People from all over the world love visiting Australia. As of April 2023, the land down under welcomed 5.3 million annual visitors.
And who can blame them? The continent is home to amazing natural life and sights, including the Great Barrier Reef, nearly 12,000 beaches, kangaroos, koalas, dingos, and more. If those aren’t enough, Australia also has some of the friendliest people, delicious food, and fascinating culture.
Fortunately, there’s a way to extend your visa for up to 12 months. Yes, we’re referring to the Visitor Visa 600, which we’ll be talking about today.
What Is a Visitor Visa 600?
First off, let’s get a clear idea of what this visa is. The Australian Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) is a temporary visa that is issued to people who want to explore Australia. Some travelers apply for it to experience specific tourist activities like a cruise.
Another reason this is one of the most popular visas is that you need it if you plan on visiting family and friends in Australia.
Instead of having the usual visa sticker on your passport, the Visitor Visa 600 is automatically and electronically linked to your travel document. If you like collecting visa stickers and stamps, you won’t have any physical evidence of having a Subclass 600 visa.
The good news is applying for it doesn’t require any interviews with the Australian consulate or embassy.
You should also note that there are six different Visitor Visa 600 types, so you must identify the kind of visa you need based on your itinerary. But don’t worry, here’s what you need to know about them:
#1. Tourism Stream (Apply Within/From Australia)
This visa grants you one year in the country. The application fee is AUD 365 ($245). The typical processing time is within 26 days.
With it, you can visit your family and friends during your stay as a tourist. However, this visa will not allow you to seek medical treatment, do business, or work in the country. Studying is permitted but only for three months. So, if you’re visiting for educational purposes, applying for a student visa is best.
#2. Tourism Stream (Apply Outside Australia)
The benefits and restrictions of this visa are almost the same as those of the tourism stream. You’ll quickly notice, however, that the cost is cheaper at only AUD 145 ($96). This can give you 3 months, 6 months, and up to 1 year in Australia.
The chances of getting approved for this visa will be higher if you have no plans of overstaying.
#3. Sponsored Family Stream
With this visa, you can enjoy Australia for 3, 6, or 12 months but the main difference is you need a sponsor. Your sponsor can be a family member who is already based in Australia or a government official.
If you have family in Australia but they don’t want to sponsor you, you can apply for a tourism stream. Just provide a letter of invitation from your Australia-based family member.
This visa will cost AUD 145 ($96). It has a longer processing time of 55 days before you get a decision.
#4. Business Visitor Stream
As the name suggests, this is the temporary visa you need if you’re visiting to conduct business or handle employment-related matters. Those whose schedules entail negotiating business deals or attending conferences, seminars, or trade fairs should apply for the business visitor stream visa.
The processing time is 18 days, while the application fee is AUD 145 ($96) for a 3-month stay in the country.
#5. Approved Destination Status Stream
Exclusively for Chinese nationals who will be visiting Australia as part of a group tour, the approved destination status stream costs AUD 145 ($96). Applications are approved in 4 days.
#6. Frequent Travelers Stream
The frequent traveler’s stream visa is also designed for Chinese nationals who frequently travel for personal or business reasons. However, it’s significantly longer, granting holders the ability to enter the country for up to 10 years. During each entry, they can stay for up to 3 months within any 24-month window. Sometimes, they may be allowed to stay for up to a year.
The application fee is AUD 1065 ($709).
What Are the Benefits and Limitations of a Visitor Visa 600?
Now that you know about the six types of Visitor Visa 600, let’s take a closer look at the things you can do with it:
- Enjoy and explore Australia for tourism purposes.
- Go on a cruise.
- Visit family and friends.
- Conduct business like attending trade fairs and conferences and negotiating business agreements.
- Participate in a short course or study for up to three months.
However, there are restrictions:
- You can’t be part of a conference or trade fair and receive compensation from the organizers.
- You cannot participate in a short course or study for over three months.
- Working or applying for work is prohibited.
- Engaging in trade by selling is a violation.
- It doesn’t allow you to receive medical treatment and engage in other health-related activities.
What Is the General Validity of the Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)?
The Subclass 600 visa is generally valid for one year and allows you a maximum stay of either 3, 6, or 12 months based on your circumstances. Since it’s considered a multiple-entry visa, you can visit Australia as many times as you want as long as the visa remains valid.
How To Extend the Visitor Visa (Subclass 600)
If your visa is about to expire and you still have reasons to prolong your visit, you can ask that it be extended by 3 months, 6 months, or even one year. As you apply for an extension, keep in mind that it will only be approved if your reasons are tourist-related.
Usually, current visa holders extend their stay to continue their tourism activities, explore the country, get together with family and friends, and be part of social activities and organizational functions.
It’s best to process your visa’s extension at least three weeks before its expiration date so you have more than enough time to prepare the documents.
You have to ensure that you meet these requirements before an extension can be approved:
- You are a passport holder of an eligible country.
- You have a valid visa.
- You’re in good health.
- You don’t have any existing visa conditions that prevent you from extending your stay.
- You haven’t stayed in Australia for more than one year in the last year and six months.
Additionally, it would be best if you also prepared the following to apply for an extension of your Visa 600:
- A valid passport that isn’t due to expire for at least three more from the date of your new visa’s expiry date
- A valid passport with enough blank pages
- A duly completed new visa application form
- Evidence of enough funds to support your stay in Australia
- An application fee of AUD 345 ($243)
If you’ve fallen in love with Australia and haven’t had your fill, you can extend your visa for a few months to a year. Just make sure to begin processing your extension early enough before your current visa expires.
Should you decide to stay even longer, you can explore other options the Australian Embassy offers.
Read more about other Australian Visas: