Australia Work Visa Us Citizens – We have had a few questions about which countries we need visas for and how we managed to stay in New Zealand and especially Australia for so long. Here are the details of the visas we applied for and how the whole process worked for us.
Of all the countries we have visited so far (Kiribati, French Polynesia, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia), only Australia has required a visa before arrival. Most other countries issue a visitor permit or visa on arrival. Each country has its own rules about how long you can stay, usually up to three months, although sometimes less. The stay limit wasn’t an issue for most of the places we’ve visited so far, but we were planning to be in New Zealand for six to eight months and the normal visitor visa they give on entry is limited to three months.
Australia Work Visa Us Citizens
New Zealand issues a new three-month visa on each entry, limited to nine months out of eighteen months. So we could have left and re-entered by plane to extend our visit. But we didn’t want to be forced to re-enter every three months, so we applied for six-month visas while in Honolulu. It was a process that took several weeks and required us to send our application along with our passports to the New Zealand Visa Processing Center in Los Angeles.
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We got our visas back and everything was ready. The only problem was that even though we were given multiple entry visas, the tags incorrectly indicated single entry among other errors. (The visa application didn’t actually have a specific place for multiple entry. Applicants have to explicitly request it and include an itinerary showing multiple entry.) We didn’t have time to send our passports back earlier. we left Hawaii so we had to wait until we got to New Zealand to get the tags fixed.
While in Whangarei we made a trip to the Auckland visa office where they issued new tags. That’s why the tag in the photo above is dated 22 October 2013, several weeks after our arrival in New Zealand on 30 September. These visas expired (the last date we could use them to enter or re-enter the country) on February 22, 2014. This is one year after the visas were originally issued.
The six month New Zealand visas worked well for us. We did one round trip from New Zealand to the US together in November 2013 which gave us another six months in the country until May 2014. James briefly returned on his own in early May 2014 and was issued a new three-month visa re-entry as the six-month visa was not valid for entry after February 2014. Technically, though, he couldn’t stay in the country for the full three months, as that would exceed nine months in eighteen. Soon after his return we left the country. If we had only had three month visas we would have had to leave and re-enter the country in February 2013 when we traveled through Fiordland. It would have been a big inconvenience because there is really nowhere to leave the boat and fly in and out. Even with six-month visas, Jennifer’s was within two weeks of expiring when she left New Zealand and had received a reminder letter from Immigration New Zealand.
In terms of visas, Australia is quite different to any other country we would visit. First, Australia requires a visa for visitors from most countries except New Zealand. And secondly, Australia has no limit on how long you can stay in the country as long as you are still considered a visitor.
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We were issued 12-month multiple entry subclass 600 visitor visas before entering Australia. This visa allowed us to stay in the country for up to 12 months after each entry. The Australian immigration website doesn’t have much detailed information on how to apply for it, but the online visitor visa application has a ‘Proposed Period of Stay’ where we set our initial entry and final departure dates (they don’t have to be exact) and for ‘Duration of Stay in Australia’ we chose ‘Up to 12 months’ . And there’s a free text section where you can ‘Provide details of any important dates the applicant must be in Australia’. Here we said we were visiting on a yacht and how long we planned to be in the country and that we needed a multiple entry visa to return to the US while we were there.
The visas had a “Must Not Arrive After” date, which is one year from the date the visa was issued. There is a lot of confusion (both inside and outside Australian immigration) about what this date means, but the bottom line is that you cannot enter or re-enter the country after the “Do Not Enter After” date. We applied for our visas on November 16, 2013 and they were issued on November 18, 2013. So we could enter anytime up to November 18, 2014, but could not enter or re-enter after that date. We first entered Australia in May 2014 and returned to the US in July 2014 and re-entered Australia on this visa in August 2014. At that point we were able to stay in Australia for 12 months, until August 2015. But we had to make the next return trip to the USA so that we could come back to Australia after 18 November 2014. So we applied for another time. visa when we were back in the US on our November trip and were issued new 12 month multiple entry visas. Their Must Not Arrive After date is November 13, 2015.
A later application date for those first visas would have given us more flexibility on that “no later” date, but getting the second visa wasn’t that difficult. Visa processing for US citizens is paperless and online and generally super fast. Both visa applications were processed within three days. We also uploaded a bunch of supporting documents (financials, etc.). We’re not sure if that helped or not. And in our case, since we needed to make a third trip back to the US in July 2015, we should have applied for a new visa anyway, since the last possible “Must Not Arrive After” date for that first visa has been May 2015 in our May 2014 upon entering the country.
We asked Immigration Australia about the limits on the total length of stay in Australia and were told there is no official limit as long as you are still classified as a visitor. You must leave at least every 12 months (or whatever the maximum length of stay is on your visa). But apparently you can just keep applying for new visas. This must be done outside the country – you can only extend an existing visa while in Australia.
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While in Australia, we also had to renew our passports. When you travel as much as we do, it’s actually more difficult to organize than you might expect. We rarely return to the US for more than two weeks at a time, so renewing them there is difficult as processing times are standard 4-6 weeks, 3 weeks expedited, or maybe 8 days expedited as needed. None but the last option would work for us, and even if we could get it for sure, 8 days is still a bit tight. Handling this while in Australia proved to be remarkably efficient and easy due to the US Consulate’s 2-3 week processing time. We sent our applications from Hobart to the US Consulate in Melbourne and new passports were waiting for us in Melbourne when we arrived in the city. (Melbourne resident David Newnham, owner of the Nordhavn 62
, had offered to pick up the mail for us, which contained our passports and a small part.) When we got our new passports, we updated our visa information online with Australian Immigration.
It took us to Australia for more than a year. However, the boat is only granted a one-year duty-free entry, known as an inspection permit. It can be extended for up to three years. After that, the boat must either be taken out of the country or imported and taxes must be paid. We extended the inspection permit once, approximately eleven months after arrival. It was a quick and easy process – we just emailed Brisbane customs (our port of entry) requesting an extension and received it within a couple of days. Australian Customs requires a prompt email reporting the boat’s location every three months or when you arrive at the designated port of entry. The fact that we had kept up with ours seemed to help with the extension.
We are not sure when we will need to apply for a visa to enter the country next. We will stop only briefly in the following two countries: Mauritius and maybe