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9.1 What Is a Visa?


A visa is permission for a non-citizen to:

  • travel to and enter Australia,
  • remain in Australia, or
  • both of the above.


The definition of visa is at Migration Act 1958 section 29. Visas, and the regulations governing their grant, are administered by DIAC. Since 1 September 1994, Australian citizens are the only people who can be legally present in Australia without holding a valid visa.


There are many types of visas available to foreigners, each designed to suit a specific purpose, the length of the proposed stay in Australia and the type of activities people want to do when they get here.


Visas can be divided into 2 broad groups:

  • PERMANENT OR MIGRANT VISAS, which allow permanent residence in Australia, and
  • TEMPORARY VISAS, which generally have a time limit on the period of stay in Australia.


DIAC will provide a visa grant notification letter to each person granted a visa.This letter explains visa conditions, including the visa period and travel entitlements.

Example of DIAC issued visa notification letter


In this chapter

This chapter contains the following sections:

9.1.1 Checking Visas

9.1.2 Visas Issued by DIAC


Last reviewed: 20 September 2013


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Last Edited: 05/09/2013 10:37:26 AM

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