes double handling and takes away valuable visa processing time. There is no guarantee that emails sent to case officers will be responded to.

Immiaccount issues:

Please ensure that you do not choose the “postal option” when you load applications onto the immiaccount. The immiaccount is an online system and no documents are generated and sent to postal addresses. Please ensure that biodata is captured correctly on the immiaccount. We are finding issues with applicants not receiving emails as their email address is incorrect, dates of birth are incorrect as well as citizenship details. Correcting these issues is time consuming and will delay processing times. Authorised recipients also need to load their details and a completed form 956 onto the immiaccount system. If you are not the authorised recipient, we cannot release any information to you.”

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